Place: The narrative switches between London, England in the early 1990’s and the English countryside (Milderhurst Castle) during WWII.
People: Edie Burchill and her mother, Meredith, who was evacuated to the country during WWII. Meredith stayed with the Blythe sisters – twins Persephone (Percy) and Seraphina (Saffy) and their younger sister, Juniper.
Plot: Edie and her mother have never been close. After a series of seemingly unconnected events, including her mother unexpectedly bursting into tears after receiving a long-lost letter, an accidental detour to a somehow familiar destination (Milderhurst Castle), and the rediscovery of a favorite childhood book, Edie is more determined that ever to get to know her mom. In the middle of her covert efforts, Edie gets a call to write the introduction to the new anniversary edition of the book that made her love books. Very surprising, given that Edie is not a writer. Even more so given that she was specifically requested by the author’s eldest daughter, Percy Blythe.
The Distant Hours is the story of two families that met and became entangled with one another in surprising and long-lasting ways. It’s the story of the strength in the bonds of sisterhood and those between mother and daughter.
Pacing: Slow and leisurely
Perspective: Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is immersive and atmospheric, transporting her readers into every scene and setting. There is a darkness in the pages featuring Milderhurst Castle that redoubles a reader’s interest in all aspects of the book, a Gothic quality that can easily go sour in the hands of a less than stellar writing like Kate Morton.
About the Book
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.
About the Author
Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and three young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specialising in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary gothic novels. Kate harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she became sidetracked writing novels, and still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim.
Kate used to hide to read when she was small, and still believes that reading should be so pleasurable it feels almost illicit. Her favourite novels are the sort that you can disappear inside, and the thing she most likes hearing from readers is that they stayed up far too late turning pages.
Kate Morton has sold over 10 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper have all been number one bestsellers around the world, and Kate’s fifth novel, The Lake House, will be published in October 2015.