The House at Riverton / The Shifting Fog
by Kate Morton (2006)
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 house-maid 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.
I first discovered Kate Morton last winter with her third novel, The Distant Hours, which made rather a deep impression on me. Soon afterwards I read her second, The Forgotten Garden, which I also found intriguing.
She’s an Australian author but her novels are set (mostly) in England. Each novel is a completely separate story so it does not matter in which order you read them.
Her debut novel, The House at Riverton (also published under the title The Shifting Fog) has been waiting on my shelf for a while because my eye trouble last spring got in the way of reading it. I still find small printed text very tiring… But then I also found this one available as talking book in Swedish translation, and so I ended up reading some chapters in my English paperback, and listening to others in Swedish – a mix I have not tried before, but with this book it worked very well (which means it must have been a good translation!)
I think the blurb quoted above is really as much information as you need about the content beforehand. I liked it, and found it hard to put down/turn off… It’s got a lot of Upstairs/Downstairs or Downton Abbey (TV-series) kind of atmosphere so if you’re a fan of those, then I think you’re likely to enjoy this one as well.
Kate’s latest book The Secret Keeper was published a few months ago. I’ve bought that one for my Kindle and it’s on my To Read list for the coming year.