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KxBurns
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PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

I suppose it makes perfect sense that, in the end, a servant reveals Hannah's secret to Deborah -- a fitting illustration of changing times, an end to the old ways, and the collision of upstairs and downstairs.

On page 413, Deborah says that Hannah is a realist, not a dreamer like her father. Do you agree? Also noteworthy is Deborah's remark that the Luxton family knows better than to keep secrets. What damage have secrets done to the Hartford family so far? Are secrets to blame for Frederick's death?

Emmeline professes her love for Robbie in this chapter and I was left wondering if this, combined with Deborah's ultimatum, will be enough to make Hannah forsake Robbie. Who has more to lose if the relationship ends, Robbie or Hannah?

Finally, Grace must stifle her own personal heartbreak to continue carrying out her duties to the Hartfords. Do you think her despair at the news of Alfred's marriage to Lucy Starling indicates that she regrets the choice she made?

Karen
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maryfrancesa
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

Not sure I agree that Hannah is a realist. I think she is more so a dreamer than herr father, wanting more at of life than whar was offered. We really don't see too many secrets in Hannah's family yet except Grace and her paternity. I think that Teddy's family has secrets, I am sure that Deborah has many that her family does not know about.
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dhaupt
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

I don't agree that Hannah is a realist and I don't think Deborah meant it either I think she was being sarcastic. But if I were asked to label Hannah I would probably say Idealist.
The damage brought on by secrets to the Hartford's are many. The untimely death's of Jonathan's second son, Grace's parentage, Emmeline's shaded past and Hannah's affair with Robbie and I'm sure I've missed twenty or so along the way.
I don't think secrets can be blamed for Frederick's death, I think it was because of his failures that drove him to his decline.
I think the loss is pretty equal between Hannah and Robbie.
I think in her heart of hearts Grace is devastated by the news of Alfred and Lucy's wedding, but after a minute she pulls herself up by the bootstrings and becomes the maid again, sometimes I just want to kick her.
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paula_02912
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

Karen wrote: "On page 413, Deborah says that Hannah is a realist, not a dreamer like her father. Do you agree? Also noteworthy is Deborah's remark that the Luxton family knows better than to keep secrets. What damage have secrets done to the Hartford family so far? Are secrets to blame for Frederick's death?

Emmeline professes her love for Robbie in this chapter and I was left wondering if this, combined with Deborah's ultimatum, will be enough to make Hannah forsake Robbie. Who has more to lose if the relationship ends, Robbie or Hannah?"

Karen, I agree to an extent...Hannah is a realist in the sense that she is aware of the limitations put on her gender to obtain the things that she wants, independence and freedom to be and choose the life she wants to lead. However, she is a dreamer in the sense that she feels she can have Robbie without repercussions.

Secrets have done a tremendous amount of damage to the Hartford family, possibly starting with Frederick and Grace's Mother. This family's way of life seemed to be surrounded by secrets. Frederick trying to keep secret the fact that he is losing his inheritance, lead to the introduction of the Luxton's to the family, which lead to Hannah marrying Teddy and ultimately lead to the death of Robbie. If Robbie and Hannah's relationship ended, I think that Hannah has more to lose. I believe she would have more to lose because a)she loved him, b) she would lose the freedom she gained from being with him, and c) she would, in essence, lose herself...her relationship with Robbie enabled her to "live" as it were because she "died" once she married Teddy. The independence she thought she would gain was stifled, not only by him, but also by his sister Deborah, a woman who epitomized everything Hannah wanted...the freedom to be whoever and whatever she wanted without adhering to societal constructs for women...Deborah reaped the rewards of the Suffragist movement, which young Hannah wanted for herself.

"Finally, Grace must stifle her own personal heartbreak to continue carrying out her duties to the Hartfords. Do you think her despair at the news of Alfred's marriage to Lucy Starling indicates that she regrets the choice she made?"

I do think that her despair over Lucy and Albert's marriage indicated regret for her choices, but she felt she had to make them because her life was tied in with Hannah's...she felt that without her, there was no living left...Grace desperately wanted someone to love her, children and a home, but once she discovered that Alfred married Lucy, she saw it all vanish. She really had to shore herself up, so that she could go on serving Hannah because she needed her...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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paula_02912
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

dhaupt wrote: "I don't think secrets can be blamed for Frederick's death, I think it was because of his failures that drove him to his decline."

