Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Friday, July 23, 2010

"The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton

My friend Nevada recommended this book to me when I mentioned how much I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale. (Not a book by the same author, but a book that reminded Nevada of this one.) I'd heard of Kate Morton before, as I have The Forgotten Garden on my wish list at paperbackswap (where it has been, and will probably continue to be, for months, as evidently its readers don't want to turn it loose). After reading Riverton I am all the more excited about reading Morton's debut novel. But I will have to wait to read it, just as you will have to wait to hear what I think of it. Sigh.

But about The House at Riverton. What an enthralling story! I was about to tell you it was certainly the most engrossing book I've read all month, but then I realized I read What Dies in Summer this month. Oh well, I suppose we'll have to settle for calling this one of the most engrossing books I've read all month.

My one complaint about the book: I figured out on page 50 who Grace's father was. Grace didn't figure it out herself until page 351. At least she didn't spend all 301 pages contemplating her parentage. That would have been annoying, and I would have wanted to throw this book at her head if I could have figured out some way to do that.

I would be remiss if I did not make it clear that the entire book was certainly not so predictable. In fact, the main mystery--the one that is first introduced on page 14 as a secret that is "still safe"--was not clear to me until the very last chapter. And along the way there were plenty of minor considerations that kept me guessing. All without being fluffy!

My friend Nevada was right--this book was similar to The Thirteenth Tale, but not in a way that would bore the heck out of you if you read one right after the other. It just had the same sense of mystery interweaving past and present in an old English country manor. I was reminded of Atonement just as much, and even a little bit of Romeo and Juliet (because of the whole star-crossed lovers thing, minus the annoying misunderstandings that result in double suicide). My only problem with labeling this as one of my Must Reads is because I wonder if only girls would like it. I had the same feeling about The Thirteenth Tale. Some boys (and not my zombie-loving husband) need to read these books and tell me what they think.

10 comments:

Elle said...

You make me want to read this! I've also got The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield on my TBR list. Off to read your take on it now. :)

Kathy said...

I think you will enjoy both books! Especially seeing as how you're a girl and all. ;)

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I've not read anything by Kate Morton, but like you, I have The Forgotten Garden on my wishlist.

Thanks for an amazing review, for I want to read this book as well now - always up for a good suspense story.

Ordinary Reader said...

Stopping by from the hop. I'm reading "The House At Riverton" now. I like the story and the writing, but I can't seem to connect with the characters. Hopefully by the time I've finished that will have changed. Have a great weekend!
Dianne

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

I'm going to get Riverton from the library-- I think I was just starting The Forgotten Garden when we met at SDC-- I loved it-- my favorite book of the summer so far!

Kathy said...

Dianne--I hope you begin to connect with the characters soon--have you reached the point where Grace begins to tell the story that Hannah has told her? Maybe that will make a difference for you. I hope it gets better before you finish the book!!

Lesa--yes, you had just gotten The Forgotten Garden when we met up--so glad to hear you really enjoyed it! Makes me want to read it even more, if that's possible! I wish I knew how the two compared, because I don't want you to be disapopinted in Riverton (if Forgotten Garden is a better read and I've built Riverton up too much for you) . . .

Jessica said...

Ive seen this one about but boy its a thick book which put me off a little bit. It does appeal so I should just bite the bullet and get it one day, might read the passage first though.

Kathy said...

Oh, Jess, it looks chunky, but don't let that put you off any longer. It's less than 500 pages and it just flies by.

Jessica said...

I didnt realise it was less than 500 pages, one of those that looks deceptively bigger - Ill add it to my library list then!

Kathy said...

Isn't it funny how some books do that? It looks like a big fatty but it's really not. I wish I still had it, because I'm almost certain it wasn't any thinner than the copy of Anna Karenina I'm (not) reading right now, which somehow has just over 800 pages crammed into it.