Picks and Pans Review: The House at Riverton

updated 05/26/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Kate Morton |

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An anthropologist who plumbs cultural mysteries, Grace Bradley has always protected the truth about a shooting she witnessed in her youth. But at 98, Bradley, the narrator of Morton's stunning debut, begins to reconsider while consulting on a film about the suicide at Riverton Manor, where she was a young housemaid. Evoking the doomed splendor of Edwardian England and the unspeakable losses of the Great War, Morton creates a romance in which past and present merge in startling ways—and the "guilt of tragedy's survivors," as Grace says, emerges into the light.

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