The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

#2 of 200

Original Language: English
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Country: AUS
Publication Date: 2010-11-01
ISBN: 9781742371832
Page Count: 360

Another unforgettable tale weaving history and mystery from the bestselling author of The House At Riverton and The Forgotten Garden . Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Millderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.
Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond. In the grand and glorious Millderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie’s mother. She discovers the joys of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers. Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle, she, too, is drawn to Millderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancĂ© in 1941 plunged her into madness.Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Millderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it...

Kate Morton’s Distant Hours had the same effect on me that her earlier novel The Forgotten Garden did. The language was beautiful and compelling, the characters were mysterious and charismatic and the plot was involving.

Yet, I cannot say that I liked the book. I enjoyed reading it, and I found it difficult to put down but it was missing something vital. The romance was sweet and earnest, the jumps from 1912 to 1940 to 1992 kept my interest but still there was a missing link.
The plot was lacking a climax. The last chapters reveal the fate of Juniper Blythes’ lover, the origins of the dreaded Mud Man and wrap up Edith’s story but it is all done so neatly, without a true resolution.

The Distant Hours is the story of three sisters living in Mildehurst Castle where secrets lurk in abundance. A letter received decades after is was sent has Edie Burchill attempting to unravel her Mother’s past with these three eccentric women.

Distant Hours is an enchanting read, and one that can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys a sweetly written mystery.

Raiding Bookshelves Rating
Judging by the cover: Morton's covers always seem a little bit bland to me. The gates are a general cliche for the intimidating house and mysteries beyond. The colours are good, a soft sepia effect, that plays on the old passages from the narrative.

Originally posted: Jan 5th 2011 (Raidingbookshelves)

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