The Distant Hours

Title: The Distant Hours

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Limited

Pages: 673

Genre: Fiction

The Distant Hours is really two stories that intertwine. The first story is that of Edie, a single girl with a great job, living on her own in London. Her father is recently retired and at loose ends. Edie is not close to her mother, who is somewhat aloof and formal. One day, the mother, Meredith, receives a letter mailed to her in 1941. The letter upsets Meredith and she begins to cry, but will not tell Edie what the letter was about. Edie decides to investigate and so their story begins.

The second part of the story is of the Blythe sisters, Percy, Saffy, and Juniper, who live together in the decaying Milderhurst Castle. Their father, Raymond Blythe, wrote a famous children’s book, The True Story of the Mud Man. These sisters hold their own secrets, including the true story behind writing of the Mud Man, a mystery that scholars and fans have wondered about since it was written. Edie visits the castle to meet the Blythe sisters and answer the questions she has about her mother. But she begins to discover more than she bargained for.

I have to say I didn’t really connect to any of the characters on a personal level, as I had little in common with any of them, but the story was so engrossing that it didn’t matter. I did, however, find myself caring about Edie, Meredith, and the Blythe sisters and what happened to them, especially Edie. The characters were well developed, as if Morton had gotten to know each one personally before writing about them.

Despite the book being just a bit too long, I felt that Morton maintained a high level of suspense throughout the narrative. Each time I thought I was about to solve a piece of the puzzle, a whole new mystery popped up. I found the two storylines, that of Edie and her mother and that of the Blythe sisters, to be well executed, one never impeding the other. All of Morton’s books contain shifts in time, going from the present to the past and back, but she seems to have mastered the use of that plot device, and no confusion arose as I read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I do all Kate Morton books. It is definitely worth the time you invest in it. Don’t be intimidated by the size of this book: you will get caught up in it and breeze right through. It may even be one you lose sleep over!

For an interesting article on Kate Morton herself, read this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/arts/gothic-delight/story-e6frg8n6-1225943628385

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Published in: on November 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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