Anna's Reviews > The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
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Oct 21, 2015

did not like it
bookshelves: dual-timeline, 1-star, read-in-2011, world-war-two, family-saga, chunkster
Read from December 07 to 11, 2011

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 and no furthering of the plot. I can see that she was trying to create an atmospheric literary piece, but I think she tried too hard to be too clever, entirely at the expense of the actual story. Had this been my first Morton book, it would have also been my last. In fact, had it had been my first, I’d have abandoned it before the half way point.

I stuck with it through 'loyalty' to Morton, and skim-read it in the hope that the 'real' author would eventually appear, and give me her usual tantalising, goose-bump inducing reveal. She did not. When the reveal finally limped in, I just thought, 'yeah, whatever.'

The sad thing is, it could have been so good. It has all the right elements: three mysterious elderly spinster sisters who live in an imposing castle; the memory of their haunted and troubled father; a lover who’s been missing for 50 years; a woman who lived in the castle in her teens but has never talked of it since; various secondary characters with hints of their own secrets. It so easily could have been another intriguing, suspenseful, excellent Morton book.

Hugely frustrating.
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Reading Progress

02/18 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-42 of 42) (42 new)

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message 1: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Hannah and Joanne, wish me luck, I'm finally taking TDH plunge. Eek. C'mon Kate, don't let me down....


Hannah I do hope it's a great read for you!


message 3: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna I'm 80 pages in, and so far, I'm with Hannah's review :-( When will this story ever start? There's SO much detail, description and waffle. I'm skim reading already, just hoping that the story-proper will kick in soon....


Hannah Anna wrote: "I'm 80 pages in, and so far, I'm with Hannah's review :-( When will this story ever start? There's SO much detail, description and waffle. I'm skim reading already, just hoping that the story-prope..."

Personally, the story could have rocked with better editing.


message 5: by Lynn (new) - added it

Lynn Anna, as much as I loved The Forgotten Garden I counldnt even finish The Distant Hours so I'm impressed that you even finished it.


Hannah Yep. This one was a huge disappointment. Sorry it wasn't a good read for you, Anna. I had hoped your experience would be better then mine.


Hannah Lynn wrote: "Anna, as much as I loved The Forgotten Garden I counldnt even finish The Distant Hours so I'm impressed that you even finished it."

Lynn,
You were smart to bail. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have figured out it wasn't going to get better or have a cool twist near the end.


message 8: by Lynn (new) - added it

Lynn I thought at first I just had high hopes after reading the FG and I kept reading and waiting for it to pick up but it never did. :(


Hannah Lynn wrote: "I thought at first I just had high hopes after reading the FG and I kept reading and waiting for it to pick up but it never did. :("

Same here. But we both know we'll pick up the next book Morton comes out with - lol!


message 10: by Anna (last edited Dec 14, 2011 02:51AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Yep, if book 4 doesn't go back to the fabulousness of THAR and TFG, there'll be hell to pay! I can't understand how the author of two such haunting, page-turning, suspenseful books can produce such a bad one with her third.


Hannah Anna wrote: "Yep, if book 4 doesn't go back to the fabulousness of THAR and TFG, there'll be hell to pay! I can't understand how the author of two such haunting, page-turning, suspenseful books can produce such..."

Let's hope it's one of those "one offs" that almost every writer has. Hopefully, word has trickled back to her (and her editor) about some of us not being enthralled with the sloppy editing of this one, and she'll tighten up #4 (we can hope).


message 12: by Rio (Lynne) (new) - added it

Rio (Lynne) Glad I read your review. This is on sale for $2 today, but I might skip. Thanks.


message 13: by Brittany (new) - added it

Brittany Hannigan I guess I'm the anomaly. I loved this book yes it was slow to get through but I loved the end and did feel I could connect with the tragic characters. I liked it better than the forgotten garden, which I felt to be too much of a rip off of secret garden rather than a nod to, and the house at river ton which I found very un satisfying. However, I read the distant hours first so maybe that affected my opinions. Will have to re-read them because I'm starting to question my opinion after seeing the general consensus!


message 14: by Anna (last edited Oct 19, 2012 10:40AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Hi Brittany. Don't doubt your opinions! We all have different tastes, so if you loved TDH then that's great, I'm glad for you :-) We'll all have to meet back here after we've read The Secret Keeper, see how much we agree or disagree on that one! As an aside, I've never read The Secret Garden, so will go and check it out, thanks.


message 15: by Brittany (new) - added it

Brittany Hannigan Hi Anna!
Thank you for your response and for being so kind about the subjectivity of reading. I've just finished the secret keeper and quite enjoyed it. My one complaint about the distant hours would have been the slow pacing towards the build up of the end, and I found the pacing of the secret keeper to be faster and more engaging. The ending crossed my mind a few times while reading but each time I dismissed it because i couldn't figure out how it could be the case. As a result, it came as a shock! I'd love to hear you're thoughts! Thanks again for your response!
Brittany:)


message 16: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Oooh, you're making The Secret Keeper sound very good! The reviews I've read seem to be far more positive than for TDH which gives me hope. What star rating would you give it, and the three other KM books?


message 17: by Brittany (new) - added it

Brittany Hannigan Hmmm- on a scale of 1-5 I'd give the house at riverton 3/5, the forgotten garden 4/5, the distant hours 5/5 (I'm a little in love with that one lol) and the secret keeper 4.75/5. The pacing and character development were good and it had her signature intense ending. You should definitely read it! What about you what rating would you give each?


message 18: by Anna (last edited May 06, 2014 05:30AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna I gave TFG and THAR 5 stars, I loved them both. That's part of why I was so disappointed with TDH; for me, it was way off them. Your 4.75 stars for TSK is intriguing/worrying as our ratings differ quite a bit! I'll read it when the prices come right down, probably next summer.

