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KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Thoughts for finished readers

These are just my own thoughts regarding Grace, as a person, and her relationship to Hannah and Alfred, and life in general.

The basic premise, as I see it: To observe what Grace does, ISto know the person she is.

People aren't cut and dried. And Grace may look like a simple enough character...but she is much more complicated. As we've observed, Grace had her adolescent years of having to learn her place. When to speak, when to not speak; when to act, when to not act. I'm sure it inhibited her judgments. She was learning from her mother; she was learning from her employer and fellow employees. As the author stated, she had to go back and write in the dialogue, just so it didn't just show Grace as an observer. But she really was an observer, that's what the silences told me, and that's what I learned from her silences.

For me as an observer, we see what Grace was dealing with. Alfred was having his own problems, not just with his 'relationship' with Grace. He didn't know any more about dealing with his own emotional state, any more than having to deal with Graces. They were both falling all over each other, just to avoid each other's intimate verbal relationship. He was also having to deal with his relationship in society. Not just coming back from the war, but going out on his own.

Grace had obligation, she had promised these obligations to Hannah. Maybe that meant more to her, at that time, than she sought for her own personal happiness with Alfred. Yes, it could sound selfish, if you view happiness being married to Alfred. At what cost? Would making someone else happy, alone, make for a happy marriage? What is being selfish? We do things for ourselves, for our benefit, if that is what makes for our own happiness. If you're not happy, can you make someone else happy?

Maybe she thought he really didn't care "enough" about her....to love her. Maybe she felt when he took all of those blundering steps towards her, he possibly couldn't be as serious as she may have wanted him to act. He was unsure of himself. Who knows? I got the feeling she was torn between these situations. She'd never had these situations come into her emotional life, before then.

Mistakes are often made, without prior experiences and knowledge to help us judge whether or not they are mistakes, or good sense judgments. It's hard, in any case, to make decisions when emotions are involved, at those moments, especially for Grace at her young years.

We can look back at ours. We can see where we would have changed these courses, but with these young people, I can't make hard and fast scenarios for any of them. Experience and circumstances dictates these conclusions, at least it does for me.

I felt Grace a strong character, not from what she said, but from what she didn't say, giving us a lot of life's lessions to think and talk about. This is what great novels are about....allowing us, as readers, to learn our own way. We learn more through these discussions, whether we have them here, or in our own minds, than when an author hand feeds us their answers.

Kathy S.
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Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***



vivico1 wrote:

Amanda-Louise wrote:
Definitely - I think trust is definitely the word to use. Would you agree that the unrealized lack of trust was a theme in the book? So, having little to trust or rely on in her life when we knew Grace, she certainly feels she can trust Marcus with her story.

Would be interesting to read Marcus' biography - particularly if it contained her life after Riverton.

Amanda


Well, see here is a problem for me with the story. I really never learned enough about Grace aside from what she does, to know who she is. She may be present throughout the book, but she is not a well developed character. It made me not really care what happens to her because she really isnt much more than the person observing the story for us. She stands back from life. Some of it, of course is because she is the maid and "its not her place", but think of her interactions with those who are. She watches, listens, basically eaves drops on anything that will give her more of what she wants about Hannah. She and her mother, nothing much there to learn about her, other than again, she would rather be back where Hannah is. Her and her daughter, well you know that story. And I could kick her over Alfred and still say SHE is the lucky one he still wanted her after kicking him to the curb so many times, not he was lucky she still wanted him. If you think about it, shes not really a sympathetic person, she does what she does because she wants what she wants, pretty much like Hannah does. As for trust, I think its more important for Grace to feel and be trusted so she can get what she wants and where she wants, than any problem of trusting others. I don't think that plays into this story. Maybe even in that she needs redemption and if so then you have made me think of an interesting question. If she gives this to Marcus because she trusts him and trusts he will write it "her way", then is she still doing things based on her desires and she needs someone who will trust her, to give it to or has she finally, in looking for some kind of redemption on this issue too, broken down and had to trust in someone herself? If she does, is it out of love or out of a final necessity to fulfill this last desire about herself, her story?

Message Edited by vivico1 on 01-27-2008 05:43 PM


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo
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vivico1
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Re: Thoughts for finished readers

[ Edited ]
KathyS said:
"The basic premise, as I see it: To observe what Grace does, ISto know the person she is."
_____________
For me then, all Grace was, was what she we see her do and again, two things, she is a maid, its what she does. She observes and does not interact so I still know nothing about her as a person, other than she observes to get what she wants and thats a kind of off kilter closeness with Hannah from day one. She will lie to Hannah, by omission, observe Hannah, eavesdrop on Hannah and help Hannah do anything she wants even if its a danger to Hannah, because she wants close to her. Now this last part isnt about breaking the time honored silence of a maid, this is about obsession and wanting what you want even if it means destroying that very thing, rather than risk saving them and having to then be dismissed, at least you tried. There is nothing profound or deep in her. She's an observer doing what is only expected of her and no more.



