Book Review: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours is the story of Edie Burchil and her mother Meredith.  During the war Meredith was evacuated to Midhurst Castle in Kent.  The first Edie knew of this was when a mysterious letter arrives that has an obvious effect on her usually emotionally detached mother.  Through her obsession with her mothers mysterious past and her love of a children’s story written by the then author of Midhurst , Edie is drawn to the castle.  There she meets the 3 sisters Blythe who have inhabited the castle all of their long lives. The youngest Juniper was abandoned by her fiancé in 1941 and since then has lived a life of mental instability.  She is cared for by her protective elderly sisters Percy and Saffy.  Edie gradually unravels her mothers secrets and the secrets hidden by the sturdy walls of the castle for many years.

As is the way with lengthy stories this one flicks between the past and the present and tells the stories of the same events from the perspective of different characters.  This worked to a degree but it did perhaps elongate some of the events more than was necessary and at times the events felt a little contrived.  I have nothing against a bit of flowery language here and there, but some of the sentences and phrases in The Distant Hours were a little much, even for me.

I have read all of Kate Morton’s other novels and enjoyed them. They are all weighty tomes, often over 600 pages. This could be off-putting but sometimes losing oneself in a lengthy saga is whats called for.  I’m afraid with this one despite fundamentally enjoying the story I did find it a little drawn out

This is not my favourite Kate Morton Novel, I think ‘The House at Riverton’ deserves that accolade, but should further Kate Morton novels should come my way, I would happily give them a go.


  1. July 19, 2015 / 5:45 pm

    I remember reading this book, but for the life of me I can’t remember what happens. I think The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden are her two best novels, they go a little downhill (though as still enjoyable) after them.

    • July 20, 2015 / 11:02 am

      I think you are right. I certainly didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others.

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