The Distant Hours is a novel of mystery for bibliophiles and the curious, for people who wanted to be awesome like Indiana Jones but could not quite figure out how to start or fall into an adventure. I say bibliophiles because the main character, Edie falls into an adventure and is a voracious reader, collector, and works in book publishing. Through coincidence, circumstance, curiosity and luck Edie finds herself in the middle of what could change the world’s love and understanding of one of the most famous and mysterious novels in England, The History of the Mud Man. It all starts with inconsequential information for Edie. She learns her mom was an evacuee at Milderhurst Castle. Then Edie finds herself at Milderhurste Castle by chance on her way home from a book signing. From there the reader is weaved a tale from the various players points of view in both the books current time (1992) and the past when the mystery happened, 1939-1941. This is a book lovers of Jane Eyre, The Mysteries of Udalpho, and Wuthering Heights will appreciate. It has the gothic feel, unraveling of mysteries, characters that are redeemable and yet remain twisted, while planting well-paced revelations throughout the novel to keep the reader engaged and on their toes. Do we actually know “who-dun-it” or is there more to learn?
The author, Kate Morton, has an amazing voice for describing scenes, for painting vivid pictures with detail that enthralls the reader with the almost poetic rightness of the words chosen as well as putting the reader in the actual paper and ink of the novel, to truly experience it. I’ve read Morton’s previous novels and have to say I loved one and did not care for the other. This was a tie breaker for me and I would add this to the liked it/enjoyed it column.