KathyS wrote:
"Alfred was having his own problems, not just with his 'relationship' with Grace. He didn't know any more about dealing with his own emotional state, any more than having to deal with Graces. They were both falling all over each other, just to avoid each other's intimate verbal relationship. He was also having to deal with his relationship in society. Not just coming back from the war, but going out on his own."
________________
I felt I knew more about Alfred the person and what he was going through than Grace anywhere in this book. Alfred to me, was probably one of the most sympathetic characters, yet we hear less of his own words but know him more. He is a much more interesting character. Grace comes to Alfred in the end, when everyone else is gone! She ignored him at the train station to watch Hannah and David, she rebuffed him again about the marriage altho she said she had been waiting for this, until she figures out how close she could possible get to Hannah and just runs off, doesnt give him a chance or explanation and then doesnt even wind up doing anything with the information. Alfred, bless his heart, is trying to deal with the house, society, the war, his evidently undying love for Grace all along and we feel for him because of what we see happen to him and how it affects him.

We could go on, so many of us have on other threads about these aspects. I am interested in where this was going with the thoughts Amanda Louise and I were talking about, not to the exclusion of anything else of course,ever, but i dont want to lose that train of thought too. I find that very interesting.

Message Edited by Jessica on 04-01-2008 11:23 AM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***


Jo6353 wrote:


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo


For me Jo, I can think of more interesting characters to bring into a sequel, or as Mr Morton talked about, a prequel. Besides ****spoiler warning again*** Grace is dying, where will we go with her :smileywink: . Now THAT could be interesting, but again for those around her, not her. She is as someone said in the earlier threads, dull and the older Grace almost becomes an unwelcome interruption in the story. Not an exact quote but I felt that way too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***



vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo


For me Jo, I can think of more interesting characters to bring into a sequel, or as Mr Morton talked about, a prequel. Besides ****spoiler warning again*** Grace is dying, where will we go with her :smileywink: . Now THAT could be interesting, but again for those around her, not her. She is as someone said in the earlier threads, dull and the older Grace almost becomes an unwelcome interruption in the story. Not an exact quote but I felt that way too.



But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Thoughts for finished readers

Vivian, please don't take my quotes out of context.
And drawing lines under them, makes the whole thread width go off to the side.

thanks,
Kathy
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***

too.


But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.





Yes, but they could be included in a sequel, right? Her grandson could write about those years. He could also write the ending since he is doing her story. Maybe we would learn more about her through him. She loved him with a special admiration and most likely he felt the same about her. That would be interesting!.
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Thoughts for finished readers


KathyS wrote:
Vivian, please don't take my quotes out of context.
And drawing lines under them, makes the whole thread width go off to the side.

thanks,
Kathy


Not trying to take your quotes out of context, but just trying to show the two points on there that I was directing my thoughts to. The lines were not to underline your statements but to separate them from my responses since I didnt quote the entire post, and I know you would want my thoughts delineated from yours and visa versa. Also, I didnt draw the lines out all the way to even the end, I never do. If yours is stretched out, its something else on this thread like a link. I just went back to check it just in case, but there was no need to edit the lines, they were shorter there than the words. I just didnt want to repost the whole statement Kathy, trying to keep it shorter and show just what I am responding to so they dont get too long.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***


Jo6353 wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo


For me Jo, I can think of more interesting characters to bring into a sequel, or as Mr Morton talked about, a prequel. Besides ****spoiler warning again*** Grace is dying, where will we go with her :smileywink: . Now THAT could be interesting, but again for those around her, not her. She is as someone said in the earlier threads, dull and the older Grace almost becomes an unwelcome interruption in the story. Not an exact quote but I felt that way too.



But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.


You are right and THERE is where we might have gotten to know Grace for Grace huh? When she was doing things on her own?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***



vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo


For me Jo, I can think of more interesting characters to bring into a sequel, or as Mr Morton talked about, a prequel. Besides ****spoiler warning again*** Grace is dying, where will we go with her :smileywink: . Now THAT could be interesting, but again for those around her, not her. She is as someone said in the earlier threads, dull and the older Grace almost becomes an unwelcome interruption in the story. Not an exact quote but I felt that way too.



But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.


You are right and THERE is where we might have gotten to know Grace for Grace huh? When she was doing things on her own?




Yes, Vivian, that is why I thought a sequel would be nice. Just let the grandson tell it.
He could include all the stuff that Grace left out.
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***


kiakar wrote:
too.


