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aldida
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

[ Edited ]


Message Edited by aldida on 01-04-2008 01:06 PM
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

No, I don't recall it being mentioned before, and it's a really nice point. Thanks!

Kimmi373 wrote:
I think that this might have been mentioned before (forgive me for not searching back to quote accurately, but this thread is some 25 pages long now!! lol) but I felt compelled to touch of this subject again... Memories

Memories are created through our senses. Morton does an excellent job of incorporating that into this novel. Grace reminiscences after seeing Ursula's letter, Emmeline and Robbie on T.V. (oh and isn't it interesting that Emmeline was a somewhat accomplished actress?) and the Drawing room set. Grace also remembers the drawing room because of the sound of the clock and practically collapses from the memories that surround her when she smells the tea. I know it is early in the book, but since this is a story of long forgotten memories, I wonder about the senses being a catalyst for more and more events and secrets being revealed.


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First person comment

As has been noted elsewhere, this book so far is in the first person. I will be interested to watch for two things.

One, does the author maintain first person throughout, or does she switch to other narrators (as we had with the Monsters ARC) or to the omniscient narrator, as in, for example, Dickens's Bleak House?

Two, will the author successfully carry out the first person narrative by not letting her narrator know things that she couldn't reasonably know? We also had this with Monsters, where sometimes a narrator would talk about something she couldn't have known. Will Morton be able to maintain an "honest" first person narrative?

So far I haven't seen an problem here. Will be interesting to keep an eye on it as the reading progresses.
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lamorgan
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

What struck me the most about the book when I first started reading it, is that you can actually see and hear Grace speaking. I can almost imagine what her voice sounds like.
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"



aldida wrote:
It's late for me and well past my bedtime, but I just caught up with the posts (finally)...

Don't worry, there'll be another 200 to catch up on when you wake up! :smileyhappy:
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"


EbonyAngel wrote:
Did I miss the posting about how the club is run? The reason I'm asking is, I don't know whether to read 2 chapters or 1 and post.
Please bear with this first timer.



First off, welcome, and don't worry about being a first timer -- we were all confused first timers once!

You can read as much as you want to. But you must only talk about things that happened in the book in (or before) the chapters specifically mentioned in the first post in the thread (sometimes people change the post title, so you may have to check the first post). For example, this thread should ONLY be used for posts about the first two chapters, no matter how far you have read. Then there's a thread for The Nursery, in which you can discuss anything mentioned in the first three chapters, but nothing beyond that.

Even a minor mention of a future thing can spoil the enjoyment for people who are reading along with the schedule.

Personally, I only read up to the point of each thread and then post my thoughts there, so I don't have to worry about whether I am inadvertently posting a spoiler. But others read much further ahead, and as long as that works for them, it's fine.

Hope this helps!
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room" Hannah & Grace connection



Carrie_F wrote:
I honestly didn’t put much thought into the locket. But after reading all of the discussion posts on it, I went back and re-read that section.


One of the aspects of both the First Look Book Clubs has been how much I have to go back and re-read, which I seldom do usually. But with these discussions, there are so many good points made about details that I passed over on the first reading that I have to re-read several times to appreciate all the great points.

Also, these two books happen to be (have been) ones where the author is deliberately spinning out details in a very deliberate and somewhat hidden way, unlike more "straightforward" books.
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"


Everyman wrote:


aldida wrote:
It's late for me and well past my bedtime, but I just caught up with the posts (finally)...

Don't worry, there'll be another 200 to catch up on when you wake up! :smileyhappy:




Thanks for the heads up! You were so right. I can already tell I'm going to be a "lagger."

Aleda
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earthshine
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"



aldida wrote:

Everyman wrote:


aldida wrote:
It's late for me and well past my bedtime, but I just caught up with the posts (finally)...

Don't worry, there'll be another 200 to catch up on when you wake up! :smileyhappy:




Thanks for the heads up! You were so right. I can already tell I'm going to be a "lagger."

Aleda




My problem is that I have read further than the first 2 chapters. Many of my thoughts and opinions have already been discussed and I feel that to add anything to them falls into the categories of spoilers. So I think I will go to the next thread and try again!
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"



aldida wrote:

Everyman wrote:

aldida wrote:
It's late for me and well past my bedtime, but I just caught up with the posts (finally)...

Don't worry, there'll be another 200 to catch up on when you wake up! :smileyhappy:
>
Thanks for the heads up! You were so right. I can already tell I'm going to be a "lagger."
Aleda

One of the nice things about these book clubs is that all the threads stay open for a long time (some for months!), so you have plenty of time to read and post.
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

Unlike many out there I wasn't immediately taken with this book. I thought the similarities between Titanic, Rebecca, and other works seemed a little trite. I'm cautious when it comes to getting invested in pop fiction as I think many popular authors manipulate the reader. I don't mind being invested in a book and really getting into the story but I think there are subtle ways to do it that make it a lot more meaningful.

