Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: The Distant Hours

Kate Morton is waaaaay up there on my list of favorite contemporary authors. I loved The House at Riverton, and I think I love The Distant Hours even more.

The novel begins with a lost bag of mail and a letter delivered to Edie's mother 40 years too late. Edie is fascinated to learn that her stodgy mother once lived in a castle with a famous author and his three daughters. From here the novel journeys to Milderhurst Castle, past and present, and into the lives of the three spinster sisters: Juniper, Percy, and Saffy. Edie and her mother are also wrapped up in the story, as are a cast of other characters who skirt on the edges of their lives.

The Distant Hours is a gothic novel full of mystery, suspense, romance, and hauntings. It isn't a ghost story, but it feels like one in a heart-palpitating, edge-of-your-seat kind of way. Morton is a superb writer and mesmerizing storyteller. Her prose is lyrical and her characters so well-drawn that I can still see them clearly, weeks after finishing the book. This is one of those books that I thought about during the day and couldn't wait to get to in the evenings. I read the last part slowly, reluctant to come to the end and leave the fascinating Blythe sisters.

Morton manages to let the castle keep some secrets and yet tie up the stories in a satisfying way, and I love that. Although the story is terribly sad in many ways, she manages to wrap it all up in an optimistic fashion. She does a masterful job balancing the haunting quality of the book with the practicality of modern day Edie, who is a young woman scorned in love.

I highly recommend this novel! Fortunately, I still have one more Morton novel, The Forgotten Garden, to enjoy.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Sounds wonderful!

Lori Johnston said...

This book sounds fantastic. I am definitely adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the heads up with your strong review.