The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The Distant Hours
By Kate Morton
576 pages, $26.00
Atria, November 9, 2010

 A letter written in 1941 finally reaches its destination in 1992. Its arrival throws the recipient, Meredith Burchill into tears. Meredith’s daughter Edie embarks on a journey that leads her to the dark and decaying, perfectly gloomy, Milderhurst Castle in Kent where her mother was evacuated during the war.

In The Distant Hours, a story spanning two generations and fifty years, Kate Morton is at her best. She gently takes us from 1992 London to 1941 Kent. We meet the three elderly, eccentric Blythe sisters, and then Morton takes us back to 1941 where see them at Milderhurst as they were with their lives yet to be lived. We learn that Meredith was evacuated to the Milderhurst Castle as a young teen during the war and that the dark secrets she encountered there are still able to affect lives today.

As more mysteries are uncovered, Edie is further bewildered when she learns that the author of her favorite childhood book, The True History of the Mud Man, was written by Raymond Blythe, the father of the three sisters. There are so many questions to be answered and so many puzzles to be put together. There were so many lives torn apart. What happened at Milderhurst in the days of WW II, when children were evacuated to the countryside, when blackouts happened nightly and regular bombings rumbled building and took lives?

Kate Morton has again written a richly layered, well told saga of families and secrets. I love Morton’s books and have to say that I think The Distant Hours is my new favorite. Bake up a batch of scones and brew a pot of Earl Grey and enjoy this haunting story.

If I gave stars, this one would get 4 1/2 out of 5.

Kate Morton, a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. She lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.

Source:  I received this book from the publisher at my request and in no way did this affect my review.

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