Friday, June 13, 2008

The House at Riverton

The upcoming week has a couple of big events for our family. Doogie takes his ACTs tomorrow. He's nervous about the test, but confident that he will do well. He really wants to go to school for film, something with directing or editing, and found a school called Full Sail down in Florida. It sounded perfect until we heard the price: $40,000-80,000 for 18 months of schooling. Ouch! We aren't ruling it out completely, but the search for scholarships has begun. Molly is leaving on Monday for her first week at camp. She's never been away from home (not at a relative's), but at almost 15, I think she'll be just fine. She's going to church camp with several other teens from our new church. She'll have a blast, I'm sure, although I'm not sure how she'll survive without her cellphone for all that time! One change that's NOT happening this week: our baptism. I had the date wrong; it's next Sunday, not this one.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton is a powerful dramatic novel about secrets and love. In 1914, Grace Reeves starts working as a housemaid at the age of 14 at the Hartford estate of Riverton outside of London. She quickly becomes entranced by the three children of the house: David, 17; Hannah, 14; and Emmeline, 10. She soaks up their games, hopes, and dreams, a life she will never have of her own. But years later, a shooting occurs and it shatters all of them, and now in 1998, only Grace remains to tell the story of what really happened that night and all that came before. Grace is a wonderful character of her times: in service before WWI, and as times changed with WWII, she worked as a Red Cross nurse, then became a student while being a single mother, and finally an archaeologist with a famous mystery writer for a grandson, Marcus. The book is written as audiotapes that Grace records for Marcus as enticement to return from a self-imposed exile. The book feels like a ride up the first hill on a roller coaster. As the characters are introduced, there are lush descriptions of both the setting and time, but with each turn of the page, the tension ratchets up until near the top, the reader is breathless with anticipation. The drama of family secrets and lies has rarely been done so well. Grace's guilt begins with a lie when she was just 14, but shapes the events around it until tragedy is the only possible outcome. Moron's debut shows amazing promise; this is definitely a writer to keep your eye on.

Have a wonderful weekend! Hopefully with no more rain! Today's pic is the brand new baby moose at the zoo.