Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

"Edie is an only child of respectable if dull parents who, when she was growing up, did little to nurture her natural love of words or mystery.

But now, a letter that should have been delivered fifty years earlier arrives for her mother and sends Edie on a journey into the past. It takes her to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house in Kent, where the Blythe spinsters live and where, she discovers, her mother was billeted as a thirteen-year-old child during World War II. The elder Blthye 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. The truth of what happened in "the distant hours" of the past have been waiting a long time for someone to find it. Morton pays homage to the classics of gothic fiction, spinning an intricate web of mystery and suspense that will stay with the reader long after the last page."

(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

"Hush...Can you hear him?
The trees can. They are the first to know that he is coming..."

from The True History of the Mud Man by Raymond Blythe

Eerie...haunting....suspenseful....sorrowful.....layer upon layer of mystery... Kate Morton's The Distant Hours just sucked me into the mournful tale of the three spinster Blythe sisters, isolated with their dark secrets and tormented pasts in the ancient castle of Milderhurst. They are the daughters of the famous author, Raymond Blythe, who wrote the frightening but immensely popular children's novel The True History of the Mud Man. Their past is riddled with unspeakable tragedy and long-buried secrets that would never be known to the world, until one day, in 1992, Edith Burchill's mother receives a long-forgotten letter from one of the castle's inhabitants. This twist of fate prompts Edie to visit Milderhurst, as her mother was once protected there as a child during the bombing of London during WWII. The reader is then taken on a roller-coaster of a ride through time, criss crossing the past and the present as the castle stones begin to whisper their secrets and slowly, ever so slowly, reveal the stories of the distant hours...lovers, affairs, secrets, death, madness, broken promises, nightmares, accidents...

Trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together is an exercise in futility, as the secrets are deep and multi-layered.

Read it. Get lost in it. Be prepared for the storm. And watch out...for the Mud Man.....he is coming.

Kate Morton is the author of The House at Riverton and The Forgotton Garden.

5/5 stars Highly recommended if you enjoy gothic goodness!

Title: The Distant Hours
Author: Kate Morton
562 pages
genre: gothic mystery


Christy B said...

I'm happy to see that so many people loved this. It's one of my top favorites from this year!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Great review! The Distant Hours was one of my favourite reads for 2010, too. I can't wait for Morton's next book.

Joanne said...

Hi, Christy and Avid Reader - Kate Morton has a new fan with me! I can't wait to read her other two books. Glad you enjoyed the Distant Hours as well.

Svea Love said...

Awesome review! Your review has made me want to buy & read it right now! Oooh, I am excited about this :)

Joanne said...

Hello, Svea -- It's perfect reading for a cold and rainy day! Hope you enjoy it!

Teddyree said...

Just popped in to check out your Kate Morton reviews, you know I loved The Forgotten Garden & The Secret Keeper so I think I might try this one next since you've highly recommended it!

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