Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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.

I will start by saying that I am a BIG Kate Morton fan.  It all started with The Forgotten Garden, then The House at Riverton and finally The Secret Keeper just blew me away (I LOVED that book).  The only thing missing was The Distant Hours, then Audible had it on special, which I took as a sign that it was time to read this one.

Did I like it?  Ya I did, but I have to say that I didn't love it.  The opening chapter, that usually grabs my attention just wasn't that exciting, so her mother cries when she receives an old letter, whippee!.  Not like watching your mother stab someone to death, or a little girl abandoned on a ship from England to Australia. 

The first half I felt dragged somewhat, my mind was wandering at times and I would have to rewind (which I never usually have to do with a good audio).   There was so much detail that really didn't need to be there. The last third did pick up the pace a little, it got interesting again and the ending was an okay ending, it was one that I didn't anticipate. 

I do have to admit that I finished the book feeling very sad for the Blythe sisters.  I suppose that I could say more but I hate spoilers and don't like to leave any.

I gave this book three stars, maybe if I had read the book instead of the audio version, but it was such a huge book that I am not sure I would have made it half way through.

I am still a huge Kate Morton fan and will read whatever she writes.


  1. Thank you for this review! I am yet to read a book by Kate Morton. I have this one waiting for me on my shelf, but maybe I should begin with one of her other novels. Either way, I really need to read one soon!

  2. I enjoyed this one, but it is my least favourite of Morton's four books.

  3. Great review. Can you believe I've only read one Kate Morton book. That was 'The Secret Keeper' and I loved loved that one. I got to get around to reading the other ones soon. Sorry you didn't like this one as much as the others.


  4. I liked the book too, but it was too long and I found dragged out in the end. I was anxious to get the mystery solved.

  5. Thanks for your review. I read the Secret Keeper and enjoyed it. Have not read any other Kate Morton's books.

  6. I've seen that this is the only book of Morton that people just like, but don't love. I still haven't read it, but I'll do soon because I have it on my shelves.
    I also thought The secret keeper was a great story, and I loved the romance part of it, it is what was missing in The forgotten garden!