The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Kate Morton’s novels are like lazy summer days that seem peaceful until an unexpected storm comes upon you destroying your serenity. Last night I finished reading The Distant Hours, a moody tale of family secrets and haunting tragedy.
A 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 WWII. 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.
The story at times is a little slow but so beautifully written that it is worth the effort to push through to the end. Told from multiple perspectives throughout different time periods, pieces of the mystery gradually come together telling a slightly different story than what one imagined. In some ways, The Distant Hours reminded me of another another favorite Gothic novel, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
Reading The Distant Hours made me want to slip on a tea dress and enjoy a nice cuppa.