Customer Reviews for

The Distant Hours

Average Rating 4
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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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Page 1 of 27
  • Posted October 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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, 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.

    27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 21, 2010

    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 and some unexpected twists but the book could have been 150 pages shorter and been much more enjoyable.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 29, 2010

    overly long, overly descriptive

    Somewhere there is a great story lurking in the 560 pages of this book Ms Norton has the flair for a first rate pseudo-gothic novel, however it is buried very deeply under pages and pages of description which adds nothing to the overall atmosphere except to make the book rather dreary. Would not recommend this to most of my reader friends.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    Great Historical Novel with mystery

    The Distant Hours
    October 12, 2010
    Kate Morton
    I haven't had the occasion to read any of Kate Morton's previous books but I was blown away by this one. I received an advance copy with a plain light blue cover and wasn't sure if it was something I would enjoy. This book is wonderful! Ms. Morton has combined the history of WWI and WWII, romance over the ages, intrigue with a little murder and the mysteries between sisters and the difficulties within families to communicate. I couldn't put the book down but was then disappointed when I finished. Some people are intimidated by a long book, but if the book is well written you don't even notice the length. I will now look for other books by Kate Morton and look forward to being equally entranced.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    You will be transported!

    I was quite fascinated with this book even given its length. It's not the type of book you can just blow through. The author spends a lot of time with character development and you will do yourself a huge disservice if you don't take your time with it. I found the writing beautiful and the storyline enchanting. The physical descriptions of the castle made me feel as though I could close my eyes and reach out and touch the moldering walls. I did feel a bit of disconnect between the relevancy of Edie's mother and her relationship to the main story. I suppose it was the "open door" to bringing the reader into the castle in the first place. The next book I want to read by Kate Morton is The Forgotten Garden. She has an uncanny ability to transport her readers to a different place and time. I am eager to see if she can perform her magic in that one as well.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

    Good but just so...

    It wasn't honestly the best book by Morton but it was good nonetheless. Enjoyable and interesting but just so.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    Vibrant lifelike story

    Kate Morton has a way of telling stories....and makes them totally believable, just like the way my Grandmother told stories. This is the second of her books that I have read, and I'm looking to more! There is quality, and a substance to the book that is hard to describe. Just like bread pudding has a thickness to it, and is deliciously sweet...so are Kate Morton's books! GiGi

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2010

    Mixed feelings

    I am not sure how I rate this story. It is poetically and beautifully written as one would expect from Kate Morton. However, I agree with what others have said about it being a bit long and drawn out. I was captivated by the characters and their tragedies. I didn't become absorbed into the tale until about the last two hundred pages, then, I couldn't put it down. I anticipated more from Meredith's character in the end, since she contributed so much mystery in the beginning. I felt like I had read a similar story somewhere before minus the mud man. I can't say as I was disappointed, but I had expected better. I am still a huge fan of Kate Morten's. I loved "The Forgotten Garden". It remains my favorite book. For Kate Morten fans "The Distant Hours" is still worth investing the time to read. It is a wonderful tale of love and tragedy.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved Kate Morton's book The Forgotten Garden, I loved it so m

    I loved Kate Morton's book The Forgotten Garden, I loved it so much I thought I'd try another one of her books. This book seemed to drag on, the beginning didn't capture me, and about 70 pages in it still hasn't grabbed me. I've tried my hardest to get interested in this book but each chapter is just boring. She does give very descriptive sceneries, but that's it. The character's are bland. I would recommend The Forgotten Garden, but that's all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Captivating

    Beautifully written and takes you to another time and magical place.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Wonderful story

    Good pace and intriguing

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another Good One by Kate Morton

    This book has everything ... a castle, secrets, some kooky sisters, a murder. If you're looking for a book you can get lost in, this is it. I'm a fan of Kate's and love the way she writes and brings her characters to life. I also love the way she takes you back and forth through time effortlessly but doesn't reveal the whole story too fast, which of course leaves you on the edge of your seat and reading far into the night. You won't be disappointed with this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    great read

    slow to start, but beautifully written and really picks up the pace at the end, great characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    loved it!

    This book starts slowly, in the voice of the person who knows the least. but it also start beautifully, and slowly builds momentum as more and more information is revealed. I was guessing and pondering and never did solve much myself. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was very well done and exciting. I loved her other 2 books, and this one did not disappoint.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2011

    A good story teller

    I know some feel the book was too long and too wordy....but to tell a good story and go back spanning 2 wars and a few generations of characters - I just found the words, descriptions and length a necessity in order to tell a good story and not miss anything. Morton weaves a good story and develops characters very well - I've read her first two books and thought they were wonderful. The Sisters Blythe needed a great deal of description since their characters were so totally different and they had their own secrets that had to be brought out and developed, as did Edie's mother - so many stories in their own lives as well as Meredith's and Edies....and intertwined to come out to the story in the end. I thought the story, plot and characters (and all those words) were amazing and told a wonderful story. Like The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden - I just enjoyed the characters so much I really hated to see the story end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2011

    Ugh

    I was attracted to this book because of the plot--it seemed unique and different. However, I was disappointed and indifferent--overall: it's slow and rather dreary like most other reviewers have said. I found it boring and drab. It failed to keep my interest and I kept wondering when the pace would pick up. Some parts (such as when the sisters' pasts are revealed) did add some spark but failed to carry through for me. There were times when I honestly didn't even want to open the book again. Truthfully, save your $24--don't waste your money like I did.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it

    I absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down. I loved all the characters - they are so well-developed! I felt like I knew each one. The story line was totally original and creative. I was sad when it ended. I have read reviews that say the story line is too long & boring - I could not disagree more. It was perfect. This will be on my short list of favorites for a long, long time. I am looking forward to reading more of Kate Morton's books. LOVED IT!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2010

    Eagerly awaited this book: disappointed

    I loved Ms. Morton's first two books and assumed her writing would continue in its lovely vein. I NEVER give up on a book, but gave this one up 3/4 of the way through. It's almost as though a thirteen-year-old took over Morton's writing, with implausible plot points. Paragraph after paragraph of description, in one case a character's physical traits could have been edited down to two words: Miss Havisham. Sadly disappointed.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    This book just dragged on and on. Some may call it character de

    This book just dragged on and on. Some may call it character
    development but I found I cared less and knew little more as the
    chapters kept on. Not worth it, was great to read before sleep because
    it didn't capture you so I got lots of sleep.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    just couldn't stay interested in it to finish!

    Rarely do I leave a book unfinished. I tried to stick with this one--but gave up. I do not recommend this one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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