“The House at Riverton”, by Kate Morton

OVERALL RATING: 4/5

Read it, or save your time?  If you liked Downton Abbey (and let’s be honest, who didn’t?), you will love this book.  When the head butler in the book was talking, I kept picturing Carson’s face.  Kate Morton is masterful at spinning stories that tie together the past and the present, and although not her absolute best, it is not to be missed.

What’s it about?  It is 1914, and fourteen-year-old Grace is a servant in the grand House of Riverton.  She is immediately taken with the grandeur of the house and the posh ways of its occupants, especially the Hartford daughters, Emmeline and Hannah.  Despite the glaring class difference, over time, Grace’s life becomes intricately intertwined with the beautiful, adventurous sisters.  However, when a poet commits suicide at one of family’s lavish parties in 1924, all of their lives are changed forever.

Present day Grace is ninety-eight years old, and living the remainder of her days in a British nursing home, when an American filmmaker approaches her to help with a movie she is making about the incident.  As Grace tells her story, she is taken back to a time of glamour, intrigue, and deception that will make you wishing you were born in a different era.

Reviewer’s Note: I don’t want to give away too much like so many other sites do, but there are a slew of intriguing and beautifully cultivated characters who are all affected by not only the tragic incident, but WW1, their position within the aristocracy, and personal drama that will have you engrossed late into the night.

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