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The Distant Hours (2010)

by Kate Morton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7182143,394 (3.82)1 / 204
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.
  1. 201
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (library_gal, Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: Pretty much the same plot.
  2. 70
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 10
    The Legacy by Katherine Webb (tina1969)
  4. 10
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (starfishian)
  5. 10
    The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams (starfishian)
  6. 10
    The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In both The Distant Hours and The Seduction of Water a children's story drives daughters to unravel the secrets of their mothers' pasts. Atmospheric settings, storylines past and present, mysteries, and Gothic trappings propel these polished, character-centered tales.… (more)
  7. 00
    Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (caittilynn)
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» See also 204 mentions

English (197)  Spanish (8)  German (4)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (213)
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
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 | May 5, 2024 |
This is another dual timeline historical mystery with a gothic feel to it, by award-winning Australian author Kate Morton, set in England in the 1940s and 1990s.

Edith Burchill begins to wonder about the time her mother spent at Milderhurst Castle in Kent, during her evacuation in the war, which she never speaks about. Edie finds herself drawn in by the three mysterious elderly Blythe sisters still living at the castle-Percy (Persephone), Saffy (Seraphina) and Juniper-and their famous father Raymond, who wrote "The True History of the Mud Man," which has always intrigued her. The three have formed a reclusive triangle caring for Juniper, who has never been the same since that pivotal night in 1941 when her fiancé did not arrive at the castle to announce their engagement.

The story does feel slower in pace and possibly not quite as good as Morton’s other works, but I still enjoyed the ride, and the ethereal, mysterious atmosphere, with castles, secrets, jilted lovers and writers. The thing lacking a little was the contemporary storyline in which Edie was a fairly one-dimensional character who mainly existed to uncover others secrets but was probably too boring to have any of her own. Still a four star read for me, and I’m keen to finish reading any Kate Morton stories I have missed. ( )
  mimbza | Apr 9, 2024 |
Family Drama
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
Beautifully written story sucked me right in. Gothic mystery and tragedy. Loved it. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Normally, I love Kate Morton's books, but this one disappointed. Not sure if it was the book, or me. ( )
  cyderry | Dec 28, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
"There are a few genuine surprises amid the gothic denouement, but the narrative proceeds at such an excruciatingly slow pace that it is a struggle to stay awake long enough to reach it."
 
"By the time Edie unravels the sad truth within the castle, it is too late for some - no surprise in a Gothic tale - but not too late for others. The revelations involving these characters' "distant hours" make this a rich treat for fans of historical fiction."
 
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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Epigraph
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"
Dedication
For Kim Wilkins,
who encouraged me to start;
and
Davin Patterson,
who was with me to the last full stop
First words
Hush ... can you hear him?
Quotations
She was the breeze on a summer's day, the first drops of rain when the earth was parched, light from the evening star.
My fingers positively itched to drift at length along their spines, to arrive at one whose lure I could not pass, to pluck it down, to inch it open, then to close my eyes and inhale the soul-sparking scent of old and literate dust.
It was the sibling thing, I suppose. I was fascinated by the intricate tangle of love and duty and resentment that tied them together. The glances they exchanged; the complicated balance of power established over decades; the games I would never play with rules I would never fully understand. And perhaps that was key: they were such a natural group that they made me feel remarkably singular by comparison. To watch them together was to know strongly, painfully, all that I'd been missing.
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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.

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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.
(passion4reading)

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