Thursday, July 10, 2008

35. The House at Riverton

The title: The House at Riverton
The author: Kate Morton
Publication: Atria, 2008
Got it from: Library

I've had it. Between this book, Fabergé's Eggs and Her Royal Spyness, I'm thoroughly sick of the early twentieth century. I've had enough. I'm calling it quits on this time period. Escort me to my Victorian parlour, Jeeves. All these flappers and shell-shocked soldiers are upsetting my constitution.

Oh, so you want to know about this book? Well, it's about this very old woman in 1999, who's recounting her life as a servant in the 1910's-1920's and the messed-up family she serves. Basically, if you took Remains of the Day, Wuthering Heights and added a dash of Titanic, you'd get this book.

I should have liked this book. All the elements are there. Zigzag timeline + wealthy English people from long ago + good writing =.....zilch. This book did nothing for me other than depress me and make we want to run to my nearest froth-filled novel. I just couldn't relate to Grace, the heroine. I suppose she was acting as she should have for the time, but I wanted to beat her with a dead fish for most of the book. She makes some incredibly stupid decisions that mess up everyone's life, including her own, and when she's old she feels guilty about it. Well, duh. Almost no one gets a break in this book. It's like there are big anvils falling from the sky all the time, conking people on the head.

I figured out Grace's "big secret" about fifty pages in, and it was so frustrating to have her not figure it out until a scrillion years have gone by. And then she never tells anyone! What the freak is that about? And then the "other" big secret at the end, involving the filmmaker who's making a movie about the events at Riverton - Grace realizes who the filmmaker is at the end, and again she doesn't tell anyone! Give me a break! Why does everyone have to be so repressed and not state the obvious in these books? I hate people who are like that in real life and I don't want to read about them either. I mean, the woman is dying. The least she can do is say, "Hey, guess what Ursula? You're actually...." But no. It can never be that way in these "arty" type of books. Everyone has to die in horrible, romantic ways, no one can ever live happily ever after and the book can't lighten up for more than a nanosecond. I'm sure there's lots of weepy, sentimental types who will like this book. But for me, it was a drag. D+.

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