I take a look at books by Australian author Kate Morton.
Having just finished reading ‘The Distant Hours’ by Kate Morton I decided to write a blog looking at her work. ‘The Distant Hours’ was the third novel by Morton that I had read, having picked up ‘The House at Riverton’ when it was a Richard & Judy book club pick. You can read more about their current book club picks here.
Currently Morton has released 5 novels, the latest being ‘The Lake House’ released in October 2015. I take a look at each of her titles.
The House at Riverton (also titled The Shifting Fog)
This is the novel I picked up when it was part of the Richard and Judy book club and the first Kate Morton novel I read. It flicks between past and present throughout the novel and can get confusing at times remember who is who, but it is a really enjoyable read and full of mystery until the last few pages!
During the summer of 1924 at a glittering Society party a young poet takes his life, the only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.
Forward to the winter of 1999, Grace Bradley aged 98 and a onetime housemaid of Riverton Manor is visited by a young director making a film about the suicide at the party. She tells of the secret that history has forgotten but she never has.
I love the twists in this story and like all her other novels, the way in which the story is told keeps you hooked!
The Forgotten Garden
This is one of the novels that I am yet to read, I’m waiting for it to appear in my local library. The blurbs tells of a little girl who is found abandoned on a ship to Australia, on the eve of the First World War. The women who has promised to look after her has disappeared without a trace.
On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell O’Connor learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.
After Nell’s death, her grand-daughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold – secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairy tales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.
I think this one sounds so good! I love that Kate Morton novels all have some sort of link to Cornwall and grand manor houses, it makes them very voyeuristic and enjoyable for me.
The Distant Hours
The novel that I have just finished reading, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as ‘The Lake House’ it is still a good book. It tells the story of Edie, who has never been close to her mother but when a long-lost letter arrives with the return address to a Castle in Kent, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.
The blurb reads: ‘Evacuated from London as a thirteen-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond, author of the 1918 children’s classic The True History of the Mud Man. In the grand and glorious Milderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie’s mother. She discovers the joys of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers.
Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle, she, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.’
Another novel filled with mystery and twists, lunacy and other secrets it makes for great reading and any Kate Morton fans would enjoy.
The Secret Keeper
The only other novel out of the five that I haven’t read, again this one is on my ‘To Be Read’ list and I hope it isn’t long before I have the chance to read it. Another novel that flicks between the 1930s, 1960s and the present following Laurel, who witnesses a shocking crime in 1961 that changes her future.
Fast forward to 2011 and Laurel is a much-loved actress haunted by memories and the mystery of what she witnessed in 1961 she returns home and starts piecing together the puzzle.
The Lake House
This novel is my favourite by Kate Morton, although it’s lengthy and a little bit farfetched at the end (sorry!) it is really good and has lots of unanswered questions throughout that keep you turning the pages.
Again, like the majority of Kate’s novels, the story jumps between 1933 and the present day and is set in Cornwall. This novel is based around the mystery of a missing child from the Edevane family.
Ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party, Alice Edevane is sixteen years old and a budding writer. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel she’s been writing in her journal, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.
Skip to the present day and Sadie, a detective who has been put on leave for getting to involved with a case, goes down to Cornwall to visit her Grandfather. While out jogging with his dogs, she stumbles across Loeanneth the former manor house that now sits abandoned. Intrigued by why it would be left to rot, she sets out to find out more and then uncovers a case which she feels she has to solve.
For a bit more detail on all of the Kate Morton novels, check out the video below by YouTuber ‘Life Between Words‘ who gives her view. If you check out her channel she also has lots of other book related videos!
What do you think of Kate Morton? Have you read any of her books? As always let me know in the comments – I love hearing from you!