Book Review: The Distant Hours

The Distant HoursThe Distant HoursThe Distant Hours by Kate Morton by Kate Morton.

While on vacation last year I read Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden, and, while I didn’t completely love it, I certainly liked it well enough to want to read more of her books. And then several friends told me that The Distant HoursThe Distant Hours by Kate Morton was even better. Suddenly, her book moved itself to the top of my reading list, especially because I thought it would make for a perfect birthday read.

In short, I really really enjoyed it. My biggest complaints with her earlier book were either minimized, or nonexistant. In both books, I liked the characters and wanted to learn more about them. In her previous work, the length felt bloated and the pacing dragged in parts. This time, yes, it’s still a long book, but it didn’t seem as excessively long, and it never dragged. I still wouldn’t call it a tightly edited book by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn’t regretting what read like 100+ pages of padding as before.

The structure was similar this time, with the contemporary story line alternating with the 1940s era tale. This time it didn’t annoy me, and I enjoyed how the two stories unfolded. The Distant HoursThe Distant Hours by Kate Morton also featured a supposed mystery, and it was still fairly easy to figure out, but that didn’t feel like such a big plot weakness. There was more to the story than simply that mysterious event, and guessing what was the answer didn’t spoil the tale.

All in all, it ended up being a great birthday-week read (started it on my birthday, but I took my time and savored it over a few days). I’d recommend it to fans of historical fiction, with the caveat that it is a slower paced story than some, so don’t pick it up expecting nonstop action. It’s much more sedate and thoughtful.

Publisher’s Description:
It starts with a letter, lost for half a century and unexpectedly delivered to Edie’s mother on a Sunday afternoon. The letter leads Edie to Milderhurst Castle, where the eccentric Blythe spinsters live and where, she discovers, her mother was billeted during World War II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives caring for their younger sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiancé jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie searches for her mother’s past but soon learns there are other secrets hidden in its walls. The truth of what happened in “the distant hours” has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. In this enthralling romantic thriller, Morton pays homage to the classics of gothic fiction, spinning a rich and intricate web of mystery, suspense, and lost love.

Book Details

Title: The Distant HoursThe Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Author: Kate Morton
Category: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

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  1. Funny timing… I just read a review of The Forgotten Garden yesterday. This one sounds a little more interesting, though.

    • They were both good, but I did like this one more. If you read her, let me know what you think!

  2. I read this review when you posted it and thought I would give Morton another chance, since I read The Forgotten Garden a while back and didn’t really care for it. I’m glad I did! I just finished The Distant Hours (along with Ender’s Game) this week, and agree with both your personal reaction and assessment. I’m heading to the library for two more of your book recommendations since I’ll be in a waiting room for hours tomorrow 🙂 Thanks, Sheila!

    • I’m so glad to hear you liked it (and you’re reminding me that I keep meaning to try Ender’s Game. Someday…)

      And yay for lots of reading time in waiting rooms, when it’s for a good reason. Congratulations!


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