Friday, 11 February 2011

Distant Hours by Kate Morton

A long awaited new novel from Kate Morton the renowned Australian author of The Shifting Fog and The Forgotten Garden.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading another of Kate Morton's wonderful novels. It is remarkable how an Australian author can write such an instinctive narrative taking place in another country and culture so vividly.

It started with a letter. A letter that had been lost a long time, waiting out half a century in a forgotten postal bag in the dim attic of a nondescript house in Bermondsey... Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long-lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Dent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a thirteen-year-old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond, author of the 1918 children's classic The True History of the Mud Man. in the grand and glorious Milderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie's mother. She discovers the joys of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers.

Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother's riddle, she, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton weaves and develops the personalities and lives of her characters in an intriguing story which builds tension throughout. A book I could not put down and it was not until the very end that they mystery if fully understood.

Jane

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