My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have said this before, Kate Morton surely knows how to transport a reader, be it the changes of seasons, the eerie feel of the castle, the whole Gothic aura in the story, the magical way she creates the atmosphere, the detailed descriptions of each and everything is extraordinary. The distant Hours is not a story that can be read at a fast pace in fact before you begin make sure that there’s no major commitments on your time because the story needs its own requisite time to unravel and no amount of fast reading will get you there.Many of the descriptions might feel long and boring but the richness capturing the era is outstanding and all I wanted was to read this book with a picnic basket near a river or a stream on a good weather day.
The Distant Hours is essentially a story of the strength of woman, and the different forms of love be it the sibling love, parents and even the love of your life. Persephone, Seraphina and their half sister Juniper are the daughters of Raymond Blythe whose work The history of Mud Man is a literary classic for children. But the Milderhurst Castle is a kind of prison for the sisters and Juniper’s dementia forces the sisters to continue in the moldering castle and the years have not been kind to them.
The story begins with a letter that arrives 50 years too late and Edie begins the quest to understand the hidden pasts of her mother who is connected to the Blythe sisters and the Milderhurst castle. The mystery part of the story was masterfully done closing all the circles thrown open in the story. It’s no wonder Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors in this genre.
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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.