Customer Reviews for

The Distant Hours

Average Rating 4
( 532 )
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5 Star

(204)

4 Star

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(83)

2 Star

(48)

1 Star

(39)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

A wonderful page-turning story

An ancient castle, dark family secrets, obsession, and madness are at the heart of Kate Morton's newest novel, The Distant Hours.

For most of their lives, a distance has always existed between Edie Burchill and her mother. Then one day, a letter, lost for decades, my...
An ancient castle, dark family secrets, obsession, and madness are at the heart of Kate Morton's newest novel, The Distant Hours.

For most of their lives, a distance has always existed between Edie Burchill and her mother. Then one day, a letter, lost for decades, mysteriously appears. Edie cannot help but burn with curiosity at her mother's reaction and the secrets of her past.

During World War II, Edie's mother, Meredith, was one of thousands of children evacuated from war torn London into the safety of the English countryside and into Millderhurst Castle owned by the Blythe family. There, Juniper Blythe and her twin sisters, Pen and Saffy, and their father Raymond, the author of a classic children's novel, make a home for the displaced girl. Enchanted by the magnificence of the castle and its family, Meredith is enthralled by her new, but temporary circumstances, and falls in love with her surroundings.

Decades later, gripped with curiosity of her mother's past, Edie travels to Millderhurst castle and meets the elderly and eccentric Blythe spinsters. Little by little, she discovers the dark secrets that lurk behind the castle walls and the real truth about the distant hours - the not too distant past.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton is a masterful tale that unfolds slowly, one secret at a time, teasing the reader with every turn of the page. The setting itself is compelling - an ancient castle ravaged by time with plenty of secret rooms and passageways. I found all the characters enigmatic, each with their own fascinating story. There's a little of everything in this story - love, betrayal, murder, and tragedy and it all lends a powerful ambience from the start of this fabulous story to the powerful end. Kate Morton writes with detail and deep introspection, making the characters convincing and larger than life. One cannot help but like this story and admire the clever way it unfolds. I could not put this book down and it kept me awake at night as I was eager to read on to discover the next secret. It truly is a beautifully written story. If you like a cozy mystery that involves ancient castles with loads of mystery, this is a must to have on your reading list.

The Distant Hours is scheduled for release in early November. A very worthy novel that will be a bestseller! I have no doubt.

posted by Mirella on October 19, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Also Disappointed

Like a previous reviewer I think that this book could have used some better editing and lots less words on the part of the author. Having read and loved the first two books by this author, I pre-ordered and couldn't wait to get this one. There was an interesting plot an...
Like a previous reviewer I think that this book could have used some better editing and lots less words on the part of the author. Having read and loved the first two books by this author, I pre-ordered and couldn't wait to get this one. There was an interesting plot and some unexpected twists but the book could have been 150 pages shorter and been much more enjoyable.

posted by mapp on November 21, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    A great read.

    Wonderful writing weaving a great plot with interesting, intrigueing characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    disappointing

    I was so anxious to read this book after reading Forbidden Garden but was very disappointed. I felt as if the story line never took off with the ending very contrived. Think twice about this one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Did we really need to know this much....

    The book is very entertaining, and very derivative of Jane Eyre, Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, etc, etc. But oh my goodness, it takes more than 50 pages to find out whether a delayed dinner guest is coming or not! By the time you find out, you are past caring.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Listen

    My first introduction to Kate Morton's writing was The House at Riverton. A Gothic tale, told within multiple timelines, and secrets galore, The Distant Hours is no different in that respect.

    However, I should start this post by asking you a question: When you were a kid, what was the story that grabbed you? Held you speechless as you turned each page and introduced you to the world of imagination and possibility?

    I can think of a few titles that capture this feeling for me, but for Edie in The Distant Hours, there will only ever be one. It is a celebrated classic, one that is a horror story of monumental proportions, but is simultaneously literary. The Mud Man, by Richard Blythe, a tale of horror, intrigue, and disturbing events that shake a young mind to their bones - this is the story that made Edie fall in love with books.

    As an adult, she now works in the publishing industry and has a somewhat strained relationship with her parents in which not much is shared about their young lives. Disjointed this may be, Edie is aware that when her mother was a child, she was one of the many evacuees in England during World War II, and was the only one safely stationed at Milderhurst Castle. Already a Gothic and mysterious home it is even more so filled with secrets since this was the home of the very author of The Mud Man. Edie was always curious about her mother's relationship to this castle and the family, and while on a business trip, she decides to take a slight detour and visit the famous castle. While there, she meets the three daughters of Raymond Blythe, now much older while on a tour of the house, and is invited back much later to write the introduction for the release of a new edition of their father's famous story.

