In the manner of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Morton’s The House At Riverton begins in the twilight years of its protagonist and travels back through her memories to examine the dramatic and heartwrenching past. In the present, 98 year old Grace is asked to share memories of her youthful servitude at Riverton Manor for a film based on the apparent suicide of a poet on the grounds of the estate.
Though the events surrounding the poet’s death are by far the most interesting parts of the story, they really only come into focus in the final third of the book. The majority of the novel centers on Grace’s humble life as a servant and her bird’s eye view of the vivid Ashbury sisters. The emotion Morton evokes from her characters keeps the pages turning until the tension begins to build and the climatic death scene finally arrives.