The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

A dark tale of family secrets, betrayal, and the past that haunts us, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton is a pleasant mix of touching and terrifying that will leave you deeply satisfied. Beginning with a letter that arrives approximately fifty years late, The Distant Hours traces the journey of book editor Edie Burchill as she attempts to unravel the history of that letter, and the fates of those who were bound up in it. After all, something in this letter brings her stoical mother to gasping sobs and Edie needs to know why-- only her mother isn't talking, as usual, and Edie can't help but feel that there's something to it. Before long, Edie finds her way to the mysterious Milderhurst Castle where the dead still haunt the halls and the past is very much alive. Inhabiting the castle are the Sisters Blythe: strong and practical Percy who will do anything to save the castle and her sisters, sensitive and talented Saffy who once dreamed of escaping the castle and being a writer, and Juniper, the once vivacious sister who has gone mad, reliving one terrible night over and over again. As Edie searches for the clues to her own family history and to what happened that dreadful night in October 1941, she finds that nothing is as it seems and no one is to be trusted. 

Weaving beautifully between past and present, Morton spins a captivating historical novel full of Gothic twists and poetic moments. While it's true that the story does take a while to build and some readers will lose interest long before they reach the climatic conclusion, Morton's pace serves to slowly build the dark and haunting atmosphere of the tale and sustain the deep seated dread of the truth the reader will inevitably be seized with. It's hard not to fall in love with all of the characters in this novel and Morton will have readers turning it's final pages with a slow deliberation, afraid to see what comes next, but unable to resist. This is a book that will break your heart and leave you quiet, but most of all, it's a book that will haunt you long after the last page is turned. If you love books, historical novels, and long stories best read by the fireside or in a raging storm, then this one is for you.

{images}: Barnes & Noble

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