The initial chapters had a lot of unknowns. The reader is trying to find out who the narrator is, what time it is, and get a general sense of what's going on and Morton does a good job of setting the scene. I was able to get a fix on what was happening pretty quickly from descriptions and the fact that we have a single narrator and not many voices. I think it's an interesting device to put a movie set in the book as the catalyst for Grace's memories. It probably is a little overwhelming for her to have to see the room as it was before yet missing the people who should be there.

Grace and Ruth have a believable relationship. There have been many posts on the parent child relationship and how it gets swapped when a parent gets much older. I can see this in Ruth's impatience with her mom. Perhaps she sees Grace as a three year old chattering on about this and that without ascribing much truth or importance to what her mother is trying to say and do. I don't feel like we have enough information yet on Ruth and her situation to really decide if she is good, misguided, ridiculous, or any other adjective. Her mother seems to feel that she is a bit silly in her formality and not really a lot of fun from different descriptions in the first part.

I do want to say that as I've continued reading I have been enjoying the book much more than I did in the first couple of chapters. I keep finding myself excited to see what happens next.

Noelle
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Who's Who

[ Edited ]
I'm sure we'll eventually sort out who's who, but we know so far that Ruth is Grace's daughter, born apparently when Grace was about 44, and Marcus is Grace's grandson. But is Ruth Marcus's mother, or did Grace have one or more other children? I see no suggestion that Marcus is Ruth's child, but no suggestion to the contrary, either.

Questions to keep in mind as the reading progresses.

Edit: It appears that Marcus may well be Ruth's child, since Ruth says that Grace "raised a child." Only one, which would be Ruth's. So if she has a grandson, mustn't it be Ruth's?

Message Edited by Everyman on 01-04-2008 02:38 PM
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Mysteries!

I just noticed where, page 8, Grace "repressed quickly the tired old parental guilt that always surfaces when I look upon [Ruth's] anxious face." Wonder what caused that guilt? Must have been something quite a bit later than the 1924 events mentioned at the start of the book, since Ruth was a second war child.

Multiple mysteries! Already we wonder:

What happened in 1924 to Robbie and the Hartford sisters? What does Grace know that she has kept secret so long?

Why was Hannah in her wedding dress crouched in the mud by the lake?

Why would Grace expect Ruth to flinch when the war poet Robbie's face came on the screen during a documentary?

What is the story of the locket, and why was it daring of Grace to wear it?

Who is Teddy, and what is it that she told him? [pg 11] What authority had he had, and why had he lost it?

When she "almost" stayed at Riverton, why didn't she? [pg 11]

What happened to "poor John" to end their short marriage? [pg. 8]

What is the "tired old parental guilt" that Grace feels when she looks on Ruth's anxious face?

Who was Ursula's great-grandmother who was at Riverton "that night," and what was her relationship through marriage to the sisters? Was she a relative of one of the Hartford daughter's parents, or linked through Teddy (if, as I suspect, he was also a Hartford child), or how?

Was it a suicide? Or something other than that?

What IS the secret, the truth that Ursula doesn't know? [14]

What is the coincidence of hearing the Chopin Waltz in the car? When had she heard it before and why does she make an immediate connection with it?

Why had Ruth "always made it her business not to know anything about the Hartfords"? [pg 13]

These are only a few of the mysteries already hinted at in the first two chapters. What ones have I missed?
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

Someone may have mentioned this further down in the comments, but I actually thought the cover was another nod to du Maurier's Rebecca. Check it out!

Karen


I agree is similar to the cover for Rebecca. It has a red "satiny" fabric in folds, just as Riverton has a dark blue "satiny" fabric in folds. Definitely a nod to Maurier's novel.

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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"



JSchipp wrote:
Your question about how the younger people feel about elderly people really reminds me of the turning point I had about my own parents. They are in their seventies now, and they have gone from being hardworking, progressive people to those who need someone to do nearly everything for them. As their child, it's so dificult to tell my parents to take their medications and call me if they need anything. Last year, I started recording their stories about their youth and really taking time to look at their pictures when they were twenty years old, and I finally see my parents as people who were once young and bold and capable of doing anything. It's heartbreaking now, though, that they are no longer self-sufficient.

As I read, Grace is so real to me. I just finished a book before I started _The House at Riverton_, and it was just a book. I didn't feel anything as I read; instead, I just read words on a page. With this book, though, I am forced to confront issues that are uncomfortable and nearly depressing, but I keep reading because the book makes me feel alive, for right now, anyway.


