Creatures of the Castle – “The Distant Hours” by Kate Morton
I’ve always been a sucker for a gothic romance – and this book owes much to “Jane Eyre,” “Wuthering Heights,” and “The Woman in White.” Decrepit castles, secretive sisters, and tangled mysteries of decades past all combine to give this book a wonderfully old-school mysterious vibe.
In this modern gothic tale, our main character is Edie, who works in publishing and has just broken up with her boyfriend of seven years. Thanks to a few devices only novels can get away with, Edie finds her family history involved in the long-held mysteries of Milderhurst castle, as well as the three elderly sisters who live there: Percy, Saffy, and Juniper Blythe. The sisters are the daughter of famed author Raymond Blythe, who wrote a famous novel called “The True History of the Mud Man.” A classic, it’s revered for it’s creativity in telling the creepy story of a man emerging from the mud of a moat and haunting a child’s nightmares. As Edie discovers along her way, the story may not be far removed from the truth.
This is a book that’s easy to spoil, so I won’t go much further – except to say that there are twists and turns and things you see coming a mile away, but also things to surprise you. “The Distant Hours” is a story of time passing, and secrets that get buried along the way. It’s also the story of the things we don’t know about those nearest and dearest to us – about mothers and daughters and fathers and sisters and lovers and friends. The characters are clear and vivid and seem to jump to life as the story progresses. Even Edie, who could have easily resorted to a cliche heroine of a chick-lit book, is developed and rounded and someone you care about.
For those who (like me) adore all things Bronte, “The Distant Hours” hit stores YESTERDAY (11/9) so it’s available for your reading pleasure. I was gifted an advance copy, and am delighted to help spread the word about a book that kept me engrossed for it’s whole journey.