Gem's Reviews > The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
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's review
Aug 30, 11

bookshelves: read2011, adultfiction
Read in June, 2011

** spoiler alert ** The idea of this novel was gripping and has the makings of a great gothic mystery – a castle in the countryside, the madwoman, heightened suspense, etc. Morton approaches the story beginning with Edie’s point of view but as more and more of the mystery unravels, we are also treated to longer narratives from her mother and the various Blythe sisters during the war. This is where I felt the novel needed a better and quicker pace because this is quite the tome for a casual read. The Blythe sisters were wonderful characters as elderly spinsters in Milderhurst Castle, but reading about them as younger women was less interesting at times than reading about Edie’s journey to uncover her mother’s history. I also would have liked Edie’s mother in present day to join the narrative, but perhaps that would have made it a different kind of story. There were a few very slow-moving parts throughout the novel, but my desire to find out what happened was stronger than my temptation to stop reading.

I appreciated the lack of romance in this novel. We begin the novel just as Edie has ended a long-term relationship, and although there is a hint of romance for our main character at some point, it is one of the least important parts of the novel. It’s also not really a novel about motherhood or the bonds of sisters, although those relationships are explored. Edie’s devotion to uncovering the mystery is what drives this novel. Edie is a very likeable woman, although not too exciting, and I think she seems like a very realistic person.

Also, this is a novel set in modern-day England with countryside wartime flashbacks, and there is a castle. That is perfect for a “curl up on the couch while it’s raining” kind of day.
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