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The House at Riverton

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  55,430 ratings  ·  5,488 reviews
The House at Riverton is a sweeping debut novel set in England between the wars. It is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a vanishing way of life, told by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for a lifetime.

Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years he

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Hardcover, 473 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by Atria Books (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Elizabeth
I probably would have enjoyed Kate Morton's debut novel The House at Riverton more if I had not already experienced the greater expression of her writing talent in The Forgotten Garden. Riverton shares many of the themes of her later work, but with the narrator at a greater remove from the focus of the story, it tends to make her characterizations a bit flat. The story of the Hartford family, focused on the sisters Hannah and Emmeline is told by Grace, a servant to the family for many years. Her ...more
Hope
An enjoyable story and a beautiful historical setting marred by clumsy story telling, overbearing foreshadowing, and an emotional disconnect with characters.
Laura
Jul 19, 2007 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like mysteries and books where family secrets are revealed
The House at Riverton tells the story of a Manor House in Essex during WW1 and the beginning of the 1920s, told from the perspective of a housemaid, now 98 and living in an old people's home in 1999. When she finds out that a film is being made of a tragic event at the house - the suicide of a young poet who fought in the war - she recounts her memories leading up to that night, and the part she played in it.
Of course, the story is not as simple as that, and many secrets have been kept for almos
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JoLee
I wanted to read this book because it looked as if it had a lot of elements I really enjoy: Gothic type mystery, haunted house, family secrets, World War I, the 1920s. The book concerns sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, aristocratic children who grow up over the course of the book. They chafe at the constraints of their class and find themselves floundering in the chaos of the 1920s. The other main character in the book is the narrator Grace, a housemaid at Riverton. She has her own unique c ...more
Sandie
Nov 11, 2008 Sandie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical novels devotees
This book is a must read for lovers of historical novels and enthralling, well-written, atmospheric mysteries, The House at Riverton is a literary feast for those who love writers like Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan or Daphne DuMaurier and books reminiscent of The Forsythe Saga, Upstairs,Downstairs and Water for Elephants.

In this page-turner of a novel, beautifully written and evocative of the era in England prior to and after World War 1, the author succeeds in weaving a complex tale of passion,
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Laura
I had such high hopes! Our heroine, Grace, now a feisty but failing 98, spent her early life at Riverton House in the service of the Ashbury family...and then spent her adult life trying to forget about them. However, she's contacted by a filmmaker about the mysterious suicide of a World War I poet that occurred at the estate back in 1924. Is the set of the Riverton drawing room accurate? What was it like being a housemaid? Does Grace have any insight into the circumstances of the suicide? Why d ...more
Kate
I wanted to like this. High drama and love triangles at the country estate of a rich family during the Edwardian era -- all ending in the famous suicide on the family estate of a post-war poet. What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, it could feel like a cobbled-together collection of Upstairs-Downstairs stereotypes, played-out female character archetypes, and plot twists and sub-plots that, after lots of set-up, amount to very little. Also, the book is told in flashbacks, and there were str ...more
Catherine
I liked the idea of this book but thought it was sloppily thought out and executed. (Stop reading here if you haven't read this book yet as spoilers follow.) I mean, really, Hannah couldn't throw the gun in the lake rather than shooting her lover? Grace couldn't tell Hannah that she didn't know shorthand and got someone else to tell her what the first note said? And why did Hannah think Grace knew shorthand, anyway? She put a lot of work into learning it herself . . . I don't recall her ever tea ...more
Vanessa
Wonderful characters, setting, plot, I can't say enough. I was pleased that I was unable to guess the truth behind the secret at the end of the novel. I was surprised at the end which makes a work that much better in my mind. If you enjoyed Water For Elephants or The 13th Tale, you will like this work. A woman, from modern times, is in a nursing home and circumstances require her to remember her early years as a serving girl in a wealthy, British home during the WWI era. The author drifts back a ...more
Noeleen
This is my second book to read by Kate Morton. I absolutely love this author. The House At Riverton has great characters and is basically just a great story which is extremely well told. I loved Grace’s character and her telling of the story of the lives of the inhabitants at Riverton, both the descriptions of upstairs and downstairs in the great house and the various characters from both walks of life. The story is full of mystery and family secrets and had me hooked, absorbed and engrossed fro ...more
Melissa
Morton’s novels are always fun reads for me and this one didn’t disappoint. With shades of du Maurier’s Rebecca and the BBC’s Downton Abbey, the book was a wonderful mystery.

