From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A letter posted in 1941 finally reaches its destination in 1992 with powerful repercussions for Edie Burchill, a London book editor, in this enthralling romantic thriller from Australian author Morton (The Forgotten Garden). At crumbling Milderhurst Castle live elderly twins Persephone and Seraphina and their younger half-sister, Juniper, the three eccentric spinster daughters of the late Raymond Blythe, author of The True History of the Mud Man, a children's classic Edie adores. Juniper addressed the letter to Meredith, Edie's mother, then a young teen evacuated to Milderhurst during the Blitz. Edie, who's later invited to write an introduction to a reprint of Raymond's masterpiece, visits the seedily alluring castle in search of answers. Why was her mother so shattered by the contents of a letter sent 51 years earlier? And what happened to soldier Thomas Cavill, Juniper's long-missing fiancé and Meredith's former teacher? Despite the many competing narratives, the answers will stun readers. 5-city author tour. (Nov.) (c)
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Edie Burchill leads a quiet life as the young vice-president of a small London publishing house. On a trip to meet with a potential author, she gets lost and accidentally discovers Milderhurst Castle, the once stately home in which, as a child, her mother was billeted during WWII. Edie senses a mystery to be uncovered, especially since her normally distant mother burst into tears after receiving a long-lost letter from the castle. Edie manages to get acquainted with the castle’s occupants, including the mysterious Blythe sisters—Percy, Saffy, and the emotionally damaged Juniper. Also present is the ghost of their father, Raymond, famous author of terrifying children’s books and overbearing patriarch. As the secrets behind Milderhurst Castle slowly reveal themselves, Edie discovers a family victimized by its own history and haunted by its memories as well as a mother eager to make up for lost time. In the tradition of the classic gothic novels, The Distant Hours is a spellbinding journey, a mystery whose well-paced revelations provide a surprising and deeply satisfying read. --Carol Gladstein