The Distant Hours

  • by Kate Morton
  • Narrated by Caroline Lee
  • 22 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives 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 13-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family.
Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst 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. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good story, shame about narrator

Story was gripping and well written but the Australian accent of the narrator, for characters mainly from London, was very off putting. I would of expected a narrator to use accents relevant for the story. I found it very frustrating so much so, although I have read other Kate Morton books and enjoyed them, I will not be listening to any others with this particular narrator.
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- Windydotcom

Three Sisters and the rest

This is a story of three sisters and their complicated relationship with each other, their parents, particularly their overbearing father and the people who move in and out of their lives as told by close observer's who happen to be mother and daughter.

If it sounds hard to follow, that's because it is.

The characters are well defined by both the author and the narrator of the story, so that is not the problem but it is hard, towards the end of this really long book, to retain any sympathy for any of them. I kept wanting to scream "Get on with it"! But then I'm not noted for my patience.

The other difficulty which is more specific to Audible books, is that the action flits backwards and forwards between WW2 (and sometimes before) and the present day. This can be confusing. Why it is most confusing in Audible books is that you have no visual reference point. In a book, you can refer to the beginning of the chapter or section for ease, in an Audible, that reference is not easily found.

The other important relationship is that between the narrator of the story (Edie) and her own mother (Meredith) who spent time with the sisters as an evacuee during WW2. It is hard to understand why that device was brought into play, it added little to the story, but much to the confusion.

The whole book is riddled with complexities and character flaws and mental ill health to the point where it was really difficult to find any joy and I just longed for the final paragraph and someone to please put me out of my misery. Which perhaps is a little harsh.

Caroline Lee did sterling work narrating this epic and she has a beautiful voice but I can't help but think that someone with an Australian accent was wrongly cast playing the parts of English women during this era.

I sometimes wonder if it's me that can't cope with complexity and after all, one woman's meat is another woman's poison, and trust me, there is an overindulgence of poison, hatred and bitterness in this novel.
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- R. J. Gladden

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-11-2010
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd