Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Distant Hours” as Want to Read:
The Distant Hours
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Distant Hours

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  46,558 Ratings  ·  5,661 Reviews
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Ju ...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Atria Books (first published November 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Distant Hours, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Georgina Ballantine
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëDracula by Bram StokerWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyRebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Best Gothic Books Of All Time
62nd out of 389 books — 2,137 voters
For Whom The Bell Tolls (Vlad Dracula, #1) by Shane K.P. O'NeillJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëRebecca by Daphne du MaurierLegacy of Darkness by Jane GodmanDracula by Bram Stoker
Gothic novels
27th out of 112 books — 184 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Did you ever go to a Tupperware party where the hostess spent forever demonstrating all the gadgets in a dramatically effervescent voice? And at the end nobody bought anything? And there weren't even any refreshments being served to make it worth having shown up? And you didn't like any of the other people who came to the party?
This book is that party---all elaborate demonstration, no sale, no refreshment, and no one I care about.
I adored Kate Morton’s The House At Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, giving them both 5 stars, but delayed reading The Distant Hours after hearing so many bad reviews about it from people who, like me, loved those earlier books. I finally decided to take the plunge, hoping to disagree with the bad reviews.

Sadly, I don't. The Distant Hours is packed full of unnecessary detail and description. On and on it goes, page after page of long-winded waffle, page after page of no dialogue, no action an
I loved Morton's earlier novel, The Forgotten Garden, and had high expectations for this one as well. If this book wasn't tailored made for my reading tastes, I don't know what would be:
- Ancient castle in the bucholic English countryside
- Past and present plotlines weaving and intersecting
- Homage to books, readers and the written word
- Gothic elements galore (including madness, forbidden love, family secrets, a lost letter, and a creepy children's story)

However, by the end of this massive 560
Jan 18, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I welled up when this book ended & not just because I hated to see it end. One could weep over the sad lives of the 3 Blythe sisters, now elderly, & living with secrets that are beautifully & gradually revealed. The story jumps from the 1990's in London to the Milderhurst Castle during W.W.II and the present. When Edie Burchill encounters the 3 elderly sisters she is drawn into a family of secrets, whose "distant hours" are simply a wonder to read. It may be the best I've read since ...more
Feb 02, 2011 Margaret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I abandoned the effort to read The Distant Hours about a third of the way in. I don’t know quite what to make of Kate Morton, whose writing (at least for me) gets increasingly annoying with every book she publishes. At some point she has begun to confuse languor with atmosphere, and the pace of this book is like sitting on the leading edge of an advancing glacier. It could be millennia before it gets where it’s going. Morton is plainly far more interested in the details of setting and landscape ...more
Roger Kean
Aug 30, 2011 Roger Kean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is Kate Morton a women's writer? As an Ann Tyler and Maeve Binchy fan, I wouldn't know. I loved Morton's previous two books, and this one is even better. Flying back and forth in time between the evacuation of children from London prior to the blitz of 1941 and the modern day (1992), Book editor Edie Burchill uncovers the truth behind the creation of "The True History of the Mud Man," a spectacularly successful children's story written by the patriarch of Milderhurst Castle in Kent, now in the p ...more
Mar 07, 2011 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have recently finished reading this book and I just loved it! I had it finished in a week. A few times a got a little frustrated wanting to know the secrets but the wait was well worth it. There are a lot of secrets in this book.

I was worried it wasn't going to stack up to her two previous books due to some 'not so good' reviews I've read and heard. This book is a lot darker than her other two, but similar in the switching back and forth from the present to the past. Again, I love the way she
Christy B
I read the last hundred pages of The Distant Hours in the middle of a pretty intense storm. This just brought me even deeper into the story, where I felt as though I was a part of it. People who have finished The Distant Hours will know what I'm talking about.

