The House At Riverton

Nov 26, 2013 by     Comments Off on The House At Riverton    Posted under: Book Emporium, Hang Out

Reading this one, I was expecting to find a plot going back centuries; horrors unfathomable hidden deep inside the family Pandora box being passed from one generation to the next. Well, that’s what the synopsis at the back of the book led me to think, anyway. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when no such thing came to light, but this book is still a very pleasant read.

Kate Morton divulges the horrendous suicide of one Robbie Hunter, and the events leading to it, in a dramatic narrative set in the 90s. The story itself is from the Summer of 1924, It is really brilliant how she captures the life of a young maid in one of the Noble Houses of England, and through her memories of them as she is a 90 year old on her death bed, talks about the family who is beset with misfortune.

This plot is about love lost, two generations of it; circumstances and social status being a major part. It encompasses human desires and the need to be loved, and what selfishness and vanity can do to destroy oneself and those around you. I was overcome by tears when the “curtain” fell on the final act (the suicide of Robbie Hunter, witnessed by two sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford- never to talk to each other again for as long as they lived).

What really moved me was the part where Mr. Frederick Hartford witnessed the burial of his former maid from a distant hill, unable to resist one last glance at the woman he had loved his entire life yet been unable to marry for obvious reasons. She returned home in disgrace, and they never met again. But the love never died.

The catalyst in this case, which lead to the suicide, was Hannah’s decision to remain with her husband – I have to say this was extremely spineless. Not saying that the decision is an easy one to make, but if she had only run away before when she had the chance, destruction would not have occurred as it did. Two entire families would have remained unharmed and untouched by what came next – and she would finally have found happiness.

But alas, one cannot change endings no matter how much one wants to. A beautiful book; not as dramatic as some, but very nicely written.

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