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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review - The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The story begins with a letter. A letter that should have reached its destination in 1941 and which may have altered several lives but which eventually reached its destination inadvertently only in 1992.

Edie and her mother have a strained relationship. It seems always that Meredith her mother holds off without wanting to get close to her only child. Edie is hurt and nonplussed as well because there does not seem to be a valid reason for this behaviour. The discovery of this letter shakes Meredith up a great deal which has got Edie curious as to what the reason could be.

Subsequently Edie finds Mildehurst Castle and through a series of events which seem almost predestined, she comes into contact with its inhabitants and tries to unravel the secrets so well hidden within this castle and its three spinster sisters.

What she discovers - about her mother, about the sisters, about the stormy night long ago and its disastrous consequences which led to Juniper's slow mental disintegration into madness disrupts all their lives.

This book has many different characteristics which are intriguing - its layered, it goes back and forth between two different time frames, the contrasts between the modern Edie and the stiff upper lip attitude of the Blythes and traditions must be upheld at any cost, the castle itself mouldering and at the same time almost alive (walls speaking??? and whispering) combine to make it a classic Gothic novel. What we would now say is batty and eccentric was the sisters policy of protection of the family at all costs against outsiders. They were the big house and standards had to be maintained.  At one stage of the book, my mind was made up that there had been abuse of the girls as well by their father but this was not an abuse that we are familiar with.  This was a burden of duty and closing ranks so that personal emotional well being and love were not taken into account. Sad.

I think this is Kate Morton's best book (so far).


  1. Lovely review, looking forward to reading this one myself, Kate Morton's writing is beautiful!

  2. I'm glad you liked this so much. I need ti find time for my copy. I did like her earlier (2) books.

  3. Glad you enjoyed this one, Mystica. I have been impressed with all of Kate Morton's books and can't wait for more from her.

  4. This was a wonderful book. I adored it.

    PS I should not be eating all those cookies.

  5. I added the book to my list as soon as I read your review Mystica!
    Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day!

  6. Great review! Thanks for introducing this title to me. By the way - I've sent you a few e-mails in regard to your winning the Quirky Girls Read giveaway without a response. Please send me a message so I can get the details I need from you to send you your book :0)

  7. I'm here from the book review party! I haven't read anything by this author yet, but this one has caught my eye. Thanks for the review!

  8. Glad you enjoyed it! I have The Shifting Fog on my shelf and will get to it, eventually!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  9. I enjoyed The Forgotten Garden. So this should be good too. Thanks for sharing your review.

  10. I have this on my shelf, waiting to be read.

  11. Hi Mystica,

    I keep promising myself to read more by Kate Morton.

    I read 'The House At Riverton'and absolutely loved it.

    The back and forth storytelling between timelines I found intriguing, so it is good to know that she has kept to that style for this book.

    Thanks for reminding me about this one and for the nice review.