Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

image from LibraryThing
This is a classic Gothic Novel complete with a castle, a mystery and a clueless heroine - at least that is my description of a gothic novel!

Edie and her Mom, Meredith, have a tangled relationship. There are sections of Meredith's past life she refuses to share with Edie - and the strains of that taint everything. Then a letter arrives 50 years late, a letter from the end of WWII. It deeply affects Meredith  - but she again refuses to let anyone in to that part of her life.

Edie, a co-publisher for a small literary company, finds herself lost in the edges of the English countryside and Milderhurst castle looms.  Seeing the castle stirs an ancient memory of standing at the gates with her mother. But how could that be?  When Edie asks her mum - she denies it. 

That starts Edie on the quest to figure out what in the world is in her mom's past that so effects her.  It seems to stem from Milderhurst castle and the old tale of the Mudman.  On a historical tour she meets the three spinster sisters who inhabit the castle and is mistaken as her mother by one of the sisters. 

And it is then that Morton begins the second tale of this book - one that slowly unravels the history of the sisters and the young girl, Meredith who they took care of during the Blitz.  The reader finds out the secrets behind the withered women and their endless hold on the crumbling castle.

I really enjoyed this book.  I love English novels and the depth of history woven into the stories.  I also love the restraint of the characters - their hidden agendas and their commitment to peace and propriety.  There is something refreshing, puzzling and foreign about that attitude.

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