Monday, November 8, 2010

REVIEW: THE DISTANT HOURS BY KATE MORTON


Release date: November 9, 2010
576 pages

Firstly I want to thank Anneliese of Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of this book!  I was so thrilled to get one as I read and LOVED The Forgotten Garden.

Here is the blurb from the inside jacket:
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 
The Distant Hours is in the same vein as Morton's other books as in there is a mystery that is introduced and as the story unfolds each layer brings us closer and closer to the truth.  Kate Morton has a lovely way of leading us through a story.  Some reviewers have admitted to getting distracted by the length of time it takes her to get from point A to point B, and while I understand their point, it really doesn't bother me.  But what is interesting is that just like with Forgotten Garden I found I really didn't get totally hooked into the story until about 1/2 way through.  That's not saying I didn't enjoy it up till that point, but it just didn't GRAB me.  But once it did, well, I just couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

I love the way the author weaves various time periods together.  As with FG there is a modern day person trying to uncover the mystery of a person in the past.  In fact in that way the stories are very similar.  I won't be reading another Kate Morton book for awhile because I have a sneaky suspicion that that is her style of story telling, and while I'm not complaining you wouldn't want to read too many of her books back-to-back like I just did.

Much of the story revolves around a castle, and if you know me at all, you know that I'm totally bat crazy about castles.  And although this one isn't exactly medieval like I would dream about, it's still dank and stoney and musty and kewl.  

And I am SO GLAD that the author dropped the weird way of structuring sentences as in Forgotten.  I forgot to mention it in my review which you can read here.  But here's the thing, if you are going to write something, why on earth would you do this:

She saw him laughing in the corner, couldn't bear to watch.

                                       OR

She collapsed on the bed from sheer exhaustion, didn't dare to look up.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?  When I was reading the last book, every single time I would come across one of these crazy sentences I would just boil.  It drove me NUTS.  I finally had to just let it GO, or I could have never finished it.  And once I just ignored it, I loved the book immensely.  It was like her editor or her felt they had to cut out words to tighten it up.  Thank GOD there was literally only ONE sentence in all of The Distant Hours that was like this.  And because it had to do with on of the more unstable of the Blythe sisters, it somehow made sense.

I think if you are a fan of Kate's books you will love this one.  After I closed the cover I felt very very satisfied, and will recommend it to anyone looking for a great enveloping read.  Like her other books, it's not one you can just read a couple of pages and put it down for a few days, I've found that you have to stay on top of her books.  I get way more out of it if I read it in large chunks for more than 30 minutes at a time.  The stories are fairly complex with a lot of characters and several time periods so it could be easy to not necessarily get lost, but to get "distracted" as one reviewer commented.

The Distant Hours would be a lovely gift for the holidays, it has a gorgeous cover, and it is a perfect read for a blustery winter day all cozied up by a fire.  LOVELY!

One last thing:
Here is an EXTREMELY cool book trailer for it.. most book trailers are kind of cheesy, but this one is very unique and funky...

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton from Pan Macmillan on Vimeo.


RATING: 4.5/5

7 Blabs:

Marg said...

I can't wait to read this, and love, love that trailer!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Oh I am so jealous so many have read this one already...I need to set aside some time but am only 1/3 through a 900+ book right now...LOL

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I am reading this right now and that trailer is perfect for the story! This is my first Kate Morton read and it is a bit different from what I am used to reading. The story and writing are complex but rewarding to read. I enjoyed your review!

Mystica said...

Waiting to find this book!

TheBookGirl said...

I'm so glad to see that you think people who liked her other books will like this one...I loved The House at Riverton, so I have high hopes for this one...Thanks for the review :)

Suzanne said...

I am so excited about starting this book! I have a few reading obligations inbetween, but this is in the wings! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Someone I know told me I HAVE to read Kate's other book, The Forgotten Garden, so I'm putting that on the TBR list thanks partly to you!

Great review!

jewelknits said...

I was in the midst of reading this, but have been cutting back and forth for scheduled review books .. and I really really hate having to do so .. this is one of those books that flows so smoothly .. I love the prose .. I love the story so far .. and reading your review makes me want to toss my other review book and get right back to this one .. but I must stick to my time commitments ... sigh ... Thanks for sharing your thoughts AND for the cool trailer video - I'm usually not a book trailer fan, but you're right, this one is very cool!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

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