Sometimes authors take several stories and weave them together. It takes skill to do this well, and not every story succeeds. But I knew Kate Morton would do it well, because so far, I haven’t run into any stories she hasn’t told well.
This story is almost more about a house than anything else. The house belonged to an artist, but tragedy seems to follow the house throughout the years. When Elodie Winslow discovers the house, mysteries abound. A woman was murdered and the family diamond stolen in 1862; a girl drowns in the river years later, when the house has become a girls school.
Elodie discovers her own family has ties to the house, as well. Her great uncle spent time as a child at the house during World War II, and her mother, a famous musician that died tragically young, visited the house as well. Working as an archivist, Elodie is used to digging for answers, and suddenly she’s obsessed with uncovering the true history about the house–and the true history of her own family, too.
The story is told from alternating viewpoints and time eras, which could have been confusing, but Morton does a good job of keeping each sub story in its own section. Elodie’s story and the story of Birdie, a woman present in 1862 when the first tragedy struck, weave through it all, until the final chapters bring all the threads together.
It’s definitely a book you want to read on it’s own, so you keep all the stories together. And while at times you might start to wonder how it’s all related, just keep reading. It all makes sense in the end.
Morton’s story is one of intrigue and compelling characters. Definitely worth reading.