Review of The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

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A trip to the library allows me to meet new authors and read recently published books for free, but the library also gives me the chance to catch up on books I might have missed from years past. Often times, I end up putting my name on the waiting list for the latest craze, but feed my need for good fiction by checking out the author’s other works while I wait. Currently, I’m waiting to read Kate Morton’s latest novel The Secret Keeper. But while my name inches to the top of the waiting list, I grabbed her debut novel The House at Riverton, sitting patiently on the shelf.

The House at Riverton

Fans of BBC’s Downton Abbey, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca or Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited will love this novel about family, love and secrets. Of course, a novel like this must have the perfect setting: a sprawling English manor at the turn of the 20th century, where all of these secrets take place.

The novel’s narrator ninety-eight-year-old Grace Bradley, a former maid for the Hartford family, spends the last days of her life unloading a secret she kept for too long. In the summer of 1924, during one of Riverton Estate’s famous parties, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses to the tragic event were the two Hartford sisters, Hannah and Emmaline, and Grace. The novel takes a long time revealing the secrets of Riverton, and the shifting perspective of Grace as an eager fourteen-year-old housemaid and then as an aged woman adds to the novel’s secretive layers.

I am a sucker for novels like this, and I am fascinated with this time period. Though tragic and haunting (like any good novel about a mysterious death on an English manor should be) the book develops character nicely, and Morton paces the reveals throughout the storyline. At times predictable with some of her secrets, Morton’s first novel kept me guessing, too.

Have you discovered an author’s early works while waiting on the latest release? 

About Kelly Wiggains

Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschool mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. She blogs, where she talks about everything From Literature to Living.


  1. This is definitely on my list now. Maybe it will tide me over until /Downton Abbey/ Season 4 starts in the US!

  2. Isn’t everything just something to tide us over until /Downton Abbey/ returns? Let’s be honest here.


  1. […] Adventure, a blog all about the library. The first post launched today, and it’s my review of The House of Riverton by Kate Morton. (You can read it […]

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