This was lovely and elegant and I think Kate Morton has a new fan over here.
The pacing was slow and on some level we knew at least most of how the book was going to end--we're told up-front that there was a death and even who it is--but this was a book about getting to that point, and in that it was beautifully conceived and very well-written.
I found myself feeling for the characters, who end up in awkward situations primarily of their own making and yet are sympathetic. I'm never quite sure if I would have done things differently than they did, so it is hard to fault them for problems that lead to eventual disaster.
It paints a picture of a different world, but a world that I know was real for many people, which is why I love to read historical fiction so much. Grace is trapped between two worlds and can't quite successfully navigate either of them. I like the framing device of having this be a story she was dictating to her grandson. It meant information about the ending could be given, but still hidden to some extent.
The ending worked for me; I liked how things got to the expected outcome, but in a way that was surprising and relied on a misunderstanding that came up early in the book that lead to eventual disaster.
I'll definitely be picking up more Kate Morton books. She reminds me a bit of Belva Plain, though obviously they write from entirely different places. This has a similar sort of slow, family saga feeling to it, where mistakes are made by the main character that lead to problems, where there are mysteries but they are the gentle kind that aren't really the driving force of the book. The driving force is the characters and the general mood of the story, and I enjoy that quite a bit.