I think this book, The House at Riverton, will always have a special place in my heart because it kept me company through the last night I was pregnant with Ben. I took it into hospital and, after a few hours of restless sleep, I woke up at 2am and read it to the end, all those hours suffused with that odd sensation of ‘what will happen to me now?’ that such circumstances produce. Something about the mood of the book sat very well with oddness of being unexpectedly alone in a hospital room at night knowing that everything would change in a few hours and that, whatever happened, it would be huge.
The book sat on my virtual shelf for ages, months, as if it were waiting for the right moment. It is the story of a young housemaid who, In the twilight of her years, is drawn back to her past to relive a life and a story by someone who wishes to tell it. The house, a place of mystery and intrigue and complicated lives and loves and losses looms through the story with great presence, a character in its own right. I grew up in a house which seemed accorded almost as much right and personality as the people in it, so perhaps that pulled another string and made me love it, but I also enjoyed the style; it was unashamedly wordy and picturesque as a novel and very much mirrored the era of the book, the decaying and roaring war years and twenties.
I loved the book for its themes of friendship, loyalty, love, desire and fresh starts, deception, change and growth. For that reason I nominate Josie from Sleep is for the Weak to read it, fiercely loyal friend that she is, worthy of love, first person who knew Ben had been conceived and first blogger to know he was born.