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
This is my first review and I don't like reading long reviews, so this will be very brief. The writing style is classy, the story and characters drag you into their world so you don't want to stop listening. You may think you know, but you don't know how it will end until the very end. All in all a very tight story, classic mystery setting, believable characters and compelling pace. (and it was on SALE!)
The first third of the book is spent with little movement, setting up the settings and the era and the main characters, and it maybe could have been handled better. It drags early on, and some of the prose reaches too far.
About a third of the way through, the central mystery and conflicts begin to take hold, and while it is never a thriller, the characters and settings begin to have something to do, and you begin to care what happens next. The setup pays off as the tapestry of the novel flows from lordly manors to wealthy London houses, from traditional ideas of class to progressive struggles with early 20th century feminism and the labor movement. The setting never overtakes the characters, but complements them and defines them as they pull through the conflicts of the book.
By the end I was completely engaged, unable to put the book down. It's probably not for everyone, but it's an effective period piece with an intriguing mystery and vivid characters, and the reader is tremendous. Well worth it.
I can see this being too slow for people who are only looking for the solving of the mystery at the end, but this is a beautiful book with incredible historical and personal details. If you are prepared to enjoy the journey and the stories of the lives involved, this book is well worth reading and the ending makes it very complete.
I also think this is one of the best books I've heard. The characters are fascinating. You aren't really drawn in by a plot, but by the very human relating and foilables, such as we all have. I'd say the main theme is how such little deceptions cause such major events in life. There is suspense about how it all happened and the flash back from old age is done remarkably well. The reader has such a colorful voice. The little characteristics of her words become very special in her telling of the story. I'd give more than 5 stars if I could!
This is one of the best books I have listened to (or read) in a very long time. I had a tough time getting into this book and found the narration to be monotonous at first. However, once I started to understand the connections and relationships between all of the characters, I couldn't stop listening! When I finished the book, I felt positively breathless and couldn't wait to recommend it to others. I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I finished it yesterday. The only reason that I rated this book at 4 stars is because it was a little difficult to get in to. I would have rated it 4.95 stars if it were possible!
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This story is for those who love the multi-episode Masterpiece Theater British Empire stories with large casts of upper and working class characters. Readers who become impatient with long detailed descriptions of people, landscapes or locations will not do well with this book. The plot does unfold methodically with clues sprinkled throughout hinting at future events. I love that kind of story telling if the narrative is well written, and in this case it was very well written indeed. I loved the insights into the downstairs staff, the pre and post WWI society, and came to love all of the main players. For me, any of my credits are an investment of time and attention. This was a well spent credit.
A finely detailed novel told from the present by the central character with long flashbacks to the time of the events. This was done so well it actually added to the understanding of the story. This is not a "quick" read but a delicious view of English life at the finish of WWI and the early 1920s.
The further I got into the story the more I felt as though I was living at the same time with the characters. It was uncanny. You began to understand the impact of the social mores of the time and the clashing changes brought about by the war.
Initially I found the narrator a bit difficult to follow so far as which character was which. However, once you get the relationships and such straight, the narrator does a great job of putting you in the middle of the story. I was sorry to have it end and would have loved to hear even more about the central character's life. I'd even like to re-listen to see which bits I overlooked that might have foreshadowed the various events.
If you are into unabridged, thoroughly detailed novels this is definitely for you!
My first experience with Kate Morton was The Forgotten Garden (WONDERFUL), so I thought I would give The Shifting Fog, A.K.A. The House at Riverton, a try. I really enjoyed it, and I loved the fact it was told through the eyes of Grace, although you dont really know what part Grace plays in the story at beginning. But true to Kate Morton, there are lots of twists and turns and just when you think you know what is going to happen, you find out you were not quite right. If youre an avid reader (listener) like me, that is quite a feat, to surprise me in the slightest. The narration is done by Caroline Lee, the same as in the Forgotten Garden, in which she was great, and she is good in this, but the Australian accent doesnt quite fit sometimes.
I would say this is definitely a credit worthy listen, and I will go back and listen to it again. I definitely recommend it.
Oh my goodness, so many people liked this book - I really wanted to like it too! However I found it painfully slow! The choice of an Australian narrator ruined this book for me. It is set in England, the characters should be English!
I hoped this book would be engaging, instead listening it was a chore, my mind wandered and became easily distracted. I managed to listen to it and rewind and listen to it again, for 4 hours. I hate to waste my audible credits; each one is precious so I wish I had not bought this book.
Looking over previous reviews people seem to love it or hate it. I hope you love it but I didn’t.
This is one of the best. I thought the narration was wonderful and suited the plot and the characters very well. I was disappointed to reach the end and look forward to more by this author.
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