Sunday, November 21, 2010
The Distant Hours
I was raised on mini-series and multi-generational novels. If it was a chubby saga that covered a minimum of forty years I was all over it. I am author Kate Morton's demographic. With The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden Morton established herself as the go to girl for Gothic adventure. She has set a new standard for the long suffering heroine. It's all very enthralling: long hidden secrets, lies, betrayals, misplaced loyalties, lovers torn apart, unwanted pregnancies, class structures and the letter that would have changed everything that never got there. Ah. It's the classics that keep you wanting more.
Morton's outstanding new novel, The Distant Hours follows daughter Edie as she pursues the dark secrets her mother, Meredith, has kept for most of her life. Meredith was evacuated as a child from the London Blitz to Millerhurst Castle. At that time the castle was home to Raymond Blythe the author of a classic children's novel and his three daughters. Sixty years later the tenants of the now decrepit Millerhurst Castle are still there and yet not all there... Edie has vague memories of being at that castle as a child and she know that is where she will uncover the truth.
Morton had this reader gobbling up every revelation, every dastardly deed and every bittersweet victory. Don't think however that this novel is one long, over the top soap opera. It is unashamedly dramatic but it is grounded in Morton's ability to explore relationships believably. Mothers and daughters, siblings the dynamics are all dissected. The Distant Hours is enormously satisfying. It's a twisty ride up the mountain for 300 pages and a breathtaking plunge to the bottom at the end.
P.S. And you know the lovely covers don't hurt either.