But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.





Yes, but they could be included in a sequel, right? Her grandson could write about those years. He could also write the ending since he is doing her story. Maybe we would learn more about her through him. She loved him with a special admiration and most likely he felt the same about her. That would be interesting!.


Possibly so Kiakar, you and Jo are both right and thats where I felt shorted in the story, those years where she had to "become" someone not just "be" something to those around her. We just know they happened and that was all. Maybe someone else, like her grandson being the voice would bring out a much more interesting character in Grace. Its a possibility.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***



kiakar wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo


For me Jo, I can think of more interesting characters to bring into a sequel, or as Mr Morton talked about, a prequel. Besides ****spoiler warning again*** Grace is dying, where will we go with her :smileywink: . Now THAT could be interesting, but again for those around her, not her. She is as someone said in the earlier threads, dull and the older Grace almost becomes an unwelcome interruption in the story. Not an exact quote but I felt that way too.



But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.


You are right and THERE is where we might have gotten to know Grace for Grace huh? When she was doing things on her own?




Yes, Vivian, that is why I thought a sequel would be nice. Just let the grandson tell it.
He could include all the stuff that Grace left out.


Exactly! Jo
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author/ possible spoiler***


Jo6353 wrote:


kiakar wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Jo6353 wrote:



Jo6353 wrote:


However, Grace's story could lend itself to an interesting sequel. Jo



But there are a lot of missing years between domestic service and dying PhD.


You are right and THERE is where we might have gotten to know Grace for Grace huh? When she was doing things on her own?




Yes, Vivian, that is why I thought a sequel would be nice. Just let the grandson tell it.
He could include all the stuff that Grace left out.


Exactly! Jo


And if that would be her second book, she would probably have a better feel for character development too. She had a couple of good ones, good dialogue but then left them. Kiakar and I were talking about how well she described the house and Kiakar really likes those books. For me, I will agree she did a great job of that but also for me, it got too long and in the way of the story of the people. The dialogues were good and to me the best written chapter in the whole book was Hannah's Story, because for 50 pages, it stayed with one person and her character and it was well written without Grace's omnipotent eye! I may not agree with what Hannah and Robbie were doing but it was a very well written chapter. Some tended to drift between the house and the people and your listening to the young Grace's story when all the sudden there is the old Grace, just long enough to, well just be there, her story until the very very end was a bore. The transitions were not smooth between the two. (compare it to those in Water for Elephants, and there is no comparision). Maybe attacking it again, those parts missing that we wanted to know about Grace, and told through another voice, would work well. I would take a look at it anyway, after all this is her first. Its good for a first in some ways, but just not a grabber. I bet in a few years, she will have a book out that will knock this one out of the park!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: About the Book and Author

i have not quite finished the book. however, i am enjoying the reading of it. i find i can put it down and pick it up as i would a conversation with a friend after we have been interrupted.
i think the characters were developed well enough so that i have been drawn into the time and place as if i were actually there when some of the events take place. at times, though, i find myself confused when a new character is introduced or when something is described and i cannot actually place the time and place of the event. i have to go back and read a few lines to get myself back into the moment.
the characters do truly speak as if they are in that time period and although i sometimes find the descriptions tedious and heavy handed, they have helped to set the stage of each scene and draw me into it. it is not a book i cannot put down but it is definitely a book that i enjoy picking up again.
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LollySirk
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎12-22-2007
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Re: About the Book and Author



paula_02912 wrote:
Teapharmo3, I like Kate Morton's style too...you mentioned how amazing it is that a 98 year old woman has such a remarkable memory...I think it is plausible because studies have shown that older people have a much better memory for things that happened in the past, rather than what's going on in the present...and don't forget, her time at Riverton is a very indelible part of her life...and it shook her as we saw in the excerpt...


I'm only halfway through the book(slow reader/busy life); but yet, I've managed to miss quite a few stops while riding the train/bus(my main reading time), since my nose is buried in the pages and Kate Morton has pulled me into the story. I'd better get myself pulled out of this site or I just might lose my job. I'm having a hard time learning how to maneuver through these "threads", but I'll be back when I've finished.
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Teapharm03
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Registered: ‎12-22-2007
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Re: About the Book and Author

Grace turned into quite a wonderful character. Ms Morton made her tale very believable. I am surprised that this is the author first novel. She writes like a pro....
Teapharmo3
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YAChick
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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Re: About the Book and Author

I was really in suspense until the ending was finally revealed. And it wasn't what I expected. I'm so glad that love was able to find Grace eventually.
Reader
cassipie
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author

I loved this book, It was especially interesting to me because my mother worked as a maid when she was a young woman and the time frame was similar. I remember stories she told me of the family.
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