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Publisher's Summary

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.
Evacuated from London as a 12-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters, and their father, Raymond.
Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle. She, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. For the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it....
©2010 Kate Morton (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Simone on 11-13-12

Right Mood At The Right Time

You have to be in just the right mood to enjoy this book, like being in the right place at the right time; thankfully I was and therefore, I just adored it! I got so drawn into the characters and the world they inhabit, that I even DREAMT about them! That’s a first for me.

It’s also the first time I can use the expression “curled up” with a book and mean it – it was like comfort food and getting back to it was like going to find out what my good friends have been up to while I was away.

In a nut shell, it’s a slow moving mystery about a woman who delves into her mother’s past and stumbles upon the story (and secrets) of three sisters during the 1940s, now old spinsters living in a dilapidated castle. Their tale is told through discoveries made by our present-day protagonist, weaved in with scenes from the prescriptive of the various key characters as their story unfolds before the war.

The characters were so perfectly depicted, I felt like I knew them personally and it was easy to get so completely sucked into their orb. The author’s ability to paint scenes with words was so first-rate to me that I felt like I was actually there at times, as if I could FEEL the surroundings yet it was not so overly descriptive that I couldn’t use my own imagination to flesh out the view in my mind.

My mood was ideal for getting carried away in this story. It’s not an “edge of your seat” mystery, but rather a tale that uncoils slowly with bits and pieces of clues revealed here and there, leaving you guessing until pretty much the end. Like a ribbon slowly unravelling.

If you want wall to wall action, put it aside and get back to it when you feel the need for slow (almost drawn out but never boring or tedious) escapism instead.

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75 of 75 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amy on 09-05-11

Rich and Lovely

Having adjusted my expectations after reading several lackluster reviews of "The Distant Hours", I was happily surprised to find myself mesmerized by this complex, layered, romantic story. Listening as I knitted, gardened, cooked, and hung laundry, I was glad for the slow pace, the detailed descriptions that transported me in space and time, and the character development which made Juniper, Saffy, Percy, Meridith, and Edie real and sympathetic. Kate Morton crafts her language, and I savored her almost poetic descriptions of Milderhurst Castle. I loved that she took the time to tell the story properly, having faith that the reader would prefer quality over pace. When something is as beautiful as "The Distant Hours", I'd really rather not be rushed.

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48 of 48 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By sjtroddy on 02-01-11


I've just come to the end of this book ... it's a great tale but completely spoilt for me by the australian accents. The 'East End of London' australian accent of the war years didn't 'do it' for me I'm afraid. The yarn is quite a good one but - and I'm sorry there is a 'but' - it's rather drawn out and predictable at the end ... I ended up guessing (correctly) what was going to happen next. However, I always buy nice long books to see me through the night and this was a good, long tale, with twists and turns. A bit lightweight as it turns out but good to pass the time of night ...

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 01-25-11

Down to you

The Distant Hours in very much in the style of the gothic novel and the extent to which you enjoy it is down to you.
As a sporadic gothic reader,this was a good yarn that kept me engaged (although I must admit I occasionally dropped off and then spent ages looking for the last bit I recognised though not while I was in the car I might add.
If you're looking for great literature, apt to nitpick about writing style and historical accuracy this is not for you. There's nothing glaring and nothing that stops this being a well crafted engaging story throughout.
On reading other reviews,I was struck by how polarised they were.
When I was tired from work and had a long car journey ahead of me at the weekend, this was great entertainment. Enjoy

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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