    Back and forth between the 1930s and the 1990s, and told from different characters' perspectives, this is simply haunting and Gothic, through and through. Where did the story of The Mud Man truly come from? Why is the oldest sister, Percy, so gruff and cold? Why is the youngest, Juniper, still waiting for her fiancé, even though it's been over fifty years? And what really was their relationship with Edie's mother?

    Once again, as with The House at Riverton, I find I'm always mesmerized with the mystery, the characters, their sadness, and their regrets. The story is creepy and detailed, and while I thought the end was a bit too nicely wrapped up for this eloquently haunting story, I was absolutely satisfied yet again with Kate Morton's work. I look forward to downloading another audiobook from her, and Caroline Lee as the narrator was extremely impressive. My first time listening to her voice, and I look forward to more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Amazing!

    Once again Kate Morton doesn't fail to deliver a briliant reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    I want More!!!!

    I just happened upon this book and I could'nt have been happier! I just loved the detail the author shares, and the characters are fantastic! This is a long book, which I love! More Please!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great story, but...

    I loved her first two books. They were very easy reads and nice escapes after a long day at work. This book had a really great plot, and I loved the characters, but I found the writing to be too wordy and the descriptions too elaborate. It felt like the author had changed her style and it wasn't for the better. It wasn't really about the book being too long or going into too many details, it was just that all of the adjectives and adverbs and attempts to set the scene didn't really work and didn't add anything to the story except bulk. I found myself skipping over many sentences at a time during the parts where it was especially pronounced. It's really too bad because I found that the plot and the setting really interesting and would have had the extra pages devoted to more of the Mud Man then the failed attempt at being a "better" writer. Perhaps now that the author is successful, she is taking less advice from her editors?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Sadly disappointed...

    When I finished Kate Morton's House at Riverton I enthusiastically recommended it to EVERYONE I knew! And so I couldn't wait to read the Distant Hours. Despite Morton's well-fleshed characters and an intriguing premise, I found the book to be tedious, convoluted and therefore much too long. I DO look forward Morton's next creation - she's still my favorite author................

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Once in a while you come across a book that imprints itself in your mind and touches you in so many ways. That's what happened when I read The Distant Hours. I adore this book and have it on my "to read again" shelf. I give it five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2014

    I borrowed this book several weeks ago, tried to read it, but ju

    I borrowed this book several weeks ago, tried to read it, but just couldn't get involved. I've out sick this week and ran out of books to read. I picked this one up, and am I ever glad I stuck with it. It took me a couple of chapters to really get the rhythm of the characters, and was unable to put the book down until I finished it. I have found another favorite author! This book is spellbinding, truly spellbinding!!

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  • Posted January 8, 2014

    a close runner-up for my most favourite kate morton book.

    a close runner-up for my most favourite kate morton book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Weird

    Odd book dont read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Nook Desciption Confuses

    The Nook description sounds lije a good book, just not THIS book.

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  • Posted April 27, 2013

    Great book

    Kate is a great writer. I've read her other 2 books and half way through this one, have trouble putting it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Another awesome book by Kate Morton

    Absolutely loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    This book was very disappointing. Boring, depressing and not w

    This book was very disappointing. Boring, depressing and not worth the money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Great story!

    I know this book was long, however I appreciate the author' s care in making sire the reader has the insight of all the characters. I was thinking something and it was something completely different!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Beautifully Plotted and Written -Can't Put It Down

    Kate Morton is my new favorite writer. These family sagas, delving into the past secrets that people have hidden for years, yield stories that keep you guessing until the very last scene. This one involves a castle, the latest generation of the impoverished, flawed family living there, Britain under siege during WWII, the evacuated children from London before the Blitz, lies, secrets, and desperate, clinging love.

    I haven't finished it yet but needed a break after six hours of reading today. Luckily, I'm retired. This book is the literary equivalent of a bag of perfect potato chips.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    svg

    excellent book -- would recommend this author for her other books as well. Would make a great book for discussion and it supplies information to lead such a discussion. Lot of indepth insight into all the characters and their relationships.

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  • Posted February 4, 2013

    if you enjoy historical fiction, you'll enjoy this book. it seem

    if you enjoy historical fiction, you'll enjoy this book. it seemed to start off a little bit slow for my taste and i wasn't sure that i would even like it, but as i started to get into it, the mystery started to slowly unfold and i was compelled to press on till the end, where the truth about the long burried family secrets is revealed, as well as some surprising twists. this is the first of kate morton's books that i have read, and she is wonderfully descriptive. the ending is very exciting as the truth is finally revealed and laid to rest, and kate does not disappoint.

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