“…the very process of studying this book led me to look carefully at myself with an awareness of how the challenges of my life can be the fuel that will enable me to swim against the stream, against cultural currents, against all forms of adversity inherent in my most important goals.”
– From the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, Ph.D., author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Why is it that books that you love the most are the hardest to describe? I sat in front of my laptop for more than a hour , after I had finished reading the book and yet was unable to formulate a word other than “WOW!”.
Kate Morton is one of my top 5 favorite authors. I loved her other 2 books and I devoured the 600 plus pages of this book in less than one day.I was incapable of sleeping – the story and the characters pulled me in so deep that sleep was really the last thought I had.
I had been awaiting this book more than any other book this year. The wait has been more than worth it.
There is such a haunting quality to this book which makes it one that you cannot forget easily.There were sentences and whole paragraphs that still resonate in my ears.Kate Morton’s beautiful writing is one of the major reasons why I am such a big fan of hers.Her lyrical prose will stay with you. I can actually quote lines from this book (something I thought I was not capable of)- such was the writing.
The setting , a gothic castle, is a character in itself. Such is the author’s writing that the castle seems as alive as its occupants.In its veins, runs the secrets from long ago.Kate Morton’s breathtaking description of the castle will make you feel as if you are there.Her descriptions are so evocative, so beautiful that it leaves you wanting for more.
Entwined with the suspense element is a heart-wrenching story of three sisters that won’t fail to move you.The sisters and their story will break your heart. I felt their pain, their fears . Imagine being a prisoner in your own home with no dreams or hope for a future. I could feel the castle walls binding them, suffocating them.
Throughout the book, I tried to prepare myself for the final shocking conclusion -as the secrets are revealed.Yet I was completely taken aback by the ending which was a disquieting one.
The story’s movement between the past and the present is smooth and beautifully done.As each chapter unfolds, we get to know more about the past. Slowly, we are able to piece together the parts to form a complete picture. As secret after secret unravels, years of secrets,betrayal, heartbreaks, tragedies, will shock you. This dark and haunting story will unnerve you and yet won’t fail to touch you.
There are certain chilling moments, I shuddered at some points. Its not something very in your face..its something lying just beneath the surface..something not visible.. that creeps you out.
Even after an astounding ending ,I still felt as if there were still things left to the reader to decipher and interpret – the castle had still not revealed all its secrets.
The castle, the sisters, their tragic story – they will linger with you , long after you have read the last page.
The Distant Hours is a perfect read for a rainy night. It has all the makings of a prefect gothic novel- family secrets, an old castle, mysterious deaths, a letter from long ago and madness running through a family .
Even though this is a huge book , I wanted more pages to miraculously appear. Its one of those books which made me want to read on and on.
I think I am a Kate Morton fanatic for life now. This masterpiece of a book has made me very sure that no matter how much I have to wait for her next book, it will be definitely worth it.Its beacause of books like these that I love reading.
Favorite Quote: There were so many , but if I have to choose one, it would be-
“The ancient walls sing the distant hours..”
Somehow this one sentence affected me a lot. It made me think of the past memories. It was so suited for this story. Every old house has its memories-painful and happy.Maybe when you are quiet, you can hear the voices of the people from the past-people who have lived and loved and died. This quote also made me think of something menacing lurking beneath the memories – I guess this was what the author wanted.When the author described the castle, I almost felt all the grief, the happiness, hidden in the castle walls and yet found it so hard to completely penetrate the secrets of the hours gone by.
Overall: Haunting, engrossing and shocking! I wish there was a stronger word to describe how much I love this book. After almost a year, this is a new addition to my list of favorite books.
Recommended? YES ! A thousand times yes! No matter what genre you read, do give Kate Morton’s books a try. Though there are many talented young authors today, Kate Morton is still my favorite.
The House at Riverton-Kate Morton
The Forgotten Garden-Kate Morton
Arcadia Falls – Carol Goodman
- Misha, Amazon Review
Weird sisters haunt a crumbling castle
The Washington Post Book Review – December 1, 2010 (Excerpt)
Kate Morton writes gothic-inspired novels about grand British houses of yesteryear: “The House at Riverton” chronicled a servant’s-eye view of the Edwardian era, while “The Forgotten Garden” carried a colonial orphan’s dreams backward and forward over a century. Now, in “The Distant Hours,” Morton turns to her largest house yet, an actual castle – and it’s crumbling. Can the symbolism get any more obvious?
Actually, in Morton’s hands, it’s not obvious at all. “The Distant Hours” demonstrates a new leap in Morton’s authorial choreography. Although the novel would have benefited from some judicious cuts, its multiple story lines intersect in a satisfying conclusion that will leave no reader feeling cheated. [Read the full article...]