SL Book: The House at Riverton

GREAT NEWS: I think that my book constipation is finally OVER. TMI? Sorry. It’s just that it has been months since I’ve read a book that has captured and held my attention. I just couldn’t get into anything, which is heartbreaking, considering my love-love-love of books and reading.

A friend of mine with a different kind of FC recommended The House at Riverton. We have like-minded chemo brains and attention spans. So, when she told me about it, I knew it would be a winner (Silver Lining)!

I have always been a big fan of historical fiction because it tells a good story and I walk away feeling as if I’ve learned something. This book is just that.

The House at Riverton is a story about a very old woman with a very old story who looks back across the 20th century to recall a terrible event in her youth to which she was the only witness and which history has remembered incorrectly. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds!

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.

Grace is a strong character, a survivor, clear-thinking, unsentimental, independent and intelligent. I was actually really bummed when I finished the book.

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 — that you won’t soon forget.

I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I do!

What are you reading right now?

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  1. Victoria says

    I am at the very end of The House at Riverton and had to physically pull myself away to go to work today. I have been soooo tempted to peek at the end but have controlled myself enough not to. Can't wait to find out what happens. Then I think I'll do a re-read of Wuthering Heights. Despite the fact that there is hardly a redeemable character in the whole book, I love it!

    • says

      Hi Victoria, This is music to my ears! I'm so excited that you are enjoying it. I'm eager to read her other two books. Look forward to your reflections on the ending! Enjoy!

      • Victoria says

        In the last few pages I thought it was obvious what was going to happen and I was a bit disappointed. Then something completely unexpected happened instead. I loved it! I won't write it in case someone reads this who hasn't read the book, but I think she came up with a very interesting ending. I did think there was going to be something more involving her grandson because she was so specific about wanting to talk to him and not her daughter. But overall I truly enjoyed it and will look for her other books.

  2. Patricia Harkness says

    I have been reading several books…all historical as I love history as well. I read the whole Tudor series and LOVED it. I just finished Killer Angels, about the battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. I am now working on Lincoln As I Knew Him which is as the cover says, "Gossip, Tributes, & Revelations from his best friends & worst enemies"…a great read. I have ready to start Katherine the Great…Portrait of a Woman about the German princess who became one of the most powerful women in the world.

    Your book sounds great; it will be added to my list

  3. Lynne says

    Hi Hollye!
    I check this page are amazing! I love your style, strength, humour and love of your family. I just started running again and feel empowered…love when you talk about your challenges and your running.
    I wanted to let you know about a book I am reading right now that I can't put down – Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. You're writing is a gift..thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Lynne. Your note means so much to me! I'm thrilled to hear that you have started running again. Isn't it the BEST? Thanks also for your book recommendation. Love it!

  4. Kim C says

    Feel bummed no more…… She has also written The Forgotten Garden.
    A few days ago I commented on your post entitled Fighting Cancer…..
    I said that I visualized cancer as something misguided and confused – even a friend with whom I have set huge boundaries such as chemo and surgery amongst many other things. The word 'friend' could possibly sound like I'm off my rocker and not living in reality! Not so. I am keenly aware of the evil of cancer and I could live in fear and anxiety and hate, hate hate it. I consciously choose to fully accept the fact that cancer has happened to me, that I'm now in remission and that it will always be a part of me. I'm not running and hidding under the covers from it. It's there and I'm doing all I can to keep it in remission. I am not tormenting myself by saying I'm cancer free or hating it and resisting it and wishing it never happened and questioning – how could this happen to me? That keeps us stuck and in emotional pain. I can honestly say that I have confronted it with all the strength I possess. I now see it as a gift that has changed my life and deepened me in ways I could never have imagined. I am keenly aware of what is important in my life, what I choose to do with my time and with whom I choose to share my precious life. I have come full circle at this time and no longer fight or resist in any way. I have come to fully accept my reality and I am grateful for it- cancer and all. I am involved with an integrated cancer care clinic and try to help others to overcome their fear as well. We practise such things as meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, diet, exercise, supplements and a whole lot of emotional and spiritual support. I firmly believe we can be stronger and our lives can be deeper and richer for having experienced cancer. We can live a better life with cancer, we can effect our outcomes and even heal ourselves. I know this is true because it happened to me.

    • says

      Thank you for your note, Kim. Super excited to read her next book.
      I definitely don't think that you are off your rocker. I too have been deepened in ways I could never have imagined, which is the Silver Lining that I take away from FBC. I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for consistently sharing your words of wisdom and experience. They mean so much!