Genre: Literary, Historical, Fiction
After being so absolutely enchanted by The Distant Hours (see previous post), I couldn’t resist logging on to Amazon and promptly downloading to my phone the first book that popped up by Kate Morton. I read it just as eagerly as I read the Distant Hours, but for some reason ‘The House at Riverton’ just fell a little bit flat. While it was still an enjoyable book to have and read on vacation, I felt that it wasn’t quite as well put-together as ‘The Distant Hours’.
The House at Riverton is somewhat in the same style as The Distant Hours. It is still a pleasant mix of literary, historical, and slightly gothic fiction. However, where the many different threads of plot in the Distant Hours are cleverly woven together in a silky, sweet fashion, the equally many threads of plot in The House at Riverton seem sometimes contrived, and sometimes disjointed.
Maybe my expectations were just way too high after reading The Distant Hours, but regardless, I was disappointed. To be fair, The House at Riverton was published 2 full years before The Distant Hours. It makes sense to consider that Morton was developing her style and voice with The House at Riverton, and that by the time she published The Distant Hours, her writing style was much more cohesive and polished.
That being said, if you enjoyed The Distant Hours, I still highly recommend reading The House at Riverton.
Publisher’s Description: Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. In the summer of 1924 at a glittering society party, held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they–and Grace–know the truth. In 1999 when Grace is nighty-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace’s youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.
My rating: 3.75 out of 5