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The Distant Hours Audiobook

The Distant Hours

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Richard Carolina Beach, NC, United States 07-15-14
    Richard Carolina Beach, NC, United States 07-15-14 Member Since 2007

    I'm a voracious reader who unfortunately spends a lot of time on the road. Audiobooks make my life a lot better.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The writing is superb, BUT..."

    Reviewing this book is difficult for me. I often wondered what made me download it in the first place. I think must have been the blurb and the on-line ratings/reviews, but going back to look at them, I'm not sure I recognize any of them.

    What kept me going, and made me ultimately finish this book was not the story, which really didn't do much for me. It seemed a bit contrived, a kind of mystery without much point to it, by my lights. By the time I finally found out what actually happened, it seemed like I had already considered every possible solution, although whether I really considered the actual solution is something I can't recall.

    No, what made me finish the book was the writing. The author is a superb writer, and can make even things that are pretty uninteresting tweak one's ears. Her imagery is incredibly vivid, and some of the metaphors and similes she comes up with just made me smile while I was listening and wondering why I can't write in a similar manner. I wish I had written down some examples to quote here, but I'm certainly not going back to find them.

    And I can't say that the narration wasn't a big part of it. I am one of many Americans who find British accents very appealing to the ear. I suspect that if this was read in a bland Midwest US accent I would have not finished it and even returned it. Whether I would have do so with a print version we'll never know.

    The story was so convoluted that I think know I lost my place at least twice and listened to quite a few minutes over again; it took me a while to find where I left off and even then I wasn't sure. It didn't make me as mad as it could have in other books, because listening to her prose again was never bad.

    And yeah, I guess it's a "chick book" and I'm a guy, but one who often likes chick books. Usually what I like about these books are the deeply developed characters. The cast in this book seem a bit thin to me and the switching back and forth between 1941 and the 1990's was not really done all that smoothly; it's hard to do anyway, and I guess this story would have been almost impossible to tell without shifting timelines, so I'm not sure how the author could fix this issue in a way that would make me happy.

    In short, I wouldn't think of returning the book; I got too much pleasure out of listening to it. I think it's probably MUCH better audio than in print, and the author's lyrical and imagery writing skills are prodigious. If you don't like female English accents for a very long book, then it's not for you (although this was not a minus for me)

    Although I will certainly check out the author's other selections on Audible, I will be very careful and drag my feet before buying another Kate Morton book unless I can be a little more sure of the plot line.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L.W. 05-07-13
    L.W. 05-07-13

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kate Morton is a premium writer...."

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia D. 01-26-11
    Patricia D. 01-26-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Superb listening"

    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

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-27-10
    12-27-10 Member Since 2017
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    "tiresome "who dun it"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DL 12-15-11
    DL 12-15-11
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    "Just okay..."

    I think the title of this book gives you a preview of the way you will feel when reading it. That is, "The distant hours from now that I will finally finish this very long story that is sure taking a long time to develop...those hours just seem so far away right now (because they are!)"

    I really enjoyed the Forgotten Garden, so I was excited about The Distant Hours. However, I was left feeling "meh" about the story. Some of the characters appear to be Sociopaths (anyone that has read or listened to "The Sociopath Next Door" would likely agree) but then their actions are not consistent with what appears to be their agenda.

    The book was very depressing for me. Dark. Sad. Just a lot of melancholy and sadness. The bright spots were so few. I think before I read/listen to another Kate Morton, I will read the reviews.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 05-25-15
    Barbara 05-25-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow and pointless"
    What disappointed you about The Distant Hours?

    After five hours, not much has happened. I've lost interest.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kate Morton again?

    I've listened to several Kate Morton books and, while they are light romances (not my preferred genre), they have held my interest and I've enjoyed the characters. Not so with Distant Hours.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The reader sounds overly enthusiastic...almost silly and bubbly. Maybe that's a reflection of the book. The books shifts from present day to WWII often. There is insufficient break in the reading to cue the listener that we're going to a different time period so I was always confused and backing up.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jean Tampa, Florida, United States 09-16-13
    jean Tampa, Florida, United States 09-16-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Long and slow"
    What would have made The Distant Hours better?

    I loved the Secret Keeper so had great expectations of this book but it was very long and slow and I just didn't like the story. I kept persevering with it but it was very long and boring. The ending picked up a little.


    What could Kate Morton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I would have enjoyed it much better if the reader was more accomplished at English accents.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Caroline Lee’s performances?

    I found Caroline Lee's accent very confusing until I realized that she has an Australian accent! I would try another of her performances if she was reading an Australian book but not with her attempting an English accent.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Distant Hours?

    I would have cut the whole Mud Man scenario. I didn't find it interesting or appealing. I suppose that was the whole premise of the book which is why I didn't enjoy it.


