November 2012 read-along on The House at Riverton

Here is the synopsis on Goodreads:

Summer 1924

On the eve of a glittering society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999

Grace Bradley, ninety-eight, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet’s suicide. Ghosts awaken and old memories – long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace’s mind – begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge, something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.

*** *** ***

This book counts for the following challenges:

    

Historical Fiction

If you follow this blog, you may remember how ecstatic I was at the reading of The Forgotten Garden in May. And Kate Morton has a brand new book coming out in October, The Secret Keeper, which I am currently reading, and it IS GOOD!

So it’s time to catch up with her other books I have not read yet. To do so, I’m organizing this read-along.

The book has 4 parts, about 160 pages each, so we are going to have a discussion on each part every Monday in November.

Here is the breakdown:

November 5:
Part 1: pp.3-167 [from ‘Ghosts Stir’ to ‘Until we meet again’, included]. Access the questions and answers here.

November 12:
Part 2: pp.171-335 [from ‘The Twelfth of July’ to ‘The Ball And After’ included]. Access the questions and answers here.

November 19:
Part 3: pp.339-448 [from ‘Catching Butterflies’ to ‘The Choice’ included]. Access the questions and answers here.

November 26:
Part 4: pp.451-593 [from ‘Hannah’s Story’ to the end]. Access the questions and answers here.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

  • I’m glad I didn’t start reading Kate Morton with this novel, because I may never have read other books by her, and I loved so much The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper. Can’t wait now to finally read the Distant Hours…
  • But The House at Riverton was dragging for me: too many pages with too many secrets and hardly any clue for hundred of pages.
  • I also thought there were too many characters: as things were getting confusing, I did a chart, and ended up with 70 characters, and I’m not even sure I didn’t miss any!
  • I also found it too heavy, lacking of some positive outcome.
  • One thing I enjoyed was tracking down common details between Rebecca and The House at Riverton. But really, who can beat Daphne du Maurier?
  • I also discovered that hosting a read-along is hard work, and I didn’t get as much active participation as promised, so I don’t think I will host another read-along too soon. Maybe it would work better with a shorter novel.

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(2012) #25 review: The Humming Room

The Humming Room

by

Ellen POTTER

182 pages

Published in February 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

This book counts for the following challenges:

  

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Another garden? yes! I guess this is my trilogy period. After my unforgettable experience at reading The Forgotten Garden, I went to the root and read The Secret Garden, only to discover a few days later that another modern version had just been released: The Humming Room!

If The Forgotten garden was an adaptation of the classic for adults, this one is for children. It is nevertheless very well written. I had much fun tracking how this author took up the theme of the bird for instance: so instead of a robin, here you have a great blue heron! It fits perfectly with the theme of the island, and the wild character of one of the young heroes.

I liked very much how the character of the 3 children is developed. All 3 of them are special at a level or another, but at the contact of nature and each other, they grow and learn to love life. There are also lots of other funny details or adaptations along, and I will let you find them out.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw’s special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment’s notice. When her parents are murdered, it’s her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn’t believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.
Despite the best efforts of her uncle’s assistants, Roo discovers the house’s hidden room–a garden with a tragic secret.
Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Potter (born 1973) is an American author of both children’s and adult’s books (as Ellen Toby-Potter). She grew up in Upper West Side, New York and studied creative writing at Binghamton University and now lives in Candor in upstate New York. She has been a contributor to Cimarron Review, Epoch, The Hudson Review, and Seventeen. Her novel Olivia Kidney was winner of the Child Magazine Best Book award and was a Best Book of the Year selection for 8-12 year-olds by Parenting magazine.

Macmillan offers another biographical note and picture.

She has a website, and you can follow her on Twitter.

REVIEWS BY OTHERS

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
WHICH ADAPTATION OF THE SECRET GARDEN DO YOU PREFER?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE