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The Distant Hours

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  50,536 Ratings  ·  6,039 Reviews
The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Forgotten Garden mesmerizes readers with this haunting tale of long-buried secrets and the twists of fate that can alter lives forever.

It starts with a letter, lost for half a century and unexpectedly delivered to Edie’s mother on a Sunday afternoon. The letter leads Edie to Milderhurst Castle, where the eccentric Blythe spi
Paperback, 562 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Washington Square Press (first published November 1st 2010)
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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
Sep 13, 2010 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
Nov 19, 2010 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
Jun 10, 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
Jan 19, 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
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
Sep 03, 2015 Beatriz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un relato exquisito, una narración que envuelve los sentidos. Entra en la categoría de aquellas obras que terminas sin darte cuenta. Es un libro de amores y desamores, de admiración y decepción, de respeto e intolerancia. Un secreto familiar que sale a la luz de la forma más inesperada, a través del poder de las letras contenidas en una carta abierta por casualidad cincuenta años más tarde de lo previsto, y letras que trascienden más allá de las propias páginas del libro que las contiene. Porque ...more
Morana Mazor
Jan 01, 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
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
Aug 17, 2012 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
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.

 photo mystory_zps1fdjlfts.gif

But then it delivered nothing but a whole lot of empty promises until about page 4 million and 80. Then the twists and t
Sara Steger
Feb 02, 2013 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
Feb 17, 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
Nov 04, 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
Dec 28, 2010 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
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
Aug 01, 2013 Britany rated it really liked it
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
Oct 13, 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
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
Janset Atacan
Nereden başlamalıyım bilmiyorum, hatta bu kitabın sonu ve başlangıcı olup olmadığından bile emin değilim. Kitap Çamur Adamın Hikayesi'nin giriş bölümüyle başlıyor. Çamur Adam küçük bir kızın kabusu ve umudunu yitirmiş bir adamın yeni serüveni. Blytheler Milderhurst Kalesi'nde yaşayan 3 kız kardeş. Hikayeleri çok eskilere dayanıyor. Juniper; uçarı bir genç kız.Kanında delilik var.Ne zaman ne yapacağını kestiremiyor kimse. Şiirler yazıyor yemek sofrasında havuzda çıplak yüzüyor. Percy; kardeşlerin ...more
Susan Johnson
Mar 26, 2011 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely story that reads like a lyrical poem. It reminds me so much of "Rebecca" by Daphne DuMaurier. The physical reaction that a house like Manderly or a castle like Milderhurst evokes is so similar that the connection is quite apparent. The misunderstanding of people's relationships is apparent and the story drives itself from there. As layer after layer is peeled back, the reader becomes so engrossed until the surprising ending when everything is revealed. A truly wonderous novel th ...more
Oct 13, 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
Sandra Bašić
"Ne mogu zamisliti svršetak dana bez priče kroz koju bih propala na svom putu prema snu."
Ovaj prekrasan citat je trebao biti zabilježen. Ostalo? Pa, ne baš. Ovo je još jedna knjiga za koju trebam među-ocjenu, realno bi to ovog puta bilo 2.5.

Inače jako volim romane koji su "priče u priči" - otkrivanje jedne davne prošlosti u sadašnjim trenucima. Međutim, ovi trenuci mene su strašno umorili. Nisam se nikako mogla poistovjetiti s likovima, s tom posesivnom sestrinskom ljubavlju, sebičnošću, strahom
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
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
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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...

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“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.” 149 likes
“After all, it's the librarian's sworn purpose to bring books together with their one true reader.” 61 likes
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