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Group Read Discussions > The House at Riverton

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10108 comments Mod
Hi all! Today kicks off the March group read discussion, which will be lead by Pamela! Have fun!!


message 2: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 293 comments Good morning all!

So glad to lead a discussion on a book by Kate Morton. The House at Riverton, although Morton's first book published, is the second of her books that I've read. I was so impressed by The Forgotten Garden, her second book, that I knew I wanted to read another.

And now I get the pleasure of sharing this author and this book with you. Let's get started!


message 3: by Karin (new)

Karin Pamela wrote: "Good morning all!

So glad to lead a discussion on a book by Kate Morton. The House at Riverton, although Morton's first book published, is the second of her books that I've read. I was so impress..."


I'm not rereading this, but did really like The Forgotten Garden a great deal (if I'd been rating books then, 4 stars), and liked The House at Riverton at 3 stars; I have so many books to read this month I am skipping this reread. May I participate anyway since I've already read it?


message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10108 comments Mod
Absolutely Karin! If you've read it in the past, that's great, feel free to join in and discuss away : )


message 5: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 293 comments I agree with Lori. I actually read the book in January and was so impressed with the author I've been pushing her books ever since!

And a bit of news nugget. The book was originally published in Australia and was a #1 bestseller in England.


message 6: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Mosby | 3 comments I too read The Forgotten Garden first. I found it in a discount bin at Hastings and bought it and since then have been a BIG fan of Kate Morton. I read this one last year and I did enjoy it quite a bit. But since it's been awhile my memories are trying to mix up between The House at Riverton and her latest book The Lake House.


message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 293 comments The Lake House does look like an interesting book ... I'm going to have to decide if I want to read it next or try The Distant Hours.

In The Riverton House, the author switches between two time periods: 1924 and 1999. I've seen this done in other books and wonder how others who have read the book or are reading it think this technique works in telling this story.


message 8: by Carolyn (last edited Mar 02, 2016 07:01AM) (new)

Carolyn Taylor-Watts (carolyntaylor-) | 75 comments Going back and forth in time in one novel is not considered easy by authors who have done it - including myself. It worked in well in Geraldine Brooks' novel, "The People of the Book,' and in Michael Redhill's novel "Consolation," and others.
I'll let you know if I find it does in "Riverton."


message 9: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn | 164 comments Man, I wish I could remember enough about House of Riverton to participate. I've read four of Morton's novels and have a hard time keeping them straight.
Forgotten Garden had the little cottage, Distant Hours the sisters in love with the same guy (I think), Secret Keeper the daughter witnessing the murder.
What happened in House of Riverton? I've completely forgotten :P


message 10: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn | 164 comments Carolyn wrote: "Going back and forth in time in one novel is not considered easy by authors who have done it - including myself. It worked in well in Geraldine Brooks' novel, "The People of the Book,' and in Micha..."

I remember that the time switching didn't bother me in Riverton or her previous novels as much as it did in Secret Keeper. It started to feel like Morton was a prisoner of her own formula or something.


message 11: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 293 comments Tabitha wrote: "Man, I wish I could remember enough about House of Riverton to participate. I've read four of Morton's novels and have a hard time keeping them straight.
Forgotten Garden had the little cottage, D..."


The book is about a servant who joins Riverton House just before the first world war and an incident during a society party (don't want to give too much away for those who are just starting to read this). Then meets up with the servant when she is 98 years old and meets up with a young director who is making a film about the incident.


message 12: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn | 164 comments Pamela wrote: "Tabitha wrote: "Man, I wish I could remember enough about House of Riverton to participate. I've read four of Morton's novels and have a hard time keeping them straight.
Forgotten Garden had the l..."


Thanks. It's coming back to me now!


message 13: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn | 164 comments Are we allowed to ask questions?

I'd be interested to hear from other readers what makes Morton's writing stand out for you as representative of Women's Literature.


message 14: by Karin (new)

Karin I liked The Forgotten Garden better than The House at Riverton, both of which I read before I ever joined an online book site. It makes sense that it's from Australia, since that's where House at Riverton is set.

I do think that the switching between the two time periods works in this book. I have read this technique in other novels before and since.


message 15: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Fromke (jjfro) | 8 comments Tabitha wrote: "Are we allowed to ask questions?

I'd be interested to hear from other readers what makes Morton's writing stand out for you as representative of Women's Literature."


She generally gives the reader a very deep connection with her main female character. There is usually a mystery that is uncovered from an earlier time period. She paints her scene so beautifully, I have many images from each of her books that leap to mind when I hear the title- because of her great description. But she also leaves you with a distinct emotional imprint. There are moments in Riverton I can still feel - the impact of those moments may take 100 pages to build, I feel every single one was worth it. I will probably always read every Kate Morton book. Love her style.


message 16: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn | 164 comments True. What I like about Morton is that he strikes a balance between female strength and a optimism of love and romance. It's nice not to have to sacrifice one for the other, at least in fiction.


message 17: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 293 comments Hope everyone is enjoying this book. Have enjoyed the comments so far, especially in response to Tabitha's question, which is very good.

Here's some other things to think about while reading the book:

—Kate Morton has said that the novel's setting is as important to her as its characters ... that Riverton Manor is as much a character of the book as its inhabitants. Do you agree?
— What do you think about the time periods and how it affects the main character's actions?
— What do you think is the main theme — duty? how our present is 'haunted by the past'?


message 18: by Karin (new)

Karin Pamela wrote: "—Kate Morton has said that the novel's setting is as important to her as its characters ... that Riverton Manor is as much a character of the book as its inhabitants. Do you agree?
...
— What do you think is the main theme — duty? how our present is 'haunted by the past'? ..."


