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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Beginnings: The House at Riverton

Today I am linking up to Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader where readers share the first sentence of the current book they are reading.

"Last November I had a nightmare. It was 1924 and I was Riverton again. All the doors hung wide open, silk billowing in the summer breeze. An orchestra perched high on the hill beneath the ancient maple, violins lilting lazily in the warmth. The air rang with pealing laughter and crystal, and the sky was the kind of blue we'd all thought the war had destroyed forever. One of the footmen, smart in black and white, poured champagne into the top of a tower of glass flutes and everyone clapped, delighting in the splendid wastage."

Thoughts on Intro: The House at Riverton begins with the lovely description of a dream that leaves the reader with a sense that much reality lies behind the story. This is the first Morton novel that I have read and I am already planning on reading more. Her writing elegantly creates a world where the characters come to life and the reader is instantly hooked.

About the book (from The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, it is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades. Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they -- and Grace -- know the truth. In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever. The novel is full of secrets -- some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history. Originally published to critical acclaim in Australia, already sold in ten countries and a #1 bestseller in England, The House at Riverton is a vivid, page-turning novel of suspense and passion, with characters -- and an ending -- the reader won't soon forget.

About the Author (from Kate Morton is an Australian author whose novels have been published in 38 countries and sold three million copies."The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New York Times bestseller in 2008. The House at Riverton won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards, and The House at Riverton was nominated for Most Popular Book at the British Book Awards in 2008. Her second book,The Forgotten Garden, was a #1 bestseller in Australia and a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2008. In 2010, Morton's third novel, The Distant Hours, was released, followed by her fourth, The Secret Keeper, in 2012.

Have you read Morton's novels? Which was your favorite?

Happy Reading,


  1. This sounds like an excellent story, especially since I'm a Downton Abbey fan. Thanks for introducing me to this book and its author.
    Here's the link to my Friday post: STELLA IN STILETTOS.

  2. As I was reading the Beginning I was wondering why she called it a nightmare, because it sounded lovely. But I can imagine that when dreaming about something you've lost it feels like a nightmare! The cover is gorgeous! I will have to check this one out! Thanks for sharing :) Enjoy your weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  3. oooh downton abbey / murder style!! that sounds interesting. I really like period pieces :D I should check this out when I get back to Canada. I love the opening you immediately know when (time wise) the story is taking place.

    Maura @

  4. Such a lovely opening! I have been wanting to read this author...this one looks like a great first foray into her work. Love that cover, too.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. The writing is beautiful. I have this one. So I might read it very soon.

  6. What a beginning!! Happy Reading!

    Here is my Book Beginning post!!


    Here is my Friday 56 post!!

  7. Great beginning and a wonderful time to set a book.

  8. I LOVE Kate Morton's books. Every one of them is so good. My favorite is The Forgotten Garden.

    Thanks for sharing and for the reminder about The House at Riverton.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings



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