    Any additional comments?

    I do enjoy books about life during Second World War Britain.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mhurban 09-08-11
    mhurban 09-08-11 Member Since 2015
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    "So sad yet so beautiful."

    It took a bit to get into this book, but it's definitely worth hanging in there. I loved the voice of the narrator! A really wonderful book!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MissSusie66 09-02-11
    MissSusie66 09-02-11 Member Since 2010

    MissSusie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great combination of story & narrator!"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerrie 07-31-11
    Kerrie 07-31-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it."

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • sjtroddy
    2/1/11
    Overall
    "australian!"

    I've just come to the end of this book ... it's a great tale but completely spoilt for me by the australian accents. The 'East End of London' australian accent of the war years didn't 'do it' for me I'm afraid. The yarn is quite a good one but - and I'm sorry there is a 'but' - it's rather drawn out and predictable at the end ... I ended up guessing (correctly) what was going to happen next. However, I always buy nice long books to see me through the night and this was a good, long tale, with twists and turns. A bit lightweight as it turns out but good to pass the time of night ...

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Jane
    Stanhoe, King's Lynn, Norfolk, United Kingdom
    1/25/11
    Overall
    "Down to you"

    The Distant Hours in very much in the style of the gothic novel and the extent to which you enjoy it is down to you.
    As a sporadic gothic reader,this was a good yarn that kept me engaged (although I must admit I occasionally dropped off and then spent ages looking for the last bit I recognised though not while I was in the car I might add.
    If you're looking for great literature, apt to nitpick about writing style and historical accuracy this is not for you. There's nothing glaring and nothing that stops this being a well crafted engaging story throughout.
    On reading other reviews,I was struck by how polarised they were.
    When I was tired from work and had a long car journey ahead of me at the weekend, this was great entertainment. Enjoy

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Madgey
    1/24/11
    Overall
    "Captivating ...Do not miss"

    Moreton creates the most endearing characters and I felt every nuance of emotion as I listened to this wonderful tale. The intrigue was fabulous and I was as excited as the lead character Edie Burchill as the mysteries unfolded. I could truly see the castle in my minds eye & my heart was pounding as ?I? walked the castle corridors along with Edie & the Sisters Blithe. There are so many different strands to this narrative; each character having a specific tale to tell, each story intertwines, impacting on each other. The twists and turns keep you hooked until the very last page. I took long walks, looked for excuses to go out in the car, unnecessary housework and even went to the gym just to allow me to keep listening ! Narration excellent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    Romsley Halesowen, United Kingdom
    10/31/11
    Overall
    "Enjoyable"

    This book is not quite as good as the first 2 (House at Riverton & Forgotten Garden) But enjoyable non the less.. My one gripe is that The narrator is an Australian doing a rather poor English accent. If its an english Story, why not get an English person to narrate?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Purple Sunflower
    Manchester, England
    10/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Plodding story, but a relaxing listen."
    Would you try another book written by Kate Morton or narrated by Caroline Lee?

    Maybe not.


    Would you recommend The Distant Hours to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes if they wanted a relaxing story that moved at a pedantic pace.


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Caroline Lee?

    Not sure.


    Do you think The Distant Hours needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I didn't get to the end of the book. But may possibly revisit at a later stage.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KG
    UK
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "A great listen"

    The Distant Hours is an intriguing listen, beautifully read by Caroline Lee. Her voice suits the narrator role and makes the storytelling all the more believable. The story, itself, builds gradually and holds your attention as it unfolds over differing timeframes and dimensions. All of the characters add something to the tale and you are drawn into each part of the story, almost forgetting where you were before until that character's narrative is picked up again. Overall, a very engaging listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia A. Thompson
    UK
    5/16/12
    Overall
    "Lost Hours"

    I was completely engrossed listening to this book, hence the title of the review. I got lost in this story for hours on end. I found all the characters completely believable, some not particularly likeable, but each one drew me in to the story. There was a shade of the Miss Haversham's with unrequited love and I've always loved Great Expectations, so that's perhaps why this drew me in so well. A mystery, a ghost story and one that kept me listening and eager to know more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joan
    Co Wicklow, Ireland
    4/17/12
    Overall
    "The narrator's accent really grates"

    The story is wonderful, but heavens above, the telling of this tale is really marred by the choice of an Australian to narrate a very British story.
    I would give the book a 4 or even a 5 - but the narrator's accent really grated on my nerves and I was conscious of it the whole time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deborah
    Stafford, United Kingdom
    1/13/12
    Overall
    "Compelling"

    The author never fails, this is an easy listen. I was initially unsure re the readers accent and didn't know if it suited the story but was soon dying to go to bed to listen further.I loved it but preferred the authors other other books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joanna
    Haslemere, United Kingdom
    11/21/11
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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