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, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.
Evacuated from London as a 12-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.
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 fiancé 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. For the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it....
©2010 Kate Morton (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Kate Morton has an amazing way with characters and time movement - this is a most wonderful book that challenges the senses and invokes imagination by the reader to come up with an answer - before it comes to us. Wonderful and exciting. Wish she would write many more
My wife picked this book, so you might say that I was pre-disposed to not love it. However, her opinion of it was even lower than mine. It's obvious from the LONG list of acknowledgments following the story that this was a labor of love and that the author genuinely believed it was a masterpiece. However, it was not.
The basic story had twists and turns and was not by any means terrible, but the dialogue, especially the descriptive dialog, was painful. Caroline Lee did a decent job plodding through, but did not add any real value. There are worse books out there, but there a many that are better.
the narrating is goed, but the story seems to go on and on as if the author has no idea where to end. The changes in time are very confusing and the descriptions of characters and their actions are exhausting. The plot is good although at times a bit hard to believe. A good "who dun it"if you have the patience to read through so much trivia.
Say something about yourself!
I never miss a KM book. She is such a weaver of tales. I love her books because they are like a vine it just weaves around you, it's threads unfold more information with a direction to the next unfolding. Her books are not necessarily a one time listen all the way thru. She writes in a way that encourages you to savoir the writing. This story was no different. It took me awhile to get to the end...but that is wonderful. As other reviewers have stated you need to be in the right place to really listen to the story. Caroline Lee is an absolute pleasure to listen to at any time.
I don't want to give anything away but my one critic is the last few chapters. That seemed rushed and not plausible to me....However, I am a true fan of Kate Morton's writing. Each of her books is a treasure to me.
Way too long for a fairly simple story line. It flowed liken like molasses someone put in the fridge. While is true Ms. Norton can paint a scene with her words, it was boring nevertheless. I skipped through 15 hours or so. It wasn't a Secret Garden, too much filler, and a so, so mystery, yawn.
Not sure, maybe. Everyone has the right to another chance.
A novella would have been better suited for the subject matter, less painful.
This book had the great twists and turns and family secrets that Kate Morton has become known for I didn’t want to stop reading/listening to this one and was sad when I had to stop! I just want to gush like a fangirl about Kate Morton I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy all her books. I also can’t say enough about the audio versions Caroline Lee’s narration is so good and I highly recommend all Kate Morton’s books in audiobook format.
After listening to Kate Morton's first two books, I could not wait to hear the new one. It did not disappoint me. As usual Kate weaves the present and the past into a story that grabs you from the beginning. Caroline Lee's reading is entertaining, her acting ability is a great advantage in bringing the characters to life. I would highly recommend this audi book.
Where???s a good editor when you need her? This book is 20th century gothic with a bow to Wuthering Heights, etc. Dickens would understand the economics since his serialized novels were lengthy out of financial necessity. The very complicated plot moves along at a snail???s pace but it managed to come to a complete conclusion tying up all loose ends. There are many dark corners in the story. It???s well written and the narrator captures all the mainly female characters quite well. Still, this cannot make up for the absent editor. If you are patient and like a very slow listen, this will be a rewarding book.
"passes the time, but a bit disappointing"
I really enjoyed Kate Morton's The Shifting Fog/House at Riverton but was a bit disappointed by this. I found it hard to care about the main character, but once it gets going it does carry you along. However, the whole 'mystery' seemed a bit contrived and over-complicated. It is also so drawn out that you have guessed the truth long before you actually get there. It is obviously in the gothic tradition, which I like, but felt like it tried a bit too hard and might have been better had it been simplified. There was a satisfying spooky shiver at the point that I thought was the end, spoilt by an implausible and slightly cheesy postscript.
Good easy listening, with a story which holds your interest till the end.
Big fan of Kate, all her books have been well written and interesting.
As I liked The Forgotten Garden a lot, I chose another audiobook by the same author and also the same narrator. I found the story very engaging. Despite being very long my attention was held throughout the book. All the characters are very interesting and well described. In my opinion the narrator was really good. I am looking forward to the next Kate Morton release, hopefully with the same narrator, Caroline Lee!
"well written & well narrated, an enjoyable listen"
This is the first audio book I have listened to and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story engaged me from start to finish. I must also commend the narrator as she was easy to listen to and narrated the tale well. I would highly recommend it. If you liked the forgotten garden by Kate Morton, you will love this book
I enjoyed listening to The Distant Hours, skillfuly narrated by Caroline Lee. The book entranced me and I loved the characters and the scenery, but I felt the ending was a little weak, hence the four stars.
The narrative is split between two time zones; London in the 1990s and Milderhurst Castle, Kent in WWII. The two are linked by Edie Burchill and her mother who was evacuated to the castle during the war. Under rather strange circumstances, a letter from 1941 arrives for Edie's mother over 50 years late, and she is devastated. Edie can't extract much information from her secretive mother and so, when she finds herself at the gates of Milderhurst Castle a few weeks later, she cannot resist the temptation to investigate. By now the castle is a crumbling heap, barely housing its three elderly sisters.
Personally I found the WWII story line to be the strongest of the two, with the castle as a fourth character amongst the fascinating, intertwined sisters, twins Persephone and Seraphina and their younger sister Juniper. Their father, Raymond Blythe was an authoriatrian man, a writer, author of The True History of the Mud Man, which just happened to be Edie's favourite childhood book. The story of how this book came to be written was fascinating but I was less convinced by some of the other denouements.
I enjoyed The House at Riverton more than The Distant Hours, mainly because the plot seemed stronger. In many ways they are alike; the darkly Gothic buildings forming a backdrop to the narrative. The excess pages that other reviewers commented on, would probably have bothered me too, if I hadn't had the luxury of being narrated to.
"What on earth is going on with the narrator?"
Why oh why would you choose an Australian to read a book mostly set in rural Kent and London's East End during WW2? It is painful to hear an otherwise good actress read in Dick Van Dyke Down Under.
Luckily she didn't spoil a good book for me - I felt it was rather predictable and overlong. But I know Kate Morton is loved by others so don't let me put you off.
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