Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Review: The Distant Hours By Kate Morton

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. 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 Milderhurst, 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 unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.

Hardcover, 562 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Atria
Primary Language: English
Original Title: The Distant HoursLiterary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2010)
Terri's Review
I did not discover this book by accident, quite the opposite.  I was anxiously awaiting it to come out in soft cover so that I could go out and purchase it.  Seriously, with the way I have been reading lately, who wants to pay hardcover prices?  I did however discover Kate Morton by accident when I read the Forgotten Garden. I have not posted a review as it has been a few months since I have read it however I am anxiously awaiting Kristine to finish it and post her review so that I can add my two cents.  My suspicions are that she will finish it today.  After reading it, I then read The House at Riverton, again will have to wait for Kris' review and promised myself I will by all future books written by this author.

After reading a few pages (100 to be exact) I was sadly disappointed.  I found it slow to get in to and way too descriptive to the point of losing my attention.  Luckily for me I always finish a book once started and after page 100 I was hooked.  As is typical with all of Morton's books, I got swept away in the mystery and could not wait to turn the next page to find out what would happen next.  The story is told in the present day (1992) and in 1941 giving life to the character in both generations.  This is what has drawn me to Morton is the fact that she tells story over multiple generations and always delivers the story from the viewpoint of each principle character in each generation.  Once the story got rolling and we started learning more about the characters, I was lost to her words and where they were taking me.  Nothing else existed for me, my husband was ignored, work was annoying for taking me away from the book and the television did not get turned on.

I am not going to get in to any details of the book.  I feel that they need to be discovered while reading and giving anything away would be too much.  I will say that I was only able to guess correctly certain parts of the mystery as it unfolded and much less than I normally do (and less than The Forgotten Garden which has to be in my top 5 novels this past year).  It is hard to describe the feeling now that I have completed the novel.  It has been about five hours since I read the last word and the book is still with me.  It is a haunting story and has left me feeling haunted still as I type these words.  That's the closest I can describe however I don't think it is accurate to how I am feeling.  I'm not sure if I like this feeling however like it or not, it is how I can gauge how lost and involved I am in a storyline.

All in all, I would recommend this book.  I am only giving it a 4 star rating due to the first 100 pages that I found difficult to get through.  It would be higher if I were to rate it from page 101 on.  I also highly recommend both of her other titles and I cannot wait for Kristine to read them all so that I can discuss them with her.  As I said previously, I will own and read all of Kate Morton's works as she has managed to get me lost in her words three consecutive times.

Terri's Rating

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