I'm such a huge Kate Morton fan. I raved over her two previous books: The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, so when I heard about The Distant Hours a year ago, I could not wait for it. I had such high expectations, and I figured,
Nov 09, 2010 Bookish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I only read one book this fall, I decided months ago, it would have to be The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. Kate Morton’s debut novel, The House of Riverton, held me so spellbound that as soon as I finished it, I read it again. Despite the fact that The House of Riverton left me emotionally drained, I eagerly pre-ordered her next novel, The Forgotten Garden, and devoured it in one sitting, heedless of the late hour and lack of sleep, when it finally came. I'm glad to report that her third eff ...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
My friend passed this across the table and promised a trio of spinsters, a creaky castle and long hidden family secrets. I probably should not have taken the book, seeing as it’s roughly a million pages long and I read at a slugs pace, but I was sold anyway because I’m nosey and books with dark secrets cannot be turned away.

This book kept luring me in with a whole lot of this.

But then it delivered nothing but a whole lot of empty promises until about page 4 million and 80. Then the twists and tu
Sara Steger
Mar 17, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pleasure-reading
I am a sucker for ancient, decaying castles with occupants who are eccentric and obviously have secrets to hide. When Morton sets the stage and begins to play out the lives of the Blythe sisters, children of a famous and ultimately bizarre writer, during the time of WWII, she has me hooked. At the same time, she introduces the modern-day story of Edie Burchill, the daughter of a WWII child evacuee who was sent to the castle to wait out the war. It is her mother's story that Edie is determined to ...more
Katrina Passick Lumsden
I can't say enough about this book. It's not a happy one, so don't go into it thinking you're going to get a sweet happily ever after. No, that's not really Kate Morton's style. But beautifully lyrical prose and an almost unnerving talent for atmosphere makes this, on the surface a beautiful read.

What's not so obvious is that Morton's talent for crafting intricately layered, interesting characters is superb. She presents you with a certain set of traits for each character that cause you to draw
Mar 16, 2016 Melisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update // I'm pretty sure I need to reread this book for a fair review as I was sick and cranky while reading it and I think it affected my judgment. One day I will reassess //

This pains me to say - I did not love this book. While I adore Kate Morton and her novels read like one epic poem, this one was just much too slow for me.

The writing is brilliant, she can create an atmosphere with prose like no one else, and while even the plot was very intriguing, I felt as if that couldn't even save me
Jan 07, 2011 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was very disappointed with this. I enjoyed her two previous books, without thinking they were masterpieces -- just long, lazy holiday reads. But this one began to seem awfully long, with too little substance and far too much padding. From the start, I felt the present-day first person narrative and the parts told in the third person and set in 1941 didn't sit well together. I did enjoy the 1941 parts at first; Middleton is still superb at evoking an atmosphere in the past with lots of period d ...more
Nov 11, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Any book over 500 pages makes me narrow my eyes suspiciously. There is so much room for extraneous things in a book that size. I was pleasantly surprised to find nothing extraneous whatsoever in The Distant Hours. It’s so long because Morton doesn’t just focus on a few main mysteries. Instead, she weaves in all manner of smaller unknowns that click into place one by one, usually just when the reader has nearly forgotten about them completely. The result is an extremely complex and masterfully wo ...more
Morana Mazor
Jan 09, 2016 Morana Mazor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I opet odlična Kate Morton! U njezino sam se pisanje zaljubila uz knjigu "Zaboravljeni vrt", ali mogu reći da su mi i "Davni trenuci" na istoj razini kvalitete.
Volim tu njezinu mistiku, tajne koje se otkrivaju, ozračje veličanstvenih, starih zdanja zidova punih knjiga i slika, a svako od kojih krije neispričane i brižno skrivane sudbine svojih žitelja.
Ovaj puta pratim priču triju sestara, sada već starijih dama, koje su svoje živote provele na obiteljskom imanju, u dvorcu Mildehurst čije zidine
Apr 07, 2015 TL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TL by: random chance
Shelves: re-reading, favorites

Ancient walls that sing the Distant Hours.

The story meanders a bit, taking its time letting you into the world of the Sisters Blythe and their father Raymond, Edie and her mum. It splits between 1941 and 1992, introducing everyone as it pleases.

It all starts when Edie's mother Meredith, gets a long lost letter in the mail from someone she didn't expect to hear from. We find out who and what later on, but this piece of mail starts Edie down the trail of her mom from long ago, during World War Tw
A. R.
Nov 30, 2010 A. R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a disappointment!!!! I loved 'The Forgotten Garden'. It's one of my favorite books to recommend so naturally I was excited to read another work by Kate Morton. I found the entire story to long, to drawn out and lacking any real emotion. It was an effort to finish. With the exception of one or two chapters about the relationship between Thomas Cavill and Juniper Blythe it felt like a narration you would find in the newspaper.

I had the ending figured out three hundred pages into the book and
This was my first read by Kate Morton...and wow...absolutely stunning. I was completely lost in this novel and spent a good solid two days doing nothing but reading. I was constantly guessing at the many secrets and proved pleasantly right sometimes and shocked at others. The mixture of past and present, unfolding of long kept secrets, and deep insights from many points of view made this book perfection to me.
Jan 03, 2011 Cryssa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Kate Morton book I had ever read and I heard rave reviews over the Forgotten Garden. It started off great; I found her prose fresh and her descriptions unique. Kate Morton is clearly a talented author but I think she failed with this book. She could have really benefited from tight editing.

I didn't understand her structure in the least. Switching from a first person narrative to a third person narrative, using different view points was distracting. That was the first snag I h
Sep 26, 2014 Britany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 500
Kate Morton is a gifted storyteller. She has a gift for weaving multiple storylines together; add in mystery and some great character arcs and you have the premise for this novel.

Edie Burchill stumbles across Milderhurst castle and remembers that she has been there before... The story shifts back to the past and into present day. Edie's mother was evacuated to Milderhurst around WWII and has kept this a secret from her daughter. Milderhurst is the home of world renowned author Raymond Blythe, a
Andreia Silva
Estou extasiada!Eu não sei porque a Kate Morton não escreveu mais cedo, ou nem tem muitos livros publicados (tem três) porque a escrita desta senhora é fenomenal. E não é só a escrita, é o enredo, a forma de contar uma história mas nunca contando tudo de uma vez, a capacidade que tem de nos prender até à última página. Tal como no O Segredo da Casa de Riverton, também neste livro temos uma família (curiosamente, também com irmãs) cheia de segredos ocultos, macabros, que perduram no tempo até um ...more
Oct 17, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can you not love a book that includes the following: "After all, it's the librarian's sworn purpose to bring books together with their one true reader."?

While the blurb calls this "gothic literature", it's more goth lit lite - the scary isn't there to the degree that I'd expect from that genre. Think more Rebecca than "Fall of the House of Usher." The switching between 1941 and 1992 helps, I think, keep the tone light. Of course there are some Dark Family Secrets that get revealed, and a Li
Oct 20, 2012 ❀Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If not for the slow start I would have given this 5 stars.
Dec 20, 2010 Sylvie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I settled down with relish to read Distant Hours, having loved The House at Riverton; I am now at page 250 and about to lose the will to live. I thought I'd look at the reviews to see if I was in the minority (which clearly I am) but I see now that I am not going to miss much by giving up on this punishing endeavour now. This book is far too big. Physically it is a nuisance to read in bed and elsewhere; as literature it is surely guilty of words for words' sake. Morton has an excellent knack of ...more
After Morton's fantastic The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, I had incredibly high expectations of The Distant Hours. When it finally arrived pre-ordered from Amazon, almost 700 pages long and complete with one of those ribbon bookmark things sewn into the binding, I dove in. While Morton's latest has a lot of the elements that made her previous work shine -- literary and family mysteries, an old house full of secrets, tragic love affairs, lost letters, an engaging protagonist -- the ...more
Nov 21, 2010 Felice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was raised on mini-series and multi-generational novels. If it was a chubby saga that covered a minimum of forty years I was all over it. I am author Kate Morton's demographic. With The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden Morton established herself as the go to girl for Gothic adventure. She has set a new standard for the long suffering heroine. It's all very enthralling: long hidden secrets, lies, betrayals, misplaced loyalties, lovers torn apart, unwanted pregnancies, class structures ...more
Why is it that books that you love the most are the hardest to describe? I sat in front of my laptop for more than a hour , after I had finished reading the book and yet was unable to formulate a word other than "WOW!".

