Customer Reviews for

The Distant Hours

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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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I can¿t decide if I¿m pleased with or disappointed in this book,

    I can’t decide if I’m pleased with or disappointed in this book, which is rough because I love Kate Morton. It’s a story about a woman (about my age) who discovers Milderhurst Castle and the secrets within it, along with its ties to her own family. The story was great and I enjoyed reading it but I really didn’t like the ending, which is probably why I don’t know how I feel about this book.




    I liked the way the story moved forward (mostly fluidly) even though it was told from both the 1940’s and currently. I also liked the characters. Despite her ongoing descriptions of all things physical and tendency to go a little long in places, I felt that some of the characters could have used a little more development (Saffy, in particular).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Slow beginning

    Loved the last 200 pages but the first part was really hard for me to get into. I enjoyed The House at Riverton over this one.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    I loved both of Ms. Morton's earlier books -- The Forgotten Gard

    I loved both of Ms. Morton's earlier books -- The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton. I cannot say the same for The Distant Hours. I thought the story moved very slowly, probably because there were so many details to cover, but also because of the long descriptions, most of which were unnecessary.

    I also thought the ending was contrived, and wrapped up everything too quickly and tidily. I had to go back and reread earlier sections to tie them together with the resolution.

    I'm looking forward to reading her latest book, because I think she's an excellent author, but I hope she goes back to the style of the first two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    OK Read

    Not my favorite read, I had a hard time getting into the storyline. It isn't the genre I prefer to read, so I struggled a bit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Great

    Couldn't put the book down ....waiting to see what to see what would happen next.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Not her best book.

    I thought it was a good story but too many words. Needed editing. It was bogged down by too much description and the meandering thoughts of the characters. Better to leave a little space for the reader's imagination.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    pretty good

    The one thing I like about Kate Morton's books is that they aren't predictable. She does keep you wondering how things will play out up until the end. The Distant Hours, like her others, involve some tragic occurance where you finish the book feeling bad for some poor soul. Certainly not the happy ending type of book. This, was not her best. It was good and I would recommend it under the pretense that her others were better. It was a bit wordy, as others have noted, and started out slow. About 2/3's into the story things started to finally fall into place. She certainly could have left some parts out of the book because they added nothing to the story. Still a good story line.

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  • Posted February 1, 2011

    Good but not Great!

    This book had a great start but seemed to lack with the ending. I've read her other books but this one seemed not quite as good as the others. I found it enthralling but then was just a bit disappointed with the ending.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ok

    I couldn't wait to recieve this book. Once I recieved it and started reading I was so disappointed.I kept reading and reading and thought when I will actually find out what is going on. It took so long to get into the story. When I got to the last 100 pages I couldn't put the book down.
    The story was beautiful it just took long to get to the interesting part of the story line.

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    Posted March 21, 2011

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