The House at Riverton – Kate Morton

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The House at Riverton is a grand English manor house and as you’d expect it is packed with secrets. The story is told through the eyes of 98-year-old Grace, a former housemaid of Riverton Manor. She is contacted by a researcher who is creating a film about the suicide of a famous poet, which occurred during the time of her employment at the manor. The truth about what really occurred 80 years ago is slowly revealed in this Gothic style mystery.

The book started off well and I quickly became attached to Grace’s character, but I found Hannah and Emmeline, the children who lived in Riverton Manor, lacking in that special spark. Many of the other characters in the book also felt a bit flat and overly stereotyped.

The writing is light and easy to read, reminding me of The Thirteenth Tale, but it lacked period atmosphere and I found myself losing interest towards the middle. I felt that it could have benefited from losing at least 200 of it’s 600 pages.

It was cleverly plotted, the secrets being revealed slowly and deliberately throughout the book, and the ending was wonderful – I didn’t see it coming at all.

Overall I found it to be an entertaining, but slightly long-winded mystery. Recommended for fans of Gothic mystery with a lot spare time on their hands!



Kate Morton has just released a new book: The Forgotten Garden.

Have you read either of her books? Which is best?

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  1. Simon S says:

    I liked this book but 100% agree that it was about 200 pages too long! I liked the lead character but its a book I enjoyed reading but didn’t rush to pick up again when would put down!

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes – it wasn’t a real page turner – I could easily abandon it and return a few weeks later.

  2. Dot says:

    I had the same opinion as you on this book, it was ok but not great! I have just read and reviewed her new book which I really loved:

    The story in the new one was far more absorbing and the pace was much faster, I really struggled to put it down!

    1. Jackie says:

      That is great to know! I was quite disappointed by this one, but will make sure I pick up the Forgotten Garden at some point.

  3. Violet says:

    I LOVED Forgotten Garden. It was fantastic.

    I’m reading House at Riverton now. I’m a little over 100 pages but I am not liking it so much. It just isn’t holding my attention. I hope the rest is better.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m afraid to say that I think it gets worse. It does pick up at the end though – I look forward to reading your House at Riverton review.

      I’m pleased to hear another great comment on Forgotten Garden!

      1. Violet says:

        Oh yes, its good, you should read it if you have time.

        Here’s my review of the book in case you are interested.

  4. I have both of these Morton books (unread). Why do authors have to add unnecessary pages?? Just finished one with too many pages. Thanks for the review jackie

    1. Jackie says:

      I know I good bit of trimming would improve a lot of books!

  5. Dorte H says:

    What a pity she didn´t really keep it up. The plot idea sounds so thrilling that I may have to try it in spite of your less than enthusiastic review.

    1. Jackie says:

      The plot was really clever – it is such a shame it failed to grab my attention in several section.

  6. Sandy says:

    I love a good Gothic tale, but 600 pages? I will invest in a book of this length if there are rewards, but ugh. Maybe it would be a good selection for an audio, which is how I read The Thirteenth Tale. I have to see if the library has it!

    1. Jackie says:

      I think the longer the book the less I want to listen to it on audio, but I can see how this book might be improved by a good cast of voices.

      1. Sandy says:

        I just ordered this on audio from the library…16 discs, which isn’t horrible. Especially after the Outlander books. Speaking of which, I REALLY need to get back to them. I have been taking a very long break from them!

  7. Cathy says:

    I’ve read both and much preferred The Forgotten Garden.

  8. David Nolan says:

    I’ve just checked my librarything collection and found that I rated this one 3.5 stars as well. I didn’t post a review, but your review above seems remarkably similar to what I would have written had I done so. I agree with the general consensus that it would have benefitted from a bit of trimming.

  9. Nicole says:

    I read the House at Riverton and liked it but found that it didn’t stand up to further scrutiny. I had a lot of questions at the end about that things which were brought up and just never fully explored, and like you said it was along book. I did enjoy it in the moment of reading it.

  10. Beth F says:

    Kate Morgan has been on my wish list for a while now, but I haven’t yet read her. After reading your review, I think I would enjoy this one. (But, then, you mentioned 13th Tale!)

  11. Geraldine says:

    I have to admit to loving both The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden!

    They were both holiday reads for me. I actually sat reading The House at Riverton for three and a half hours in the garden at Hotel des Invalides in Paris because I didn’t want to stop! I actually gave up sight seeing for it!

    I found them unashamedly easy escapism! I particularly enjoyed the upstairs-downstairs setting of The H at R.

    1. Jackie says:

      Geraldine, I did enjoy reading it, but it wasn’t anything special. I’ll probably read The Forgotten Garden at some point.

  12. K M Britt says:

    Ok, I love British and Gothic mysteries. I might give it a try.

  13. Karen says:

    I really enjoyed this one, I did not really notice the length and read it very quickly. Would class it as very good (especially since it is a debut novel) but not outstanding. I have The Forgotten Garden on my shelf waiting to be read and based on my enjoyment of The House at Riverton I am looking forward to it.

  14. Yvonne says:

    I haven’t posted my own review of ‘The House At Riverton’, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I didn’t think that it was overly lengthy.
    It really all comes down to individual taste I guess, but I found your review very interesting and comprehensive.
    I shall definitely be adding ‘The Forgotten Garden’, to my TBR pile, which is quickly becoming something of a mountain!
    Love the site

  15. Jeanne says:

    You’re one of the only people to say that it “lacked period atmosphere,” which was one of my many complaints about it.

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