Yes, I would agree with that for this book and the book that came before it.

I think that both are integral to the book and that her present is haunted by the past in great part because of duty.


message 19: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Mosby | 3 comments — What do you think about the time periods and how it affects the main character's actions?

I decided to go ahead and re-read this...that being said, since I have read it, I'm just reading a couple of chapters a day, since I have so many other new books I want to read too. I'm at the part where Grace meets the actress that is going to play her in the movie that starts this and that section kind of stood out for me in regards to this question. Ursula and Keira come to visit her so Keira can ask some questions and Keira calls her Grace instead of by her surname or Mrs....and Ursula sits on the end of the bed without being invited...and Grace comments on these things in her mind. Also the part about Keira's jeans being ragged not being a sign of poverty. As well as the serious expressions they had on their faces in the photograph not having to do with just the recent tragedies but that's just how it was done in those days. I love looking at old pictures and this reminds me of so many pictures where they didn't smile. It just wasn't done back then.


message 20: by Mimi (new)

Mimi Marten | 12 comments Sorry to butt into your discussion here, I just wanted to let you know that I blame you all for another 2 books on my TBR list....haha.

Thanks for a new interesting author for me.... Aloha!


message 21: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Ferrell I had not read the reviews because I did not want to ruin the story for reading, however I did look at the ratings for the book prior to reading this.

Am I the only person disappointed in this book? I just did not feel a connection to the characters. The book seemed to be extremely long to me and I thought I would never get it completed. I love historical novels and I was hoping to enjoy this one as well, however, it never seemed to engage me as a reader. Perhaps it was because it was being told by an outsider and not necessarily by the person having the love affair and in a miserable marriage. It simply fell short for me.


message 22: by Karin (new)

Karin Peggy wrote: "I had not read the reviews because I did not want to ruin the story for reading, however I did look at the ratings for the book prior to reading this.

Am I the only person disappointed in this bo..."


I was disappointed when I read it a few years ago; I liked the first one much better.


message 23: by Karen • (new)

Karen • The Book Return (goodreadscomkarenthebookreturn) | 6 comments Agree with the other posts. 'The Forgotten Garden' I liked much better then the 'House at Riverton'. 'Lake House was also very good though.


message 24: by Alison (new)

Alison Loftis (alpal87) | 7 comments I really enjoyed the house at riverton, but i'm having a hard time getting into the lake house. I don't know, it's just dragging for me.


message 25: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10108 comments Mod
Pamela, thanks for nominating and hosting the discussion for The House at Riverton!


message 26: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 573 comments I am a bit late to this discussion.
I have nearly finished the book and to be honest I didn't comment at first because I was finding the book a bit boring and run of the mill.
Since the move to London the story has become much more interesting and I am finding the restrictions on Hannah freedoms is making me claustrophobic and panicky.
Her in-laws, particularly Deb, are scheming and manipulative and so vulgar.
Although part of me realises this originates in an English snobbish that considers as vulgar people from the North, The Colonies ie America and those who gained their money through trade, I still can't help despising them.


message 27: by Karla (new)

Karla  | 2 comments I just finished. I will say I loved it all. A bit long winded, yes, but I found myself enjoying the journey and didn't want it to end. At first I found so many parallels with the characters from Downton Abbey and this book. (I'm probably stating the obvious here).

****spoilers****
I had a question about Sylvia's boyfriend - what was the purpose of this part? It led to another flashback but I thought that was the point of Ursula.

As it is revealed that Ursula's great grandmother is Florence, wouldn't that make Ursula and Grace related somehow (and Marcus and Ruth)? There is no reaction from Grace when Ursula reveals this. You would think there would be some realization stated. Did I miss something?

I also didn't get the point of the tapes to Marcus other than he is the only one that truly knows what happens. I thought Grace's purpose was to make the tapes in order to help him but how does him knowing Grace's burden help him with the death of his wife?

Thanks in advance!


message 28: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Mosby | 3 comments Grace was illegitimate daughter of 2nd brother, Florence was baby born by 1st brother who died in the war. So yes, this would make Grace and Ursula related...Grace would be a cousin to Florence. Ursula is Florence's granddaughter so Grace and Ursula would be cousins but like 3rd-maybe. Marcus is Ruth's son, Grace's grandson. I think the purpose of the tapes is that Marcus is a writer, she hopes to bring him home, help him with his grief, maybe give him an idea for a book. That's my theory anyway.

Oh, and as for Sylvia's boyfriend...I think it just led to the flashback when she saw the picture that he had.


message 29: by Tina (new)

Tina | 143 comments What about the medical history of hemophelia that runs in the family? Don't you think that also was something that Marcus needed to know, since it skips daughters but sons are at risk.


message 30: by Karin (new)

Karin Tina wrote: "What about the medical history of hemophelia that runs in the family? Don't you think that also was something that Marcus needed to know, since it skips daughters but sons are at risk."

He did need to know it.

For the record, while it usually skips daughters, a girl can get it if both of her parents are carriers.


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) I liked this novel a lot. I enjoy the way Kate Morton writes, and found this book to be a quick read. Once I started, I had trouble putting it down.


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