Kate Morton is one of my top 5 favorite authors. I loved her other 2 books and I devoured the 600 plus pages of this book in less than one day.I was incapable of sleeping - the story and the characters pulled me in so deep that sleep was really the last thought I had.

I had been aw
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
I absolutely loved The Forgotten Garden and really enjoyed The House at Riverton, so why did I have so much trouble getting into this one?

I have been picking this book up, putting it down again, and then leaving it alone for huge chunks of time. Then I feel obligated to go back to reading it, and have to "assign" myself page numbers to read or I just won't do it. That's not at all what reading should be about.

It could just be a mood thing on this one, but after reading so many negative reviews o
Jun 21, 2012 Clarinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leituras-2012
Com uma forma muito própria de contar histórias e com uma linguagem muito rica e bem estruturada, Kate Morton, aposta na alternância passado/presente da narrativa para nos prender do princípio ao fim do livro. Houve uma altura que “arrefeceu” um pouco a narrativa, mas com a continuação da leitura apercebemo-nos de que essa parte da história é importantíssima para a sua compreensão. O enredo bem construído leva-nos a uma leitura intensa, cheia de mistérios de morte e amor, perdidos nas horas dist ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
You'll love this ...: The Distant Hours 98 41 May 16, 2016 04:10PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #53 The Distant Hours by Kate Morton 1 3 Apr 17, 2016 08:01PM  
Kate Morton Book ...: Distant Hours ending 6 46 Feb 11, 2016 03:24PM  
Around the Year i...: The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton 1 13 Jan 24, 2016 01:14PM  
  • A Place of Secrets
  • The Unseen
  • The Devlin Diary (Claire Donovan #2)
  • The Girl on the Cliff
  • The Glass of Time (The Meaning of Night, #2)
  • Mariana
  • The Lost Hours
  • The Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia Grey, #5)
  • The Wild Rose (The Tea Rose, #3)
  • Arcadia Falls
  • The Tale of Halcyon Crane
  • Every Secret Thing (Kate Murray, #1)
  • Lighthouse Bay
  • Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
  • The Sandalwood Tree
  • The Seance
  • Bleeding Heart Square
KATE MORTON grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and three young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specialising in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary gothic novels. Kate harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she became sidetracked writing novels, and still feels a pang of longing ...more
More about Kate Morton...

Share This Book

“I don’t have many friends, not the living, breathing sort at any rate. And I don’t mean that in a sad and lonely way; I’m just not the type of person who accumulates friends or enjoys crowds. I’m good with words, but not spoken kind; I’ve often thought what a marvelous thing it would be if I could only conduct relationships on paper. And I suppose, in a sense, that’s what I do, for I’ve hundreds of the other sort, the friends contained within bindings, pages after glorious pages of ink, stories that unfold the same way every time but never lose their joy, that take me by the hand and lead me through doorways into worlds of great terror and rapturous delight. Exciting, worthy, reliable companions - full of wise counsel, some of them - but sadly ill-equipped to offer the use of a spare bedroom for a month or two.” 144 likes
“After all, it's the librarian's sworn purpose to bring books together with their one true reader.” 54 likes
More quotes…