Description (from cover):
'Kate Morton's New York Times bestselling debut novel is the captivating story of an aristocratic family, a glorious English estate, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever.
Grace Bradley was just a girl when she began working as a servant at Riverton House. For years, her life was inextricably tied up with the glamorous and eccentric Hartford family's daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. Then, at a glittering society party in the summer of 1924, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they--and Grace--knew the dark truth.
Many years later, when Grace is living out her last days in a nursing home, she receives a visit from a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. The director takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories of the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege, of the vibrant twenties and of a stunning secret that Grace kept all her life.
A vivid, page-turning tale of suspense and passion, The House at Riverton is marked by indelible characters and a breathtaking ending that readers won't soon forget.'
This is my second Kate Morton novel that I have read. I started reading this author's works with The Secret Keeper (you can find my review here) and decided it was high time to start reading the other works. I simply picked this one up first in contrast to the others because it was the first book she wrote and I am a stickler for reading books in order. The Downton Abbey undertones in this book will surely make it a favorite for lovers of the show who are looking for similar reading material. This book was actually written before Downton Abbey's fame and it is interesting to see how closely they resemble each other. They both focus heavily on the upstairs, downstairs relationships in an English estate and I highly recommend this book for lovers of the show who want something comparable.
Kate Morton has a way with words. I've noticed in this book and The Secret Keeper that she keeps readers intrigued by linking the past with present day tales. There is always a secret being kept from the past and it is up to the reader to figure out what happened and why. The suspense of her books, I imagine, is what keeps readers loyal to her and make her books instant bestsellers. One can't deny that her stories captivate the reader from page one and don't let go until the very end. The only problem that I really had with this book was that it seemed too long in parts. It could have been shortened and still maintained the essence of the story. I had suspected what the shocking revelation of the story was and was a little surprised to learn that I was close but not dead on. I guess that is why Kate Morton has such a loyal fan base of readers because she can still shock you even if you think you have the mysterious element figured out.
I loved the Edwardian house as a setting and it really embraces the Downton Abbey feel. It's hard not to compare the two, at least for myself, because Downton Abbey is currently so popular. Even though this book was published before the television show ever aired, I figure that the popularity of this era will create new readers for this book. The similarities are uncanny and I think fans of Downton Abbey will appreciate them and make this a must read. I highly recommend this book to lovers of the Downton Abbey set who want to read something similar. Don't expect to be able to put this one down though, the story is truly captivating and holds it own despite the similarities.
Overall Rating: 4
Title: The House at Riverton
Author: Kate Morton
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.