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The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The Distant Hours (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Kate Morton

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2,5401772,376 (3.83)163
Title:The Distant Hours
Authors:Kate Morton
Info:Washington Square Press (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Recommended by Kirsten

Work details

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (2010)

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» See also 163 mentions

English (165)  Spanish (6)  German (4)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  All (178)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
Stunning! ( )
  Anna_Maria_Polidori | Sep 6, 2017 |
If ever there was a novel in which a house plays the role of a character, this is it. ‘The Distant Hours’ by Kate Morton is told in two strands, World War Two and the Nineties, involving the three Blythe sisters in Kent at Milderhurst Castle and a South London mother and daughter, Meredith and Edie. They all are connected by the war, the house, and the truth of what really happened when Juniper Blythe was abandoned by her lover in 1941.
This is a brick of a book [678 pages], like Morton’s other novels. A little too long for me, the story meanders at times through past and present until it works towards the final mystery. What a mystery, an ingenious storyline and an unpredictable final twist. The story starts when a letter arrives for Edie’s mother, a letter lost for decades, a letter dating from wartime when Meredith was a schoolgirl evacuated to Kent. Edie is fascinated by her mother’s history, but her mother does not talk of it. They are not close, and Edie feels unable to press for information. So she sets off to investigate on her own.
At the centre of the story is the house, and what a house it is: beautiful, crumbling, representative of a time past. When Edie visits the castle in 1992 for the first time, she thinks: ‘Have you ever wondered what the stretch of time smells like? I can’t say I had, not before I set foot inside Milderhurst Castle, but I certainly know now. Mould and ammonia, a pinch of lavender and a fair whack of dust, the mass disintegration of very old sheets of paper. And there’s something else, too, something underlying it all, something verging on rotten or stewed but not. It took me a while to work out what that smell was, but I think I know now. It’s the past.’ Living there, Edie finds the three Blythe sisters, alone after the death of their father.
Morton writes brilliantly about the war years, conjuring up life at this vast castle and in the village of the same name. Running throughout is a mysterious, ghostly, spooky thread based on Raymond Blythe’s best-selling book ‘The True History of the Mud Man’. ‘The moat has begun to breathe. Deep, deep, mired in the mud, the buried man’s heart kicks wetly.’ Is the book set at Milderhurst Castle? Is the Mud Man based on a true story? The book is yet another connection between Edie and the castle, she loved it as a child after being given a library copy when ill by her mother. And so the concentric circles tighten.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Jul 6, 2017 |
I really liked the first 500 pages of this book. It wasn't going to become my new favorite Kate Morton book, but I was enjoying it.

But then part 6 happened and took what was already a satisfying and just-spooky-enough ending and threw in another twist that was completely unnecessary and that changed the whole dynamic of the book. So now instead of feeling satisfied, I'm mostly just resentful. ( )
  AngelClaw | Jun 16, 2017 |
An homage to classic Gothic literature, Morton's text is haunting and suspenseful, interlaced with the mournful secrets of family legacies and jilted lovers. Following the arrival of a mysterious letter to her mother 50 years after its creation, London book editor Edie Burchill finds herself drawn into the long buried secrets of the moldering Milderhurst Castle and its three eccentric and reclusive residents, the elderly Sisters Blythe. A tantalizing journey that effortlessly weaves together the experiences of the sisters and Edie's mother during WWII and Edie's present-day search for answers. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
A mouldering castle in Kent, decades old secrets, mysterious disappearances, madness, and a long-ago romance: all these are elements of the tale that publisher's assistant Edie Burchill must unravel when she agrees to edit a novel called The Mud Man, her childhood favourite, being re-issued for the 75th anniversary of its publication.

There are so many strands to this story, and I have been reading for hours, coming back into my workaday world feeling dazed, wondering where the day has gone, somehow frightened by the dark of evening and the hours stretching in front of me. Kate Morton writes atmospheric fiction extremely well, and I am definitely under its spell.

It was a good book, not great, but good. Some of the secrets I guessed early on; some were a surprise right till the end. It was well written and certainly occupied huge chunks of my time. For all that, it wasn't as enjoyable a read as 'The Lake House', and I didn't get to know the characters as well as I had in that book, which was one of the reasons I enjoyed the other so much. In 'The Distant Hours' the readers get broad brush strokes of characterization instead of the detailed finer points that I would have preferred.

Still, a captivating story and one I'm glad I read. I look forward to more Kate Morton, but am going to take a break and read something humorous to relieve the heavy weight of atmosphere sitting upon my shoulders. ( )
  ahef1963 | Mar 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
Milderhurst Castle is as enchanting to the reader as it is to Edie and her mother but the cast is rarely quite as absorbing because Meredith, Juniper and Thomas are sketchily drawn.
En romantisk thriller og etterlengtet tredjebok fra forfatteren av Tilbake til Riverton og Den glemte hagen.
Et brev postet i 1941 når endelig sin mottaker i 1992, med store ringvirkninger for forlagsdirektøren Edie Burchill fra London.
I det forfalne Milderhurst Slott bor det aldrende tvillingparet Pesephone og Seraphina sammen med deres yngre halvsøster, Juniper. De tre eksentriske ugifte kvinnene er døtre av Raymond Blyte, forfatteren av The True History of the Mud Man, en barnebokklassiker som Edie elsker.
Edie, som senere blir invitert til å skrive et forord i et opptrykk av Raymonds mesterverk, besøker det sjarmerende slottet på jakt etter svar.
Hvorfor ble moren hennes så knust av innholdet i et brev sendt 51 år tidligere? Og hva hendte med soldaten Thomas Cavill, Junipers lenge savnede forlovede og Merediths tidligere lærer? Svaret vil overraske leserne.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mortonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ayers, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elisabet W. MiddelthonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kwan, LaywanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, CarolineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Möllemann, NorbertÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middelthon, Elisabet W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snoijink, BobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hush. . . Can you hear him?
The Trees can.  They are the first to know that he is coming.
Listen! The trees of the deep, dark wood, shivering and jittering their leaves like papery hulls of beaten silver; the sly wind, snaking through their tops, whispering that soon it will begin.
The trees know, for they are old and they have seen it all before.
- "The True History of the Mud Man, Chapter 1"
For Kim Wilkins,
who encouraged me to start;
Davin Patterson,
who was with me to the last full stop
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Hush ... can you hear him?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Edie Burchill, an only child of respectable if dull parents, suddenly finds her life upside down when she receives a letter that should have been delivered fifty years earlier. This letter will send her on a journey into the past and the secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst. Edie and her mother have never been close, but when the long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family. Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it...
Haiku summary
Edie discovers
Buried family secrets,
Mysteries galore.

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A long-lost letter arriving at its destination fifty years after it was sent lures Edie Burchill to crumbling Milderhurst Castle, home of the three elderly Blythe sisters, where Edie's mother was sent to stay as a teenager during World War II.

(summary from another edition)

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