We meet Grace at the end of her life. She is living out her days at a retirement home when she finds out a movie is being made about a dramatic event that happened in her youth. As a teenager Grace worked as a house maid at a large manor, Riverton, in the English countryside. A young poet committed suicide at the home one n
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Andreia Silva
Entre acabar de ler o livro e escrever isto demorei! E demorei, não por falta de oportunidade, mas porque ainda me estava a recompor de toda aquela história. É daqueles livros que sei que vão ficar comigo, na minha cabeça, durante muito tempo e que vou recordar as personagens como sendo pessoas reais. Porque é assim que me sinto. Sinto que conheci a Hannah e a Emmeline e sinto que as vidas delas me passaram pelas mãos. Sinto que, em 1924 eu estava naquela festa e presenciei o "segredo". A histór ...more
Jenny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brooke
Beautifully written like, The Shadow of the Wind, crafted like, Atonement, and very beloved like Downton Abbey!!!!

In this book, Riverton is more than just a mansion in England; it's a character in itself. It's an upstairs/downstairs tale of a servant named Grace, the Hartford sisters and secrets kept. My favorite thing about this book was the writing. Kate Morton is very talented. She knows how to draw people into her books by character development and holding certain information. I loved the wa
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Malia
This was the first, but likely not the last book I read by Kate Morton. It is quite long, which put me off for a while, though it had been sitting on my shelf for a year or so. I read it for the November Book Pals group and have to say, I am happy I finally did.
The story is part mystery, part historical fiction with some romance thrown in as well, so there is something for everyone:-)
Partly written in the present and partly via flashbacks, it tells the story of Grace, a former housemaid at the E
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Ruth
I debated since finishing this book on what to rate it. Even now with having given it 3 stars I'm still wavering. I think perhaps it needs a half star more.

It's not that it's a bad book quite the contrary but there were just so many irksome things that for me detracted from the book as a whole.
The House at Riverton tells the story of the Hartford’s, the sisters Hannah and Emmeline specifically through the eyes of Grace their housemaid and later lady’s maid. The story is told through the memorie
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Bianca
This is one of the best written and most compelling books I have ever read - the suspense and the way the story unfolds demonstrates that it is the journey and not the destination that matters.

This story unfolds concurrently in the 1920s and 1999. Grace, in the 20s, is a housemaid and is promoted to a lady's maid. In 1999 she is an old lady living in a nursing home approaching death. The reader knows that Robbie McCourt, a poet, suicides at Riverton, in 1925, and we know that he really didn't su
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M.A.G.F. Lee
It wasn't my intention to buy "The House at Riverton". A salesperson at a local bookstore recommended "The Forgotten Garden", also by Kate Morton, but I wasn't sure if it's any good, so I said that I'll read some reviews first and think about it. And from what I've read, "The Forgotten Garden" is a must-read-gothic-mystery novel. I just had to purchase it.
I told my mom about the book, and she was also excited since we both have similar tastes in books and movies. When me and my mom went back to
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Filipa
4,5 stars
(http://labirinto-livros.blogspot.pt/2...)

O Segredo da Casa de Riverton foi a primeira obra que Kate Morton apresentou ao público. Foi com este livro que o sucesso da autora se fez sentir pela primeira vez e até hoje, todas as suas obras têm tido muito sucesso por esse mundo fora. Apesar de não ter sido o primeiro livro da autora que li, não podia deixar de ler as restantes obras que a autora tem no mercado e por isso dentro dos dois livros que me faltavam ler, escolhi este para prime
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Kathleen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alice
Nov 23, 2009 Alice rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: likers of historical, romantic fiction
Hmmm... Very readable, moving at times, and full of suspense. However, some slightly irritating traits, ie. 'non-Englishisms'
Kate Morton talks about 'Morning Tea', English people never, ever have this!! It's Afternoon Tea! There are many more inacuracies throughout the book, which are annoying because it does detract from the overall quality of the story.

