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The House at Riverton Audible – Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken, and memories, long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge, something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.

An alternate title for this novel is The Shifting Fog.

©2006 Kate Morton; (P)2006 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 18 hours and 52 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
  • Release Date: January 12, 2007
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000MQ534K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

366 of 380 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on March 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1914, fourteen-year old Grace came to Riverton Manor as a housemaid. There she met the Master's grandchildren, whose lives would forever be linked with her own. Now 98, Grace looks back at those early years of duty, selflessness, and silence.

To give away more of the plot would be to rob other readers of the sublime delight I found in reading this book. It is told through the eyes of an old lady who has known great sorrow and some joy, who has seen Edwardian society give way to hard rock and managed to adapt to it all with wisdom and humor. The story paints a vivid picture of life among the idle rich before and after the first War, how carefree children became conflicted adults, and how passion erupted in gunfire one grand summer night.

The author has written such a wonderful story I sobbed through the last chapters, not wanting it to end. It would make a great movie - it's powerful, dramatic, and heartbreaking, equal parts of mystery, romance, and history - and is the best book I've read in a long time.
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143 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The first two lines of "The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton, are an homage to "Rebecca" and then the novel is reminiscent of "Remains of the Day", "Gosford Park", "The Great Gatsby" and other gothic and romantic novels...all acknowledged by the author in the Afterward. All this makes Morton's first novel deliciously readable, engrossing and fun. She takes the tried and true literary motif of an elderly woman, Grace, recounting the story of her life with heavy hints at a few gothic secrets to be revealed in due course. And it works beautifully! I used to love reading these kinds of stories when I was young; who didn't? Thus it was a wonderful treat to find this gem of a novel which completely captivated me for several days. Yes, one can have a first person narrator who is also omniscient when she is a servant; ubiquitous yet silent, hearing and seeing almost all.

I won't recount the plot or slip in any spoilers, but I want to make note of what a wonderful job Morton does of depicting the unraveling of the constricting social mores after WWI, especially for women and for the service class as they shed the oppression of the Victorian age and entered the "Roaring 20s" with its bohemian and jazzy style.

There are the usual and expected "errors of birth" that we won't be terribly surprised by...we know some secrets before Grace figures them out herself, but one is saved for the end and nicely slipped in.

"The House at Riverton" has been a best seller in England and Morton's homeland, Australia, and I can understand why; I expect it will do very well here in the US, too, as we are endlessly fascinated by tales of British high society and all the intricacies of the upstairs/downstairs ways of life. I will anxiously await Morton's next novel!
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98 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on May 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's hard to believe this magnificent novel is a first effort by Kate Morton. I will certainly be looking forward to her future work, as this is a well-crafted narrative that exposes a story from the past through the remembrances of ninety-eight-year-old Grace Bradley.

A scandalous tragedy at a lavish English party in 1924 is about to be made into a movie and, as the last surviving person from the event, Grace is interviewed by a dedicated young filmmaker. The filmmaker wants to be clear on all details of a young poet's suicide and present an accurate portrayal. Only Grace knows that history in not correct and what everyone thinks happened did not happen at all. She has kept the secret for over 70 years and it has haunted her memory.

Morton does a masterful job of taking the reader into the lives of the idle rich, the servants who are devoted to them, and the secret liaisons that connect the two classes in forbidden ways. The conflict between desire and possibility is played out generation after generation.

The unreliability of accepted facts, the haunting of the present by the past, and the inescapability of inherited social standing determining one's fate all combine for a searing story I could not put down.

The characters are wonderfully three-dimensional, the plot well-paced and highly believable, the explosive conclusion well worth the time invested. I cannot recommend this one highly enough and can only hope Kate Morton continues to gift us with her talent for storytelling.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on January 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"War makes history seem deceptively simple. They provide clear turning points, easy distinctions: before and after, winner and loser, right and wrong. True history, the past, is not like that. It isn't flat or linear. It has no outline. It is slippery, like liquid; infinite and unknowable, like space. And it is changeable: just when you think you see a pattern, perspective shifts, an alternative version is proffered...."

The House at Riverton is a true historical novel, in all senses of the term. Told from the first person perspective of 98 year old Grace, the narrative alternates between present and past, the story flowing seamlessly from the recesses of her memory and more than 50 years of painful reflection. Riverton has many themes: the myriad damages wrought by war, the relentlessly impersonal evolution of society, the slippery intricacies of relationships, the crucial importance of self-actualization. It is mystery in reverse: from many clues, from the atmosphere of secrecy and suspense, we know with absolute certainty that something dreadful happens, but the exact nature of the tragedy becomes fully apparent only on the final page. Ms Morton's characters, Grace, the sisters, the men in their lives, the servants, are genuine and vibrant, real people that the reader comes to know, love, hate, and care about in one way or another. By the conclusion of this finely crafted novel, we know Grace the best, and as she faces her own death, we understand that she has learned important lessons from the past, has truly learned to live her own life on her own terms.

Riverton is an exceptionally strong debut from a gifted writer. One can only imagine and anticipate what Morton might have in store for us next!
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