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Review: The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton

Pages: 562

Original date of publication: 2010

My edition: 2010 (Atria)

Why I decided to read: I love all of Kate Morton’s books

How I acquired my copy: Amazon preorder, November 2010

Kate Morton is one of the few authors I’ll buy in hardcover. I first heard about her through the Amazon Vine program, when The House at Riverton was offered, and I’ve been hooked ever since; I even bought The Forgotten Garden when it was out in the UK but not in the US. The Distant Hours takes place in a crumbling old castle and features three elderly spinsters who harbor a dark secret dating from WWI. Their story is contrasted with that of Edie, a young woman in 1992 who investigates the story.

Like Morton’s previous books, there’s a Gothic undertone to the book, but it’s never overt. The emphasis here is on telling a good story, and that Kate Morton does very well. Each of the characters, minus Edie, has skeletons in the closet, but the skeletons aren’t what you think they’ll be. I love how everything is revealed bit by bit, leaving the reader to guess at what will happen—again, it’s not what you think! I love Kate Morton’s characterizations, too; we’re not supposed to like or sympathize with Percy, but you do anyways. You get a very vivid picture of each of the characters with each of their quirks. This is one of those books that keeps you reading and reading, leaving you wanting to read more. The novel is long, but it never felt that way at all. In many places, it’s kind of a gothic version of I Capture the Castle.

The “present day”, 1992, is a bit dated, but I can understand why the author chose to have the book be set at that date instead of now. Despite the dated “present day,” I never got the feeling that the author was trying to hit her reader over the head with the fact that it’s 1992. This is another really great novel from Kate Morton; I’m only sad that I’ll have to wait until she writes her next!


Danielle said…
I really liked Kate Morton's first book and still have The Forgotten Garden to read as well--which I've heard is even better. If I wasn't on a book buying ban I think I'd buy this one, too, as I own her other books, but maybe will wait until the paperback. That said I am on the library waiting list, so I won't have to wait until the paperback to read it at least. Glad to hear you liked it.
Meenoo said…
I adore Kate Morton's books. I just read The Distant Hours and I cannot figure something out and wondered if you caught something in the book that I didn't. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER.
Why is Juniper covered in blood when she arrives at the castle the evening they are all waiting for Tom to arrive? Was that ever explained? Surely there would have been a reason?
This has been driving me crazy but I can't find the answer!

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