Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To The Manor Born

The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton

Genre; Fiction/Historical/Wartime
Publisher; Allen&Unwin/Australia/2010
Pages; 497
ISBN; 9781742371832

Plot; Edie Burchill and her Mother have never been very close. Her Mother has distanced herself from Edie and it isn't until recently that Edie has come to realise it is because she has been hiding a terrible secret. A secret from the time of her evacuation during the London Blitz.

As Edie starts to delve into her Mother's past she becomes acquainted with "The Sisters Blythe" of Milderhurst Castle. During the Blitz Edie's Mother had been sent to Milderhurst and was taken care of by Juniper Blythe, the youngest of three sisters and an artistic sole who now, decades later, speaks of her long lost fiance.

As Edie peels back the layers of this 60 year mystery, she comes to understand her mother and she discovers a whole line of long hidden secrets, secrets of The Distant Hours.

My Thoughts; Sorry, can't chat, must run to the bookstore to buy all of Kate Morton's books!

This book is deliciously moreish. Not only is the characterisation rich and engrossing, but the mystery, which slowly and delicately unfolds, is truly mesmerising.

Morton constantly makes you second guess. Just as you think you have a character or situation figured out, she reveals another clue which completely turns your opinion. Morton doesn't bombard you with information, favouring instead to gradually divulge each new detail as though it is a small, exciting, tissue paper wrapped gift.

Having read The Distant Hours, I do now really want to race to the bookstore to buy Morton's other titles. It is that compelling.

As I read this book, I could imagine these three sisters, wasting away in the cold, decaying castle looking back on their glory days, relying on each other for everything; companionship, love, trust. The reader is able to feel such compassion for these characters, and compassion for Edie and her Mother as they realise their relationship has also been effected by the lives of these women.

One other, very important, character in this book is the castle. As all old buildings, it carries an extensive history, both sad and happy. As you turn the pages you can almost feel the drafts of the long, dark hallways and you can hear the creaks that old buildings make. You can picture how beautiful it would have been during its glory days, just as the sisters would have been.

As stereotypical as this may be, I would recommend this book to women. A man could find entertainment in its pages, but I think only a woman can understand the characters and their emotions.

Happy Reading!


  1. Oh yay!! I actually have this book in my reading bag right now! I am so happy for the good review. I loved The House at Riverton so I was hoping this would be as good!

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