The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours is Kate Morton’s 3rd book. It’s a huge book, 560 pages long. Her previous two have been huge hits and no doubt this one will be as well. I started reading it about a week before going away but wasn’t able to finish it beforehand so I had to do something I hate doing – stop reading, read something else (something that didn’t weight a ton when travelling), then resume the previous book. For me, this always detracts from the story and I wasn’t able to get back into it as enthusiastically as I did when I started the book. But I did enjoy it. Just like Sarah’s Key, this book alternates between the present and the past. During WWII children in London were billetted outside the city and 13 year old Meredith ends up at Milderhurst Castle living with 3 sisters, Persephony (aka Percy), Seraphina (aka Saffy) and Juniper Blythe. How about those names… only in British fiction I say. Meredith (aka Merry) loves living there, and she especially loves Juniper who encourages her to write and enjoy the books at her disposal in the castle library. Eventually, much to her disappointment, she returns to her boring, lower class family life in London. In the present day portion of the book, Meredith’s daughter Edith (aka Edie) who works for a publisher, uncovers the mystery of her mother’s life in the dark, damp, old castle in Kent. It’s gothic in nature, full of suspense and mystery and at times you can just picture the musty, old furniture and closed up smell of a castle that has long ago lost it’s lustre. You’ll need to devote a large chunk of your time to read this because you don’t want to be interrupted like I was. Keep the mood going, get involved with the characters, and lose yourself in time and place with this great story.

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