Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review: The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton

Title: The Shifting Fog
Author: Kate Morton
Genre: Historical romance/family saga
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, 2006


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 is 98-years-old and living her final days in a nursing home when she is approached by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Once a housemaid at Riverton Manor where the events took place,  Grace is the only person who has the knowledge to verify the accuracy of the films period setting and the portrayal of the people involved. As her long suppressed memories begin to surface Grace realises that she must free herself from the shocking secret she has kept for so many years and she begins to make a series of recordings for her grandson, Marcus.

Her story begins when she is 14 and arrives at Riverton to take up service ........upstairs, downstairs we share the daily lives of the people of Riverton Manor through the quiet observations of young Grace who eventually rises to the position of lady's maid to one of the daughters, Hannah. These are the years just prior to , during and immediately after WWI . It's a fascinating time but one that has a haunting sadness about it. An era the war is going to destroy forever..........how hard it is to read of those young men who so gallantly went off on what they saw as a magnificent adventure. How hard to understand the depths of loyalty servants felt to their employers, their feelings that they too were part of 'the family'. I was sad, and a little cross, when Grace sacrificed her personal happiness because 'Hannah needs me'.

The movement between the two time periods flows very well . Sometimes I find one more interesting than the other but here there was balance and sharing the contemporary Grace's struggle to cope with her rapidly advancing loss of faculties and hold on to life until her story was told was as moving as her early life.

It's a wonderful story........a sweeping family saga that draws you in emotionally to share the loves, the heartaches and sorrows, the triumphs and failures of many diverse characters and leaves you feeling a little regretful it's finished but well satisfied.

Kate Morton is an Australian author......she has also written The Forgotten Garden, equally as good, and I'm sure all her fans will be waiting with great anticipation for her third novel:

The Distant Hours

Due to be released in November, 2010.

I know I will be!


  1. I have seen her latest at the library and it sounds good, after this perhaps I should check what they got by her

  2. I love this book - it's called The House at Riverton for the UK market. Can't wait for The Distant Hours!

  3. The Forgotten Garden has been on my must read list forever (it would seem). The Shifting Fog sounds really good!

  4. I loved both her books, especially The Forgotten Garden. Thanks for the heads up on the 3rd novel. I can't wait!!

  5. I'm sure you'd love these books, Mary & Blodeuedd.

    Leanna & Kaye.....me too!!!

  6. Wow .. this sounds awesome! I am adding this! Great review!

  7. I loved both of Kate Morton's books and I'm looking forward to The Distant Hours, although I really don't like the cover.