I’m aware I’ve been really bad at blogging… however, I’ve been doing some reading and listening to novels, and just now wrote a short review on Goodreads.com on a novel I finished tonight. I’ve copy-pasted it below; the review is on the novel The House at Riverton by the Australian novelist Kate Morton. I have not read much Australian fiction, but not so long ago I read a book by another historical novelist, The Secret River by Kate Grenville, which I really enjoyed, And a couple of weeks ago I got a novel in the mail that I’m dying to read, it’s called The Raven’s Heart, written by Australian writer Jesse Blackadder, and set in Scotland during the reign of Mary Stuart.
So, I’m all for historical fiction by Australian women writers at the moment…
See below for my Goodreads review :).
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I guess I would even give this novel 4 1/2 stars if possible, though it’s not without flaws. Overall, this is a very enjoyable read (or listen, as I had the audiobook) and – especially after you reach the last quarter of the novel – it is really difficult to stop reading /listening. You are hooked, and want to get to the bottom of things, i.e. what really happened by the lake. As for the novel’s other mystery (if one can call it that), that was fairly obvious from early on. This also makes for one of the flaws in Morton’s tale; how on earth could Grace not realise? It seems to me that her eyes are opened rather late, unconvincingly late, as to what is the answer to her personal “mystery” (I’m trying not to include spoilers here).
For a reader who is really interested in historical fiction, this novel’s portrayal of England in the Edwardian era seems quite realistic. Although Morton’s portrayal of some characters is rather stereotypical (another flaw), you get a great sense of the enormous awareness of class and codes of conduct. The novel’s portrayal of women’s position and to what a great extent this was changing after the first World War is also very interesting.
For those who are fans of the TV series Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs (as well as novels like The Remains of the Day) this novel may perhaps ring too many bells, but this didn’t bother me except very briefly, while listening to the early chapters.