The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours, Kate Morton

I picked this up as a bit of a summer concession, a little treat for myself. I was expecting it to be a bit, well, rubbish… but in an enjoyable way. So with these staggeringly low expectations I was pleasantly surprised. While The Distant Hours does seem to be a loving tribute to some excellent english gothic novels (Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, Bleak House, anything by Susan Hill) it doesn’t quite measure up. Mainly because its too slow. Sure, there are a lot of stories going on and there is a lot of switching between the 1939-1941 and 1992 (which was done really well) but it needed much more momentum.

There are however, some things that Morton does really well that does make the novel worth reading:

  • Characters – I grew quite attached to the sisters sitting up in the castle, and I did like the bookish main character.
  • Castles – Excellent gothic setting, crumbling, creaking, mad writers in the attic. The war time setting was obviously a real interest to Morton and was very convincing. Well done.
  • Twists – I was guessing what was going to happen all the way through, and normally I am content to just sit and read my way to the end. And despite guessing about a billion different endings, I was still surprised.

She spins a good yarn.