I agree with pieces of the point you made above. I think that Frederick's failures played a role in his decline, but ultimately it is the secrets that caused him to take his own life...his secret love for Grace's mother, ultimately led to the birth of Grace...Hannah's decision to marry also plagued him because he didn't want to lose her...and Grace's Mother's death was, I believe, the final straw...everything he loved was gone...I think his whole life was driven by his inability to be with the woman he loved and it is that secret that kept him away from the family, further alienating him from everyone...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End Hannah a realist

In some ways Hannah was more of a realist than her father. Maybe she wasn't really a geniune realist but she did think of her future. If she left Teddy, she knew she wouldn't have the shelter from poverty that she would have otherwise. Frederick didnt worry about his consequences, they came, he went the other way and then made do with what he was left with until the end, when maybe he faced his delemna and ended it. But Hannah did have survival instincts. She was a realist to that point, protecting herself so that she would always have a place.
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

I agree that it's a perfect sign of the changing times that Deborah finds out from a servant. Although, really, I don't understand what the servants have to gain from passing on gossip about people in the house.

I'm not sure how much Grace regrets her decision & how much she's just upset that Alfred seems to have moved on so quickly. When he took Lucy Starling out that first time, he admitted he did it just to make Grace jealous. That can't really be the case with marrying her, so I think Grace has to assume that he either didn't like her very much or that he was actually fond of Lucy Starling the whole time.
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Tarri
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

Hannah is a realist, now. She was a dreamer with dreams of adventure until reality crashed in on her the day she got home from her honeymoon and Deborah greeted her at the front door.

I think that Grace was very hurt when she found out that Alfred had married Miss Starling. Grace turned him down, but I feel she always felt he would be there when her promise to Hannah was no longer.

Frederick's death is caused by stubbornness and a sense of duty. If the love of his life was Grace's mother, then he had several years after both of his parents were gone and he was Lord of Riverton, to go to her. His path in life was because of his bad choices (business, duty, family, etc.).
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End



Tarri wrote:
Hannah is a realist, now. She was a dreamer with dreams of adventure until reality crashed in on her the day she got home from her honeymoon and Deborah greeted her at the front door.

I think that Grace was very hurt when she found out that Alfred had married Miss Starling. Grace turned him down, but I feel she always felt he would be there when her promise to Hannah was no longer.

Frederick's death is caused by stubbornness and a sense of duty. If the love of his life was Grace's mother, then he had several years after both of his parents were gone and he was Lord of Riverton, to go to her. His path in life was because of his bad choices (business, duty, family, etc.).





Who knows? Maybe he did visit? Grace remembers a time she went home and her Mom seemed in better spirits and had the house looking as if she expected company. Maybe it was for Grace but for him also. And she was determined that Frederick wasnt going to marry again.
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tawnyaz
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

I think secrets are to blame for Frederick's death. He seemed so unhappy with the way his life turned out. He was a victim of the choices he made.

Grace seemed devestated by Alfred's marriage to Lucy. I think Alfred was her true love that she will alway carry no matter where her life takes her.
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KxBurns
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End



crazyasitsounds wrote:
I agree that it's a perfect sign of the changing times that Deborah finds out from a servant. Although, really, I don't understand what the servants have to gain from passing on gossip about people in the house.




In the case of Caroline -- the maid who uncovers the affair -- she has the approval of her mistress Deborah to gain! As pointed out, a gossipy maid would in most circumstances be a liability but in ths case was exactly what Deborah was looking for. Changing times, indeed! Discretion is no longer a prized asset in a servant. Rather, meddling in the lives of the family members is not just tolerated but sanctioned.
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KxBurns
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End



Tarri wrote:
Hannah is a realist, now. She was a dreamer with dreams of adventure until reality crashed in on her the day she got home from her honeymoon and Deborah greeted her at the front door.

I think that Grace was very hurt when she found out that Alfred had married Miss Starling. Grace turned him down, but I feel she always felt he would be there when her promise to Hannah was no longer.

Frederick's death is caused by stubbornness and a sense of duty. If the love of his life was Grace's mother, then he had several years after both of his parents were gone and he was Lord of Riverton, to go to her. His path in life was because of his bad choices (business, duty, family, etc.).