I'm in my early 50s and both of my parents as well as my husband's are dead. I don't think of myself as old but it does hit me occasionally that I am the oldest generation in my immediate family. Jo
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

[ Edited ]

Kimmi373 wrote:
I think that this might have been mentioned before (forgive me for not searching back to quote accurately, but this thread is some 25 pages long now!! lol) but I felt compelled to touch of this subject again... Memories

Memories are created through our senses. Morton does an excellent job of incorporating that into this novel. Grace reminiscences after seeing Ursula's letter, Emmeline and Robbie on T.V. (oh and isn't it interesting that Emmeline was a somewhat accomplished actress?) and the Drawing room set. Grace also remembers the drawing room because of the sound of the clock and practically collapses from the memories that surround her when she smells the tea. I know it is early in the book, but since this is a story of long forgotten memories, I wonder about the senses being a catalyst for more and more events and secrets being revealed.



Yes, these posts have become quite long. Now I am overwhelmed! I missed all of yesterday and half of today! Since this is my 1st time in a book club.... an on-line one at that, I am not sure how I will be able manage to keep up.... not with the reading, with the discussions.

I agree with you, memories are created through our senses. I, of course, noticed that Grace responded to the Chopin Waltz in C sharp minor when it came on the radio. I imagine it transported her back to a time or place as music often does that for me. I just spent the last several months studying the same Chopin Waltz.... so I know that piece quite well... LOL. ~Ruth

Message Edited by Celebri_la_vita on 01-04-2008 05:06 PM
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

Everyone has brought up some very interesting thoughts! I kept wondering what was the significance of Hannah and Grace having mud on them during the dream? Also, is there significance in Hannah being in her Wedding Dress?

There were so many questions left unanswered. I am really intrigued! Why was Robbie, the poet, in a documentary and who is he? What happened to Emmaline? Grace mentions her in silent films and some of them being promiscuous.

I absolutely love the way the author pulls us into the story. There are so many storyline possibilities that I just can't stop wondering what happens next.
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

I am really enjoying the novel so far. I found the first two chapters really interesting, because of all the interactions between Grace and her daughter vs. the caregiver at the nursing home. She seems to get along with the nursing home girl (her names escapes right now) than with her daughter, with who she has a very cold and distant relationship. Also interesting, and I don't know if anyone mentioned it, was that Grace mentions, when she is on the way to go see Ursula, that it was interesting that that day she listened to Chopin's waltz. Did it have any special significance??
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." ~Walden, Henry David Thoreau.
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Re: PART ONE: "Ghosts Stir" and "The Drawing Room"

I surmise that there are three reasons to keep a secret.
1) to protect someone
2) to protect yourself
3) being blackmailed

Interesting the number...three, isn't it :smileyhappy:
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aldida
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Re: Mysteries!

Great list. So many mysteries, so many questions. I want to know why after that night, the two sisters never spoke to each other again.(pg 14) And why on page 13, Grace makes a point about saying Hannah's name: "'Hannah.' There. I'd done it. I'd spoken her name aloud."



Everyman wrote:
I just noticed where, page 8, Grace "repressed quickly the tired old parental guilt that always surfaces when I look upon [Ruth's] anxious face." Wonder what caused that guilt? Must have been something quite a bit later than the 1924 events mentioned at the start of the book, since Ruth was a second war child.

Multiple mysteries! Already we wonder:

What happened in 1924 to Robbie and the Hartford sisters? What does Grace know that she has kept secret so long?

Why was Hannah in her wedding dress crouched in the mud by the lake?

Why would Grace expect Ruth to flinch when the war poet Robbie's face came on the screen during a documentary?

What is the story of the locket, and why was it daring of Grace to wear it?

Who is Teddy, and what is it that she told him? [pg 11] What authority had he had, and why had he lost it?

When she "almost" stayed at Riverton, why didn't she? [pg 11]

What happened to "poor John" to end their short marriage? [pg. 8]

What is the "tired old parental guilt" that Grace feels when she looks on Ruth's anxious face?

Who was Ursula's great-grandmother who was at Riverton "that night," and what was her relationship through marriage to the sisters? Was she a relative of one of the Hartford daughter's parents, or linked through Teddy (if, as I suspect, he was also a Hartford child), or how?

Was it a suicide? Or something other than that?

What IS the secret, the truth that Ursula doesn't know? [14]

What is the coincidence of hearing the Chopin Waltz in the car? When had she heard it before and why does she make an immediate connection with it?

Why had Ruth "always made it her business not to know anything about the Hartfords"? [pg 13]

These are only a few of the mysteries already hinted at in the first two chapters. What ones have I missed?

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