eight year old Grace Bradley who, as she lives out her days in a nursing home, is contacted by Ursula, a young film maker who wants to give her what Andy Warhol called “fifteen minutes of fame.” Grace had been a servant at Riverton in the early part of the 20th century, having arrived there as a teenager to take up her job as housemaid to the family. She had first-hand knowledge of the mysterious death which occurred there in 1924 - the suicide of the well-known poet, “Robbie” Hunter - a good friend of the Hartford girls and their brother, David. In a series of flashbacks, we learn of the relationship among Grace and the young ladies of the house - Emmaline and Hannah Hartford - and of Grace’s mother’s connection to the household.
Finally, we learn the reason that, after Robbie’s death, Hannah and Emmeline never spoke to each other again. Grace is the only one left who knows what really happened at the death scene down by the lake.
Through the years, Grace sees the changes that the 20th century brings to life on British country estates, and she adapts to the familial and social webs which entrap the Hartfords.
The House at Riverton is not eerie enough to be a gothic novel but its mystery and romance connect it with that genre. If the second line of this novel, “It was 1924 and I was at Riverton again.” - recalls for you the first line of Rebecca -”Last night I dreamed I went to Manderlay again” - then you are in the right mood for the revelation of Hartford family secrets. In this novel there are plenty!
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org