Is it the events of her life that force Hannah to change from an idealist to a realist, or her inability to act on her convictions?
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bookhunter
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End



KxBurns wrote:
...On page 413, Deborah says that Hannah is a realist, not a dreamer like her father. Do you agree?

Karen




I think Deborah is saying "You had BETTER BE a realist, or you will turn out like your father."

Ann, bookhunte
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juliejon
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End



maryfrancesa wrote:
Not sure I agree that Hannah is a realist. I think she is more so a dreamer than herr father, wanting more at of life than whar was offered. We really don't see too many secrets in Hannah's family yet except Grace and her paternity. I think that Teddy's family has secrets, I am sure that Deborah has many that her family does not know about.


I am almost at the end of the book. Secrets, shame, social mores, industrial revolution, war, affairs of the heart, social revolution and the House at Riverton. What an amazing time and Grace as the narrator, the curtains are drawn back. Remember that we are seeing this from the eyes and through the lense of a 98 year old woman remembering...flawed perhaps? colored by guilt, by regret or by what should have been?

I think Hannah was as much of a realist as she could be given how she was allowed to see the "reality", She begged to be given permission to be engaged to "know". and was "protected" by the cage of the societial norms of the time. Although she attempted to follow all the rules, it did not serve her and with her attempt to break free, she created another of the destructive secrets.

The House at Riverton appears to be a story of war..both military and societal...with casualities, betrayals, propoganda on all levels. Tragic figures, flawed and human ultimately destroyed by secrets?
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Peppermill
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

"The House at Riverton appears to be a story of war..both military and societal...with casualities, betrayals, propoganda on all levels. Tragic figures, flawed and human ultimately destroyed by secrets?

Julie -- great comment. I wonder to what extent Kate Morton has written consciously and deliberately about secrets of various kinds at virtually all levels of society: individual, family, work group, nation, global. Is she asking us to consider what secrets do to us and our relationships -- from infanticide (abortion/stem cell research?) to sexuality (gender orientations and proclivities) to familial ties (paternity; sisterhood; blood loyalties; inheritance of wealth, genes, culture) to working power relationships (privacy of off-job time, performance evaluation, pieces of time while working, ...) to nations (alliances -- public and secret to be upheld or reneged, truth or the deception of propaganda, ...). If she has been doing this consciously, is she aiming for a spot alongside Ian Mcewan at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin? Is her writing good enough to give her such a possibility? (Who has the archives of Jeffrey Eugenides? -- yes, that is pretty much an off-topic question, but not entirely.)

juliejon wrote {ed.}:

maryfrancesa wrote {ed.}:
Not sure I agree that Hannah is a realist. I think she is more so a dreamer than her father, wanting more at of life than what was offered. We really don't see too many secrets in Hannah's family yet except Grace and her paternity. I think that Teddy's family has secrets, I am sure that Deborah has many that her family does not know about.


I am almost at the end of the book. Secrets, shame, social mores, industrial revolution, war, affairs of the heart, social revolution and the House at Riverton. What an amazing time and Grace as the narrator, the curtains are drawn back. Remember that we are seeing this from the eyes and through the lenses of a 98 year old woman remembering...flawed perhaps? colored by guilt, by regret or by what should have been?

I think Hannah was as much of a realist as she could be given how she was allowed to see the "reality", She begged to be given permission to be engaged to "know". and was "protected" by the cage of the societal norms of the time. Although she attempted to follow all the rules, it did not serve her and with her attempt to break free, she created another of the destructive secrets.

The House at Riverton appears to be a story of war..both military and societal...with causalities, betrayals, propaganda on all levels. Tragic figures, flawed and human ultimately destroyed by secrets?
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

What a super thought-provoking post P!:smileyhappy:




Peppermill wrote:
"The House at Riverton appears to be a story of war..both military and societal...with casualities, betrayals, propoganda on all levels. Tragic figures, flawed and human ultimately destroyed by secrets?

