The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours

A Novel

Book - 2010
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Another unforgettable tale weaving together history and mystery from the bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden.

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Middlhurst Castle, a great but moldering old place, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted fifty years before as a thirteen-year-old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn't been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Millderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in "the distant hours" of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring characters beset by circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.

Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2010.
Edition: 1st Atria Books hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781439152782
Characteristics: 562 p. ; 24 cm.


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Apr 04, 2018

I could not put this book down. So far one of her best ever. Read it!

AL_JILLK Nov 27, 2017

My favorite Kate Morton book thus far. Once again interesting female characters from the present and the past merge to tell the tale of a gothic mystery set in a crumbling English castle.

Oct 26, 2017

Loved the book. Great read.

Mar 12, 2017

Compelling! !

Oct 17, 2016

This is a great novel and mystery, focusing on mother- daughter and sister- sister relationships. I really enjoyed it, didn't want to stop reading it! I think the part that I liked the best was that the narrator becomes much closer with her mother as she learns the secrets of Milderhurst Castle. The Blythe family seemed a bit unreal to me, although they did make for an interesting plot. I was confused at the very end when Percy's side of the story is told... her perspective is that she has protected her sisters for their whole lives- that she has torn up job offers and letters to prevent her twin from leaving the castle because her twin couldn't handle the outside world, and that her younger sister also needs protecting from the world. This could be true, but since it is the first time this perspective (about Saffy) has been introduced, it leads me to wonder if this is just Percy's way of justifying her life. The backstory of the Mud Man was interesting, and terrifying. I was a bit annoyed at the description of Juniper's decent into madness "the lights went out". There has to be a more precise description of her mental illness than that- people don't just exactly blow their circuits. I know this is a novel, but I feel like the sisters should have tried to get some outside help. My final criticism is that this is the 3rd Kate Morton novel I have read, and I wish that the perpetrator in all her novels were acting under the influence of a mental illness. At least this time it wasn't "shell shock" like in the other two novels I've read. I enjoyed this a lot, but I feel like her novels are a bit formulaic and it will be a little while before I read another.

May 24, 2016

very good book

Mar 09, 2016

This is my 4th Kate Morton novel, and I feel it behooves me to make a comment. I first picked up one of her novels as a result of a comment noted in the recently reviewed section. I have been reading voraciously for the last 50+ years and I'm fussy about what I spend my time on. Her books are exciting, splendidly written, and fraught with historical drama, as well as present day mysteries. They tend to be a little slow at first, then pick up such a momentum that I am so enthralled I practically forget to go to the restroom!!

Feb 11, 2016

I love the way Kate Morton weaves together a mystery, tying in story lines of characters from different generations. However, I was disappointed in the rushed ending, as I was with one of her other books (The Forgotten Garden). I would have loved to read more about how much Edith shared her findings with her parents. The author had begun a storyline with Edith and her father that didn't come to a believable conclusion.

Jan 04, 2016

I enjoyed "The Distant Hours" and am impressed with the story that Kate Morton weaves in the book. Although the book didn't have the most compelling characters, I had a hard time stepping away from the book and looked forward to getting back to it each time I set it down. I just wish her editor would have helped her cut the page count down by 100-150 pages. Morton is a master of painting a picture with (literally) a thousand words. And although that's a beautiful reading experience, there were times I felt like I was dredging along. The last 100 pages really picked up the pace as the mystery unwound and all became clear. I had a sense of how things would play out, at the end there was so much more going on that really fleshed out the story. It was very clever and made the long journey to get there worth it. Looking forward to more of Morton's books!

Aug 09, 2015

I have read 3 Kate Morton books and was enchanted by them all. What a great author! She leaves you wanting more when you close the book, even though they are big books. She orchestrates the past and present so well and ties up the twists and turns and surprises neatly at the end.

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Feb 03, 2011

Heroine's mother was evacuated from London to countryside in WWII. Daughter didnt find out about this until a lost letter arrives in 90's and mother is very upset about it. Daughter tours castle where mother stayed for short time. All 3 sisters still living, twins are oldest and younger daughter may have dementia or mental instability. Their father was author of a loved children's book, probably a YA book, as it was rather a horror story. Mud Man was the scary character, which figures into the plot.


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