My review of ‘The Distant Hours’ by Kate Morton
Earlier in the year I wrote a blog about Kate Morton and her titles and one of the books I hadn’t read was ‘The Distant Hours’. One of my work colleagues brought the book from a charity shop and then passed it on to me when she had finished it. I had it sitting in my TBR pile at work for ages, I picked it up, read a bit, put it away again, until eventually I picked it up properly and have now finished reading it!
I think one of the main things that put me off reading it to begin with was the size of the book, at over 600 pages long I knew it was going to be a commitment when I started it to get it finished. Although it is very long there weren’t any points in the book that I thought ‘this could have been taken out’ or ‘that could have been shorter’ so the length is needed for Morton’s story telling.
This story focuses on Edie, her mum and three sisters – Percy, Saffy and Juniper Blythe who live in the fictional Milderhurst Castle. There are lots of things linking the two families together such as the first book that Edie ever read and her favourite book was written by the sister’s father Raymond. There are also lots of other connections but if I go into any I might wreck some parts of the story so that is all I am saying. Anyway each of these characters has a back story and loads of depth, you feel like you know them quite well by the end of the book and the story is really engaging with twists that you don’t expect. I found myself trying to forward guess what would happen and each time being wrong!
The Ending (no spoilers!)
I only have one criticism of the book and that it that when you reach the conclusion, Morton still goes between characters backwards and forwards as she does throughout the novel, but I found at this point I just wanted to know what happened and what had gone on but instead was having to go backwards and read through lots more before finding out what happened. I think she has done this for suspense and some readers may enjoy that the conclusion is drawn out even further, but for me I just wanted her to get straight to the point!
In terms of her other books, I would say that I prefer The Distant Hours to The Lake House as it isn’t as far fetched and although Morton does a lot of descriptive writing about the castle, I didn’t find it to be repetitive as I did when she was describing scenes in Cornwall in The Lake House.
My favourite book of hers is still The House at Riverton but this story I think would come a close second, lots of good characters, lots of backstory and twists and opportunities for the reader to guess what is going to happen, only for Morton to have lead you down a path and then twists the story in a way you weren’t expecting which I really enjoyed. I would encourage people to look past the length of this book as it is worth the read!
What is the latest book you have read? Have you read this title by Kate Morton? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!