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The House at Riverton Paperback – 15 Jun 2007
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A charming mixture of love and mystery. --Lancashire Evening Post
Within its four walls lay a secret that would last a lifetimeSee all Product description
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Unlike the other reviews I did not find it a slow start. I like all the background to get you in the scene and none of it was superfluous to the story. Masterfully written often with a poetic turn of phrase the author hints at past scandle and allows you to work the story as you go along. It will magically transport you back to a time when servants cared more for their masters and mistresses than their own lives and happiness. The devotion and loyalty these people felt to their employers is hard to comprehend in this day and age. When the elite could cover up scandle so well, angling events to suit their need and often changing how we view history by these actions. The social boundaries were so well defined and this book emphasises that with great clarity. You really feel the optimism of the twenties with the young things of the day scandalising the older generation. You will also feel the entrapment many of this generation felt who after the great war wanted freedom, but were caught by their class boundaries to know their place and be patronised by everyone around them. The seemingly glittering life of luxury Hannah has is marred by her own sense of adventure and intelligence which is firmly put down by all who surround her, leaving her to seek an escape that can only lead to tragedy.
This is the second book I have read by this author and I am going to read all her others as I am sure I will enjoy them. I read this on my kindle and can imagine it must be a huge book in paper form so dont think of it as a quick sunday afternoon read - it is a beautifully written epic that will take many hours of reading. From the moment you start you will forget all the other things you have to do because you will not want to put it down.
I have just finished it and have to say I was a little disappointed and frustrated. Disappointed as I felt it was very wordy with a lot of unnecessary dialogue and events i wasn't really interested in, and at times it fell a little flat for me: frustrated at all the loose ends and all the unanswered questions. Typically, I would have liked to have known more about Grace's life after 1925, also Ursula and Jemima and her family. (I am being deliberately vague as its a convoluted plot and I don't want to spoil it for anyone).
Perhaps if I had read this book first I would not be feeling as I do.
I did enjoy it for the most part so I would recommend it as I wouldn't want to deter anyone from reading Kate's beautiful books.
I found this a really good read, I liked the way that it was created through a series of flashbacks experienced by Grace, a housekeeper in the House At Riverton in the 1920's, as she draws together her memoirs for her grandson, an author.
Telling the story of the family who lived in the House it talks throughout of the death of a famous poet at the house during a family party and makes clear from the start that the book will seek to answer the questions surrounding his death. And the book does this magnificently, if a little crammed into the last few chapters.
I found the book began to pad out nicely around the lives of the main characters and almost the death of the poet became a by-plot that the author felt compelled to finish rather than building the novel around this plot. I also feel that not enough attention was given to the paternity of Grace the Housemaid, a lot of build up is put into her finding out potentially whom her father is but this fails to be explored fully which was dissapointing.
Altogether though a good novel - if a little dissapointing after reading The Forgotten Garden
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