Also, the 'mystery' behind Grace's father is dazzlingly clear from virtually the first page, and the final conclusion is also predictable if yo
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Kathryn Class
4 1/2 stars really. Great story, though there is a gloomy feeling as you read because you know from the beginning that there is a terrible tragedy evolving. The gloom isn't oppressive though. Kate Morton balances the happy and foreboding feelings very well. I like that the ending was not exactly what I thought. I was almost right, but there was a twist that I hadn't considered. I wish the author had added two things to the story at the end, but I can't say what or it will spoil the ending for yo ...more
Lavinia
The best thing about this novel is that it has huge cinematographic potential; it belongs to that wonderful category that includes films like "Howards End", "Maurice", "The Remains of the Day" or "Gosford Park" (shamefully, I haven’t read any of the books).

The writing in itself isn’t spectacular, though the story is good. Nice characters, nice setting, interesting plot. I wish the writer hadn’t told us beforehand what to expect at the end, though given the entire concept of the book (young wom
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3 1/2 stars

This is not too bad if you're looking for a fairly in-depth romance/mystery combination. It goes into quite a lot of detail about the moneyed classes and their household servants in England in the early 20th century. So many families were torn apart and so many lives painfully altered by World War I.

I might have gone with four stars except that it's longer than it needs to be. That seems to be Kate Morton's style. Lots and lots of detail about domestic life. I also didn't rate it high
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Sara
Update: This book is SLOW in getting to the "secret." Seriously, its the last page you find out all the pieces. I wanted at least one more chapter to review all that had happened and the clues along the way. I found myself flipping back the pages to reread a part just to go through that scene again with the knew knowledge of what had really happened.
I liked this book, and like Downton Abbey and that whole time period, this story is filled with the details of that time period. I loved how the sto
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Filipa
Bem. . . acabei de ler este livro ontem à noite..... é indescritível o que senti ao lê-lo... o que senti ao conhecer a história de Grace Bradley... o que senti ao ver a maneira como esta senhora de 98 anos de idade descreve, conta para um walkman, o que lhe aconteceu ao longo dos seus já duradouros 98 anos. . .
Kate Morton narra uma história absolutamente brilhante com as suas personagens tão bem estruturadas que nós, os leitores, temos a sensação de vivenciarmos uma outra era. Nada é escrito ao
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Jayne
I can't help but feel affection mingled with disappointment over this book. I was with it for so long, yet much of the journey was not enjoyable. A very sad and lengthy tale of broken dreams, misplaced loyalty and disappointment. I didn't strongly connect to any of the characters, but felt mild pity and compassion for most of them. Grace, the main character, was like the ghost of the story, appearing only in the present day as a frail and elderly woman, to recount her story. I think the author d ...more
Ashley
“I’m not a superstitious person—you know that—but I’ve the oddest sense …” She glanced at Lady Clementine. “You’ll laugh, but I’ve the oddest sense of impending doom.”

“Oh?” It was Lady Clementine’s favorite subject.


A strong 3.5 stars, so I’ll round up. According to the jacket, People called this “[A] stunning debut.” I would probably tone that down just a little to “a very solid debut.” The House at Riverton had plenty of suspense to keep me turning the pages, although the author tipped her han
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LG
Aug 05, 2012 LG rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: summer readers
A novel in which Agatha Christie is a dinner guest? I couldn’t resist. She isn’t poisoned or anything – merely lends verisimilitude to the setting. Neither is this a mystery so much as a melodrama à la Atonement. Sure, there are secrets and crimes and star-crossed lovers, but the blurb is an unabashed red herring: this is Grace’s story, not the young poet’s, not the Hartford sisters’. The result is gentle rather than thrilling, but what blurb would proclaim a book “a gentle mystery”?

In the frame
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Maren
The House at Riverton strives to be a slightly gothic novel of the big country house of British aristocracy with horrible secrets that will be revealed and shocking twists in the vein of Rebecca or The Thirteenth Tale or a Sarah Waters novel. It has been critically well reviewed so I had high hopes that were disappointed.

It was not poorly written but I didn't find it particularly gripping or surprising the way such a novel should be. I knew one of the major secrets of the novel in the first thir
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Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.
Kate Morton's books have been published in 31 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New Y
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“It is a cruel, ironical art, photography. The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to be evaporate into the past; should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after. Photographs force us to see people before their future weighed them down....” 331 likes
“I sound contemptuous, but I am not. I am interested--intrigued even--by the way time erases real lives, leaving only vague imprints. Blood and spirit fade away so that only names and dates remain.” 54 likes
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