The House at Riverton
Washington Square Press
Grace Reeves leaves her mother at fourteen years old in order to go work in a local manor with a wealthy family. The year is 1914 and the system in England is still based on centuries of tradition. Grace is part of the working class and as such, she is used to fading into the background and observing those around her without offering any reaction or emotion. She soon becomes enamored with the children of the manor though: David, Hannah and Emeline.
The reader becomes aware right as the story starts that something clandestine has occurred at Riverton but we have to wait for the story to unfold. Grace is now in her nineties and recounting her time at Riverton, slowly revealing what really happened. She had become close with Hannah and Emmeline as her years in their household went on, and the two girls took on very dynamic personalities.
I loved watching Hannah and Emmeline grew up. They sort of switched roles in my mind, as Hannah they both chose lives that I had imagined the other one living, which made it that much more interesting. They were both realistically flawed as well, and I was able to sympathize with them at times while being irritated with them and their decisions a moment later.
Grace’s character developed a lot slower. She was so encumbered by the role that society expected her to play that she had a hard time seeing what was in front of her. Normally I would be annoyed that I realized exactly what was happening before she did and I’ll admit, there was a time or two I wanted to shake some sense into her, but it was painfully obvious that she was just a well intentioned, naive girl that was tied down by an antiquated society.
I was unsure of whether I would read anything else by Morton after I finished The Forgotten Garden. It’s not that I didn’t like the book, but something about it felt a little forced and I definitely didn’t have the WOW reaction that I felt a lot of other bloggers seemed to have. I am glad I got over that thought because I thought The House at Riverton was fantastic. Another perfect choice for RIP. I am on a roll!
I purchased this book from Barnes & Noble.