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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.…

The Distant Hours

by Kate Morton

Overall Book Review:

This is the third and most recent book by Kate Morton.  It is told via alternating a first person modern account with various third person historical accounts during World War II.  Set in England, it revolves around the ancestral home of the Blythe Sisters.  True to her other books there is a touch of mystery and a smattering of romance.  Morton methodically, and in great detail, describes what each character is thinking and feeling.  At one point it felt like the plot was not progressing, but as the story unfolded, I was convinced that it had been necessary in order for the events and character motivations to be plausible to the reader.  As I read, I felt a great sadness for the characters, but was happily surprised that Morton was able to tie up the loose ends of the book in a manner that left me with a taste of hope.  As usual with this author, I lost sleep because I had a hard time putting it down.

Content Analysis:

One thing I appreciate about this author is that she for the most part includes what is essential for the plot without gratuitous language, sex, and violence. 

In this book, Morton continues to keep her language pretty clean. 

Sexual content consists of an affair and relationship between an unmarried couple, but there are no graphic details or descriptions of the content.  There is an implied lesbian/homosexual relationship, but no details. 

Violence consists of some deaths.  Most are referred to and not described.  One death has some details provided, but they are relevant to the plot.

Mature Subject Matter:

Parent-Child relationships; World War II; lesbian/homosexual relationship.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!