You need to start adding books and their ratings to your shelves ;-) Thanks for the friends add :-)


message 19: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa This was my first Kate Morton. I enjoyed it but not enough to pick up another. Now I'm more encouraged. Thanks!


message 20: by Anna (last edited Feb 21, 2013 07:00AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Thanks for your comment, Lisa. If you do decide to give The House At Riverton and The Forgotten Garden a try, I hope you have more success with them than you did with The Distant Hours. I'm sure you will, they are both SO much better :-)


message 21: by Rob (last edited Apr 11, 2013 04:43AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rob Innis Yes the lack of dialogue had me skipping pages (of boring irrelevant waffle) just to read some dialogue - that was before I gave up around pg 110..........


Layla ditto (which demonstrates the kind of brevity that could have saved TDH)


message 23: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Lol!

Thanks for your comments and 'likes,' Rob and Layla :-)


message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Roth grinding through this book and agree with others...tedious and frustrated by too many words!


message 25: by Lori (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lori I completely agree with this review! It captures my feelings on this book EXACTLY.


Sylvia This book was my first by this author, and if I hadn't read your review I probably would not be willing to give her another shot. You mentioned two of her previous books that you enjoyed; which I've added to my list. The story of the Blythe Sisters was captivating, but in the end I was left feeling cheated of a really good conclusion. I'm looking forward to the other books now, thanks.


message 27: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Thanks for your 'likes' and comments, Lori and Sylvia.

Sylvia, I'm glad the review has given you the incentive to try more from Morton. I'd love to know your thoughts on those previous books when you've read them :-)


message 28: by Allie (new) - rated it 1 star

Allie Harmon I applaud you for sticking with this book because I got to page 200 and had to give up through sheer boredom. There were several chapters just about the twins waiting for their sister to turn up, nothing happened. I went to the end to see what the 'big' secret was, it wasn't much of a secret was it? I feel so disappointed because I loved House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden and as has been mentioned this could have been really good, it had all the elements needed to be a great story. Such a shame.


message 29: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Thanks for your comment Allie, I don't blame you at all for bailing! Let's hope The Secret Keeper is a whole lot better :-)


Kristen I agree with this Review 100%! I couldn't have said it any better!!!!! The Secret Keeper was my first Morton book and that I give 5 stars!!!!


message 31: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Thanks for your 'like' and comment Kristen, I'm glad you found a Morton book to love :-)


message 32: by Lianne (new)

Lianne Downey I really enjoyed The Forgotten Garden & have been wondering which of her other books to try. From this, I assume The Secret Keeper would be the best choice? (I don't usually last through too-slow beginnings.)


message 33: by Anna (last edited May 20, 2014 11:16AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Hi Lianne. I thought The Secret Keeper was a decent enough read, but I loved The House at Riverton, so that would be my rec for your next Morton :-)


message 34: by Lianne (new)

Lianne Downey Anna wrote: "Hi Lianne. I thought The Secret Keeper was a decent enough read, but I loved The House at Riverton, so that would be my rec for your next Morton :-)"

Ah, thank you, Anna! I haven't read that one either, so I will put it on my list. I ordered The Secret Keeper yesterday but maybe I'll read it second. :)Thank you!


message 35: by Farii (new) - added it

Farii I've picked up TDH but I'm afraid of being let down by the author after having such high hopes from the Forgotten garden and the house at Riverton. or should I just skip to the secret keeper ?


message 36: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna I liked TSK more than I did TDH, but it still wasn't a patch on TFG and THaR. Give them both a try though, you may still enjoy them :-)


message 37: by Megan (new) - rated it 1 star

Megan Your review is exactly what I was thinking as I read this book. When will the story start. . then when will this story end. . . . around and around with useless details.


message 38: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Megan wrote: When will the story start. . then when will this story end. . . .

Haha, that's exactly it! Thanks for your 'like' and comment :-)


message 39: by Evie (new) - rated it 2 stars

Evie Loyalty - that's my weakness too! Like everyone else, I am a huge fan of this author and I just love her prose, but in this book, I really feel like I'm being led a merry dance (except it's not very merry!). I can well imagine the pain-staking hours it took to write this book, and respect her greatly for it, but I'm afraid that by the time I get to the 'big reveal', I'll be just like you. Yeah, whatever!


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Thanks for the honest review Anna, I wont waste my time.


message 41: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna I'd normally say give it a try as we're all different, but so many people who enjoy this author didn't like this book either, so good call!

Evie - thanks for your comment. I've just read your review and agree with it!


message 42: by Ryane (new)

Ryane My favorite part was the end because I could close this book for the last time! Hehe

Nothing I wanted to happen ever happened. What actually happen was such a let down. Maybe if she were just a little more descriptive about well every little thing possible I'd have liked it!


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