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The Distant Hours

author: Kate Morton (2010)
date read: 25 September 2021
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I found this book in a bag on a bench in a local village, with a note:

Your community library is open again. We’ve missed you… drop by and say hello! In the meantime, watch out for free books from our library fairies around the village. Please take this, enjoy and pass on!

I doubt I’d have picked it up otherwise, but I rather enjoyed it.

The book centres around Mildehurst Castle, the home of the three Blythe secrets, and a variety of family secrets. It starts with a long-delayed letter from Juniper Blythe (strong Going Postal vibes) to Meredith Burchill, who was evacuated to Mildehurst during WWII. This prompts her daughter Edie to start investigating the history of the castle and the Blythe family.

The entire mystery eventually unfolds over the course of the book. The narrative switches between the past and the present (a jump of about 60 years) as we see both sides of the story. It ties together rather neatly, and has several twists I didn’t expect.

It’s a somewhat tragic and sad story; no feel-good ending here.

I enjoyed reading it and I was swept along by the plot.

I suspect it’d benefit from a second reading now I know how it ends, but at 500+ pages I’m going to return it to the library rather than embark on another reading right now. I might pick up another of the author’s books at some point.

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