The concept of the story was what initially enticed me to chose The Distant Hours. I love anything to do with books, castles, and dark family secrets. I have read Morton's The Forgotten Garden and really enjoyed it so I thought I would give another one a go and this book has such great reviews, how could I go wrong! However, this audio book fell a little flat for me. Like I said, conceptually this is a great story. It is entertaining and it kept me guessing the whole way through. What I didn't enjoy though was that Morton drags some parts of the story on for ages! I really wish she had cut down the parts about Milderhurst Castle during the war and maybe spent more time focusing on either Eddie's life, or the relationship between Raymond Blythe and his daughter Juniper. There is way too much unnecessary information pumped into the middle of the book and I had a hard time keeping interested in the story. The other thing that bothers me about The Distant Hours is the random sub-plots that do nothing to add to the essential story and feel like empty fillings instead of essential plot elements. One example being the hinted-at lesbian relationship between Percy and Lucy. It just seemed so random to me, as if Morton was just trying to throw in obscure elements for the sake of another plot twist. The book already has enough interesting plot twist to not need trivial ones.
On the good side of things, I thought that the characters were all fairly well developed (except for Seraphina). I like it when an author can actually make me shout out loud and shake my fist at characters out of anger when they do something irritating (such as when Percy stops Seraphina from pursuing her dreams of leaving the castle).
Overall a good concept and a decent enough performance, but very boring at times and some of the plot twists seem a bit forced. If someone is interested in getting into Kate Morton's books, I think I would recommend The Forgotten Garden first over The Distant Hours.
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