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The Shifting Fog

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  87,853 ratings  ·  7,518 reviews
Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts a
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Paperback, 576 pages
Published April 2007 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2006)
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Charla Gatz Johnston The father of Grace's daughter is a man named John, whom Grace discusses with Ursula, the filmmaker, on pp. 180-84 of the hardcover. She tells Ursula…moreThe father of Grace's daughter is a man named John, whom Grace discusses with Ursula, the filmmaker, on pp. 180-84 of the hardcover. She tells Ursula he was a public servant and that they never should've been married.
"John was a terrific waltzer and a terrific lover, but not much of a husband. I dare say I wasn't much of a wife, either. I'd never intended to marry, you see. I wasn't at all prepared."
She goes on to say she met him at a dance club and four months later ended up pregnant so they married.
She says, "That's the way things were done back then. Lucky for us war intervened and we were spared the charade."
Grace tells Ursula that John enlisted and she went to work in a field hospital in France. And that during the four years they were away, Ruth was cared for by an elderly Anglican minister and his wife.
Later in the conversation, Ursula asks if John was killed in the war.
"No," I said. "No, he wasn't. But our marriage was."
Her gaze drifted once more to my wedding photo.
"We divorced when he returned to London. Times had changed by then. Everyone had seen and done so much. It seemed rather pointless to remain joined to a spouse one didn't care for. He moved to America and married the sister of a GI he'd met in France. Poor fellow; he was killed soon after in a road accident."
She shook her head. "I'm sorry . . ."
"Don't be. Not on my account. It was so long ago. I barely remember him, you know. Odd snatches of memory, more like dreams. It's Ruth who misses him. She's never forgiven me."
And that's the story of John!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Rebecca Mckinney At some point Ursula says that her grandmother (Florence) was at Riverton the night Robbie died. So, yes, that was a hidden gem in this tangled web of…moreAt some point Ursula says that her grandmother (Florence) was at Riverton the night Robbie died. So, yes, that was a hidden gem in this tangled web of a mystery! (less)

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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
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable story and a beautiful historical setting marred by clumsy story telling, overbearing foreshadowing, and an emotional disconnect with characters.
Anne
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a delight to read! I absolutely loved every single second I spent in this universe, and I could have gone on reading forever...

The book includes many characters. I tend to get confused by that, but thankfully all of them were well developed in this case. They had different personalities and character traits, so I was able to easily tell them apart and picture them in my head.
The Relationships between each of them were all kept on a realistic level. None of them were too close or to
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Dem
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is My guilty pleasure and my go to novel when I am in need of a little tender reading care. Something historical, set in a rambling period property on a country Estate, preferably in the middle of the English countryside, throw in a little mystery and intrigue and a few family hidden secrets and I am putty in the authors hands

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
–Mason Cooley

I began my fascination with Grand English Country Houses and Estates when I watched
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Candi
"Whooshing like a wind through a tunnel, an angry wind that drags behind it a summer storm, rushing towards me, faster and faster. It is my past, and it is coming for me. It is everywhere; in my ears, behind my eyes, pushing my ribs…"

Grace is 98 years old and living in a nursing facility when a visit from a young film producer compels her to relive her past; a past that is full of secrets that she has kept to herself for the last seventy years. Her story begins pre-World War I in England, when a
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Laura
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
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
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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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James
Kate Morton came into my life just under 3 years ago. I don't remember how, but I picked up one of her books and absolutely fell in love with her writing style, characters, and multi-dimensional storytelling abilities. After almost 3 years, I've finished reading all 6 of her books; it's a tad amusing that the last one I read is actually the first book she wrote -- The House at Riverton, or The Shifting Fog, as it was previously known. For me, she's the queen of historical fiction when the focus ...more
Kate
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
✨Susan✨
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good historical read, it has a double story going on for the main character. I liked the good ending.
Laura
Mar 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-seller, mystery
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
Franco  Santos
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gustó muchísimo este libro. Amo el estilo de escritura de Kate Morton, y en este se lo puede apreciar al máximo.

Las fotografías nos obligan a contemplar a las personas antes de que su destino las abrume, antes de que conozcan su final.

La historia empieza un poco lenta; me costó engancharme. En algunas partes también se me hizo un poco pesado. Sin embargo, la prosa, el marco y los personajes me hicieron mantenerme sumergido en las páginas hasta altas horas de la madrugada.

A partir de la segu
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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
Bridget Vollmer
Seriously this story killed me. Kate Morton writes such beautifully tragic stories. They move at a slower pace but ending is so worth it. I'm just going to take a moment to shed some tears and process this story.

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Love listening to this on audio, I feel like I should be drinking some tea and eating cookies.
Cheers mate!

