Book Review: "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton
A letter is delivered to Meredith Burchill 50 years after it was posted, stirring up memories of World War II, and her evacuation to Milderhurst Castle to live with Raymond Blythe and his three daughters. Meredith's own daughter, Edie, becomes curious about her mum's secrecy over the letter and begins a journey of exploration that leads her into the past; a journey towards the secrets her mother has kept for 50 years. Edie is drawn to Milderhurst Castle for another reason. Her favourite story as a child had been The True History of the Mud Man, written by Raymond Blythe.
By Louise Edensor, founder of Meadows Reading Group, Dubai
The narrative is told from a dual perspective: one in the near past (the 1990s) and the other from the past of 50 years ago and World War II, the secrets of each family being gradually revealed between the two narratives. In beautifully evocative and film like narrative, the sights and sounds of both eras are revealed as a backdrop to the careful character development typical of Morton's style. Her writing is not dissimilar to Daphne Du Maurier in her mastery of suspense and imagination, leading the reader deeper and deeper into her characters' lives and secrets.
This is intelligent writing at its best. A compelling and heart-warming narrative that keeps you guessing, but at the same time reminding you that time may move on, but families and their problems and secrets are the same today as they have always been.
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