The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

the-distant-hoursAt last, I finished reading Kate Morton’s third book, The Distant Hours! I have been reading this book on and off for quite some time.  I’ve read The Forgotten Garden (her second book) and absolutely loved it and then I read The House at Riverton, which I might not have liked as much as the former, but it was just as enjoyable. That made me really excited about her third book, which I expected to be even better than the second book, but it wasn’t…

The story is about a young lady, Edie Burchill, who visited the Milderhurst Castle out of curiosity, 50 years after her mother was evacuated there. What also sparked her curiosity was that her mother received a long lost letter, from one of the sisters who inhabits the castle, much to her upset and refused to speak about it.

Edie’s love for reading and literature started when she read Raymond Blythe’s novel “The true history of the mud man” – the father of the 3 sisters who lives at Milderhurst castle: Twins Saffy and Percy and the younger sister Juniper.  Edie finds herself back at the castle, upon Percy’s request to write an introduction for the republication of Raymond’s classic novel and discovers the dark secrets that lies beneath the walls of Milderhurst castle…

To be completely honest, the book did not hook me.  The copy I had was 680 pages, and I found the first 150 pages interesting, but from there onwards until about page 480 I felt that the book dragged.  During the time that I read this book, I also finished In the Woods, The Other Child and Matilda.  It was only in the last 200 pages that I felt the story started to pick up and I became interested in finishing it, just to be disappointed by the ending of the story.

A quote from the book that I loved:  “I can’t imagine facing the end of the day without a story to drop into on my way towards sleep”(p587).  I am an insomniac, therefore I love to read until I eventually fall asleep as oppose to counting sheep. Reading The Distant Hours was a sure way of putting me to sleep. I am not saying it to be mean; I just found half of the book just so boring.

If you love Kate Morton, do read the book, especially if you already read the first two. If you are not familiar with her work, I suggest you read either of the first two and give this one a skip. For those who loved this book, I apologise for my lukewarm review. We can’t like them all, can we?

Have you read this one? If so, did you like it or did you also find this was not an improvement on her former two books?

Rating: ★★★

Image source

  • You’re the second person within a week who has said much the same thing about this book to me. As I wasn’t that impressed by the earlier novels I guess that means this isn’t one for me.

    • If you didn’t like The Forgotten Garden (which I think is the best one of the 3) then don’t bother to read this one. I am not saying the book is bad, I just got bored with it. I kept abadoning it for something else…

    • Make it three. I feel the same way.

      • I mean it wasn’t BAD, it just weren’t good…

  • I haven’t read anything by her but I have to say, that is a lovely cover! 🙂

    • It really is, you should see it – it looks like velvet 🙂

  • Great review. I am actually very curious because I have heard more people say this is the least of all her books. I might just have to pick it up and read 🙂

    • Thanks Ciska. You should definitely read it for yourself, especially since you are familiar with her other books. I hope you will like it more than me 🙂

  • I’ve only read The House at Riverton which I actually really liked! Not sure if I’ll ever get around to this one, although I’d like to read The Forgotten Garden…one day…!

    • Brie, you should read The Forgotten Garden – it is my favourite.

  • Boo I love this book 🙂

    • Sorry !! 🙁

      • Obviously I will look past this indiscretion on your part 😉
        Suppose Kate Morton can’t please everyone ha ha and I completely and fully respect your opinion and look forward to your views in the future giiirly 🙂

        • The book wasn’t BAD, her writing was still good. It’s just that I found the book dragged in the middle and that I lost interest. It did become interesting towards the end, but then the ending fell flat, I expected a little more. Atleast I finished the book 🙂

  • This was definitely my least favorite of hers. My review actually begins with the following sentence:

    “I can’t decide if I’m pleased with or disappointed in this book, which is rough because I love Kate Morton.”

    It makes me so sad!

    • I remember reading your post. I think I expected too much, after reading The Forgotten Garden. Hopefully The Secret Keeper is better… I don’t have the book yet.

  • I actually liked this book very much: http://wordsandpeace.com/2013/03/07/book-review-the-distant-hours/
    I have read all of Morton’s books.
    My least loved was The House at Riverton, but maybe because I had to pace myself, as it was for a read-along. My favorite is either The Forgotten Garden or The Secret Keeper.

    • I haven’t read The Secret Keeper yet and I really want too! I will check out your post, I’m glad you liked it though. I guess the book just wasn’t for me.

    • I checked it out – and I saw I commented on your post on the 14th of March 🙂

  • Aw, it’s too bad that you didn’t like it. It always feels like a shame to invest so much time reading a longer book that isn’t very enjoyable. I haven’t read Kate Morton yet, but I have The Secret Keeper waiting on my shelf. Here’s hoping it’s a more entertaining read than this one!

    • I want to read The Secret Keeper too, I hope it’s good! I enjoy Kate Morton’s novels, maybe I expected too much. The storyline wasn’t too bad, I just felt it dragged too much in the middle of the book. Oh well…

  • I really still want to read The Forgotten Garden. There is always that one odd book of an author that you will find you don’t like. I have to admit, I am not that into historical fiction but I will read great historical fiction novels. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • You should read The Forgotten Garden, soon! Yes, I guess you right about there will always be one odd book you don’t like.
      I love historical fiction, but this one wasn’t a historical fiction…

      I’m glad you enjoy my reviews 🙂 And yes I must always share, even if I don’t like a book, right?

  • I’ve only read one Kate Morton Book- The Secret Keeper which I really, really enjoyed and I’ve wanted to pick up another of her titles.Maybe I’ll give The Forgotten Garden a go. It’s hard to get motivated about a book at over 500 pages when it’s not only slow to start but slow up until past the midway point. Sounds like it was worth persevering though.

    • Everyone tells me The Secret Keeper is good, so I will have to read it! I really liked The Forgotten Garden – you should read it when you get a chance. I like Kate Morton’s novels, so I had to finish it. It wasn’t bad, it was just a slow read, I couldn’t get into it 🙁

  • I liked this one, but I liked The Forgotten Garden better.

    • The Forgotten Garden is my favourite too, so far.

  • That is such a long book!!!! Especially for one that you’re not in love with.

    • It’s quite long yes. Now you can understand why I read 3 other books in the same time 😉

  • Isi

    I haven’t read it but I’ve read several reviews saying the same you are saying about it: that it is boring. It’s a shame, because Kate Morton can be very-very good, but I suppose all the authors have to have a less-good book 🙂
    I’ve read The forgotten garden, that I liked very much, and The secret keeper, that I really loved.
    And The distant hours is there, on the shelf…

    • I like Kate Morton too and I agree every author has that one book someone don’t like. For me, Kate Morton’s Distant Hours weren’t as good as the 1st two, while Kristen likes this one best. I guess it’s subjective 🙂

      I must still read The Secret Keeper!

      • Isi

        I have to say The secret keeper is better than The forgotten garden because there is a romance story between the characters that makes the story unique. I’m sure you will love it!

        • Then I have to get the book 🙂 Thanks for telling me!!

  • You were dedicated to stick with a long book like that when it wasn’t hooking you. I still want to try Morton’s work – it sounds like I should start with The Forgotten Garden.

    • I love Kate Morton and I guess that’s why I had to finish the book. So far The Forgotten Garden is my favourite book by her. I’m yet to read the fourth. Thanks for stopping by!