The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

rivertonThis novel was a New York Times bestseller.  The narrator, ninety-eight-year-old Grace, tells the story of her years as a maid at Riverton Manor in the English countryside.  She began work there when she was only fourteen years old, shortly before World War I began, and for about ten years, her life centered around the estate’s domestic staff and the family of the lord of the manor.  She was thrilled when his three grandchildren, David, Hannah, and Emmeline, visited, and she became especially close to Hannah, who was her own age.  The war brought changes in the family’s life, including financial losses.  As Grace, Hannah, and Emmeline grew to womanhood, they faced changing times, society’s restrictions on women’s lives, and romantic difficulties.  When a young poet died during a glittering party at Riverton, Grace knew the truth about his death, but she does not reveal it until the very end of the novel – a dramatic ending that you won’t forget.

The book offers a look at the lifestyles of the English upper and lower classes from 1914 to 1924, a fascinating family drama with compelling characters, and a suspenseful mystery story.

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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