I almost gave up on The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton. It was moving slowly, I just wasn’t in the mood, and the book was too long. That’s what I thought anyway. I’ll tell you upfront that I am totally happy that I kept with the book. It is long, and it does move at a slow pace, but everything fits and the story is satisfyingly wrapped up in the end, with most of the mysteries being resolved.
The story begins with Edie discovering a part of her mother’s life that she had never known. As a young girl, Meridith was evacuated to the countryside during World War II. During this time frame, she lived at Milderhurst Castle with the odd trio of Blythe sisters. The novel jumps time frames, with the modern focusing on Edie discovering the secrets of the house, the sisters, and the mystery revolving around Mr. Blythe’s famous novel, “The True History of the Mud Man”. The flashbacks to the past are narrated by Saffy Blythe, her twin sister Percy, and the young Juniper Blythe.
The author does a wonderful job of making Milderhurst come alive, both during the war and in more modern days. Each sister has their own dreams and secrets and yet you can feel the fierce protectiveness they have for each other and as a reader you know they would stick together, through anything. When all is finally resolved, it all clicks and makes so much sense. While parts are disturbing, and I may have a few nightmares about the Mud Man, I really feel that the story was completely satisfying. I definitely recommend it, even if it takes you a while to read!