The Distant Hours
Monday, April 30, 2012Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton
I will officially read whatever Morton writes. After my experience with The Forgotten Garden last year I knew I liked her style, but this book cemented it for me. Her books can certainly run a bit longer than they need to be, but when it comes to a gothic mystery with old ruined castles and buried secrets, I like a bit of meandering. I don’t read it sitting on the edge of my seat for the big reveal in the end. I guessed some plot twists and was surprised by others, but the twist isn't really the point with her books. You're so fascinated by the characters that you want to know what happens, but you’re also comfortable slowly peeling back the layers.
Three elderly sisters, Juniper, Saffy and Percy, live alone in Milderhurst Castle. The story’s central character, Edie, stumbles upon their home after her mother reveals that she lived with them for a short time during the London bombings in WWII.
The story bounces back and forth between WWII and 1992. There are about five minor and major plots that weave together; Edie’s personal life, her mother’s story, the back story of each of the three sisters, their father’s history and the story behind his famous book (The True History of the Mud Man). It sounds like a lot, but it never becomes confusing. There’s a bit of love, broken hearts, abandoned dreams and, of course, family secrets.
The sisters are wonderful characters. Juniper, the baby of the family, is a recreation of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Saffy is a sweet-natured woman who can’t seem to stand up to her twin sister. Percy is the headstrong eldest sister and she takes care of everyone in her family, whether they like it or not. The trio has a great dynamic, both as elderly women in 1992 and young women during the war. There’s an intense protective nature in everything they do they speaks to the unbreakable bonds of a family.
The Forgotten Garden is my favorite of Morton’s books so far, but I really enjoyed this one. I’m looking forward to reading The House at Riverton and whatever she writes next. If you loved The Thirteenth Tale or Rebecca, I would highly recommend this one.
“It’s a funny thing, character, the way it brands people as they age, rising from within to leave its scar.”
“Lack of potatoes left a person’s stomach growling, but absence of beauty hardened the soul.”
“I can’t imagine facing the end of the day without a story to drop into on my way towards sleep.”
“Insecurities and hurts, anxieties and fears grow teeth at night.”