Julie -- great comment. I wonder to what extent Kate Morton has written consciously and deliberately about secrets of various kinds at virtually all levels of society: individual, family, work group, nation, global. Is she asking us to consider what secrets do to us and our relationships -- from infanticide (abortion/stem cell research?) to sexuality (gender orientations and proclivities) to familial ties (paternity; sisterhood; blood loyalties; inheritance of wealth, genes, culture) to working power relationships (privacy of off-job time, performance evaluation, pieces of time while working, ...) to nations (alliances -- public and secret to be upheld or reneged, truth or the deception of propaganda, ...). If she has been doing this consciously, is she aiming for a spot alongside Ian Mcewan at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin? Is her writing good enough to give her such a possibility? (Who has the archives of Jeffrey Eugenides? -- yes, that is pretty much an off-topic question, but not entirely.)

juliejon wrote {ed.}:

maryfrancesa wrote {ed.}:
Not sure I agree that Hannah is a realist. I think she is more so a dreamer than her father, wanting more at of life than what was offered. We really don't see too many secrets in Hannah's family yet except Grace and her paternity. I think that Teddy's family has secrets, I am sure that Deborah has many that her family does not know about.


I am almost at the end of the book. Secrets, shame, social mores, industrial revolution, war, affairs of the heart, social revolution and the House at Riverton. What an amazing time and Grace as the narrator, the curtains are drawn back. Remember that we are seeing this from the eyes and through the lenses of a 98 year old woman remembering...flawed perhaps? colored by guilt, by regret or by what should have been?

I think Hannah was as much of a realist as she could be given how she was allowed to see the "reality", She begged to be given permission to be engaged to "know". and was "protected" by the cage of the societal norms of the time. Although she attempted to follow all the rules, it did not serve her and with her attempt to break free, she created another of the destructive secrets.

The House at Riverton appears to be a story of war..both military and societal...with causalities, betrayals, propaganda on all levels. Tragic figures, flawed and human ultimately destroyed by secrets?



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paula_02912
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

Karen wrote: "Is it the events of her life that force Hannah to change from an idealist to a realist, or her inability to act on her convictions?"

Karen, I think that it is the events in Hannah's life that changed from an idealist to a realist....I believe it is these events which tied her ends hindering her ability to act on her convictions...we saw in France that she wanted to do something out of the ordinary if you will, when she went to see the "artist" in the alley...her being in that dark alley went against the conventions of her being a proper lady alone in that situation...but it is this experience combined with Deborah's presence when she gets to America that let her see that she really didn't gain any freedom through her marriage to Teddy...instead of Teddy holding her back, Deborah took over the reigns of her life, because of her ability to lead Teddy...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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dhaupt
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

paula 02912 wrote:
Karen, I think that it is the events in Hannah's life that changed from an idealist to a realist....I believe it is these events which tied her ends hindering her ability to act on her convictions...we saw in France that she wanted to do something out of the ordinary if you will, when she went to see the "artist" in the alley...her being in that dark alley went against the conventions of her being a proper lady alone in that situation...but it is this experience combined with Deborah's presence when she gets to America that let her see that she really didn't gain any freedom through her marriage to Teddy...instead of Teddy holding her back, Deborah took over the reigns of her life, because of her ability to lead Teddy...
____________________________________________________________________________

Paula,
in this chapter I have to agree with you, but let's see if you change your mind further on
Debbie
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Jrdnstrttn
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

I would have to say that Hannah is very much a dreamer like her father, but maybe not so much a doer. I'm anxious to see if this changes for her though. I still have a few chapters to go and I feel like anything could happen.
I don't know that Grace actually regrets her decision not to marry Alfred. Maybe she regrets not knowing what could have been.
I've really liked this book from the beginning, but now I just can't put it down.
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ashleym919
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Re: PART FOUR: The Beginning of the End

Karen-
Emmeline professes her love for Robbie in this chapter and I was left wondering if this, combined with Deborah's ultimatum, will be enough to make Hannah forsake Robbie. Who has more to lose if the relationship ends, Robbie or Hannah?


I do not believe Emmeline's feelings would be enough for Hannah to end her relationship with Robbie. Hannah has always believed that Emme is a romantic girl who is ignorant of the ways of the world and falls in love with just any man. I doubt Hannah would ever consider that Emmeline is truly in love with Robbie.

It seems to me that Deborah's threat would be of a motivation for her to end the relationship. However love often blinds people, and I (from the foreshadowing in the book) do not believe that moving to Riverton will end her affair.

Above all, Hannah needs the escape from a life she hates. Robbie has offered her that, and I don't think she will want to give it up. Robbie doesn't seem mentally stable enough to end the affair on his own accord either.

Is this all a recipe for disaster (well, I guess it is since we know he dies at Riverton).
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