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Un té con Ceres
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¡Me ha encantado!, es de esos libros que te dejan un buen sabor de boca y que ha merecido la pena leer. No cuesta leerlo pero sí engancharse. Al principio trata de contar como empezó todo para entender la historia y eso quizás sea más lento, pero enseguida te enganchas a la trama y ahí ya no puedes parar.
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
I really enjoyed this book and Wow! The ending was so shocking!! I was not expecting it! There were so many secrets in this book which made it very suspenseful! I just loved the characters, Hannah was very mysterious and Emmeline was very wild! Grace is a maid and she doesn't want to tell her story about The House at Riverton which is a film and they try to get information from her about her stay!

There was a lot of deaths in this book, but of course there is going to be when Grace who is 98 tel
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Noel
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had been excited to try a Kate Morton book for quite some time. I'd been so sure she'd be an author I love that I had already purchased four of her books. So it is with regret that I write this review. Sigh.

I loved Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. And I like Downton Abbey. So The House at Riverton seemed like a sure bet. It actually did feel almost like a mashup of The Remains of the Day, and Downton Abbey, but Riverton was lacking the things that make them great. The Remains of the Da
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Beatriz
Libro con muy buena narrativa pero que entretiene lo justo. Es la suma de pasajes de la vida de la protagonista en su juventud, que a través de recuerdos que van siendo gatillados por distintas situaciones, van dando forma a la trama de la novela.

El libro no está mal, pero hay aspectos que no me gustaron mucho, como el hecho de que el principal suceso de la novela, anunciado incluso en su contraportada, apenas ocupa las últimas páginas del libro, y uno llega a él un poco cansado de tantos recue
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Caos
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vale, está claro que voy a tardar mucho en superar éste libro, creo que asta me va a dejar trauma. La historia es narrada de una forma muy bonita, te lo explica todo sin necesidad de narrarte las partes poco interesantes, me encanta la forma en que en cuatro capítulos pueden haber pasado dos años, los sutiles spoilers que para nada impiden qué el libro te sorprenda, hay tantos personajes pero todos tan definidos, se conecta mucho con algunos protagonistas y de verdad qué soy otra persona después ...more
Alissa Patrick
A great historical fiction piece about a rich high society family with a deep dark secret hidden for decades. This one was a real page turner and the ending was worth the build-up of what The Secret was.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Wish I could give it 10 Stars

My Musings


Wow! I finished The House at Riverton a few days ago and I'm still trying to process my emotions about the novel. I loved, loved it since I gave the book the highest rating that exists here, but my emotions are still roiling. An omission of truth led to tragic consequences. But great British Gothic stories are almost always tragic, aren't they? I loved how Kate Morton paid homage to one of my favorite novels, Rebecca, Upstairs, Downstairs even my favorite d
...more
Denisse
3.5 Wonderfully written, and perfectly set. A very english book. It had more passive drama than I would've wanted but it is a perfectly enjoyable read, Morton has a lot of talent and a beautiful style. I highlighted so many quotes, I won't even count them. Special for those with a taste of light mistery and sweet characters. Can't round the rate up to four because there are some twists any human can see coming.


La casa de Riverton cuenta la historia de porque ocurrió el suicidio del poeta Robbie
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Jenny
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Smitha
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.
A comfort read.. part mystery, part historical toggling between the early 20th century and the late nineties. Grace, the protagonist is 99 years old and is spending her last days in a geriatric care facility. Her memory is razor sharp as ever and she narrates the story of what happened at the House of Riverton more than half a decade ago when she joined as a lowly kitchen maid. There are many mysteries surrounding Grace and the 2 aristocratic sisters, Hannah and Emmeline whom she was e
...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
This was so unbelievably sad in so many ways but so good too. Riddled with darkness and lightness and secrets. I absolutely loved the mysteries as they all slowly unfolded and everyone's lives, their passions, their secrets, were revealed.
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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Noeleen
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Vanessa
May 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Vicky Ziliaskopoulou
Κατάφερε να με μεταφέρει στη ζωή των πλουσίων αριστοκρατών και των υπηρετών τους στις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα. Μου θύμισε έντονα την αγαπημένη σειρά Downton Abbey. Επιτέλους βρήκα ένα ακόμη βιβλίο που να περιγράφει την εποχή αυτή (το πρώτο είναι "Το άλλο πρόσωπο της Γκρέις" )!
Και μάλιστα κοίτα σύμπτωση: την ιστορία διηγείται η Γκρέις, η οποία σε ηλικία 14 ετών μπαίνει ως υπηρέτρια στην έπαυλη Ρίβερτον, κατοικία των αριστοκρατών της περιοχής. Κάποια στιγμή γνωρίζει τα παιδιά της οικογένειας (τον Ντ
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13,563 followers
KATE MORTON was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatr ...more
“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....” 474 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.” 66 likes
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