As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

June 7, 2011

THE DISTANT HOURS by Kate Morton, 2010

The Distant Hours: A NovelA long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. (Amazon) 

Review by Emily Sonderegger, Book Addict

The Distant Hours came highly recommended by a friend, and she was right. It was a delicious feast of imagery and words. The world that Kate Morton created at Milderhurst Castle was brilliant. It was vivid. It was so real.

I loved how the past and present were woven together seamlessly. In some cases, it's easy to get lost in that, but it wasn't here. I felt like it melded beautifully and worked to create a fantastic story. I couldn't get enough.

In fact, I read this book last year, and needed a reread to really digest everything. The second time around, I picked up on some very subtle nuances that really brought things together for me. I found one of my very most favorite lines from a book EVER on my second time through:

"Ancient walls sing the distant hours."

Doesn't that just make you want to swoon?! It does me. Such a fantastic phrase, and one that conjures images of moldering old castles surrounded by moors and full of secrets that one could never get to the bottom of.

I loved the characters, even the ones I felt like I needed to hate. They weren't two-dimensional at all. They lived, they loved, they literally rose off the pages and danced around the room with me. Even Percy, who I literally wanted to slap silly. I *got* her. I began to understand her need for complete control and her desire to hold things together. See, Percy was always the strong one, the one everyone turned to. She HAD to do what she did. She just had to.

And dear Saffy. To have her heart broken time and again through various means and to never turn bitter and mean. To rise up all the more loving and kind. WOW. And poor Saffy. Her story completely broke my heart, especially at the end.

Oh, and Juniper! Mustn't forget Juniper. Poor dear. I ached for her, I really did. But what a true hero.

I loved traveling the path of redemption with Edie and her mother. I LOVED watching that relationship change and grow. I loved trying to figure out where they'd go next.

The book spoke to me. No, scratch that. It SANG to me. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It has become an old friend, whom I will always treasure.

In fact, for me, it was so good it made me incoherent. Thank you, Kate Morton, for writing such a pivotal piece.

Market: Adult
Language: Moderate
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate (mostly implied)
Mature Themes: emotional disorders, war, desertion

Book formats:

To learn more about this author, visit: Kate Morton


Heather said...

Thanks for the review. I read the House at Riverton and LOVED it. I'm excited to read this one too.

Amy Finnegan {} said...

I've heard SO many people rave about this novel, I'm ordering it right now and sending it to the top of my to read list.

Thanks for the great review, Emily!

Anonymous said...

I MUST read this book!!! Thank you for reviewing it, Emily!