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The Distant Hours: A Novel Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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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
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Top customer reviews
I have read all but one of Kate Morton's Novels. This one kept me spell bound. The time period during the war was very note worthy. It is difficult to imagine life during that time period. Also, the characters and the roles they played made interesting reading.
Are you hooked yet? I was.
The Blythe sisters, twins Saffy and Percy, and the younger Juniper live in Milderhurst Castle. Edie Burchill is a young editor in London, who discovers that her mother briefly lived with the sisters Blythe, during WWII when London children were evacuated out to the country, and that the writer of her favorite childhood book, The True History of the Mud Men, the book that made Edie a bibliophile, was the father of these sisters.
Edie becomes fascinated: why did her mother not talk about this? What secrets do the sisters hold? What happened to Juniper's lover, Thomas Cavill? Why is Juniper forever trapped in the past, waiting for her lover? Why did Percy and Saffy never marry? What horrible secret did their father tell Juniper? Does The True History of the Mud Men have it's origins in a real story?
Morton does finally answer these questions and more, answers I mostly did not see coming. It does take 576 pages to get there, though. While I love Kate Morton's work and I loved this as well, there was a lot of back story that could have been tweaked a little. But the writing lives up to her usual standards, very atmospheric, great character development. As usual, she weaves between past and present, creating questions and building suspense. But it was well-worth the wait. This book is perfect for this time of year, with the dark coming so early, all those long hours to fill until bed, while the cold nips at your door...I'm getting carried away. But I definitely recommend this. Fans of Kate Morton won't be disappointed and this is perfect for those new to her work.
my rating 4.5/5
I can still feel the tension in the relationship between the heroine and her mother, so aptly described and beautifully rendered. Kate has a way of bringing you into the settings to where you feel you have been transported from your reading chair to where the characters live and breathe. Time passes and you can hear a pin drop. Descriptive writing and prose at its best.
Most recent customer reviews
Morton’s introductions typically feel like that first opening of the gate into a secret garden, or opening the...Read more