Kelly's Reviews > The Shifting Fog

The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton
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's review
Mar 01, 2012

really liked it

It is astounding to believe that this was written by a young Australian woman, given the huge expanse of time it covers and that it is set in England. Even harder still believing that this, The Shifting Fog (published in the Uk and US as The House at Riverton) is Kate Morton's debut novel. Set initially in 1924, a young poet commits suicide at Riverton and the only witnesses, sisters Emmeline and Hannah Hartford never speak to one another again. In the present day a woman who was a servant at Riverton Manor tells what she knows of that time. Grace Bradley is old now, but there are things that she has never forgotten. Secrets that were thought to be buried emerge once again as Grace unravels a tale of mystery and love. Morton captures the essence of war torn Edwardian times with a confidence that is usually reserved for much more experienced, best selling authors. I had just finished reading Atonement by Ian McEwan which I absolutely adored, and though this novel was no where near that level of brilliance, it was an excellent support act as it was set in the same era and had a multitude of secrets needing to be unveiled, the narrative taking the reader on that journey with them as if speaking to them directly. The difference here was that Morton used a number of mediums to tell the story. A series of letters, film scripts, diary entries and novel helped push the story on from a few different angles. It could have fallen flat. It could have been a massive promise only to be a huge disappointment. The fact is, it's obvious the author has researched her material to within an inch of its life. How this story came to mind for her is nothing short of amazing because it felt like this could have absolutely happened. I loved it and have recommended many times with positive feedback from those people who loved it just as much as I did. It is not a thin layer of happenings, but an atmospheric treasure that keep me glued. Brilliant.

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