The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

Enthralling and haunting, Kate Morton’s latest novel tells a gothic story of betrayal, dark secrets, madness and love. Meredith and her daughter Edie have never been close, but when a letter arrives fifty years after it’s been posted and Meredith refuses to reveal its contents, Edie is determined to find out if her mother’s emotional distance could be related to her secret past. Thus, Edie sets off to unravel Meredith’s past, but she is about to learn more than she expected. Evacuated from London during the Blitz, Edie’s mother was chosen by Juniper Blythe and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with her literary family. The Blythes were eccentric people, whose lives revolved around the decaying castle and the dreadful tales that enveloped it and the more Edie investigates, the more skeletons come out of the closet. And what eventually comes to the surface is a tragic and disturbing truth that altered lives and destroyed hopes.

The Distant Hours will satisfy readers as they will stray into a labyrinth of deceit, family intrigue and mystery. Kate Morton has managed to capture a gloomy atmosphere throughout the novel by using various gothic elements, creating a dark and compelling tale full of suspense, romance and fascinating characters that will linger with you for a long time.

Needless to say, I very much enjoyed Kate Morton’s third novel and I hope that her next books will be just as wonderful, as I am savoring her writing style, her memorable characters and her captivating plots to the fullest.

The Distant Hours was very entertaining and informative and I found its themes very interesting. I liked to learn about the Blitz and its consequences for the protagonists and I loved to read about the Blythes and their fascination with writing and storytelling. But what I liked most was to learn about Milderhurst Castle, as I found its vivid descriptions fascinating and absorbing; the eerie tales revolving around the Blythe family were also very engaging.

Also, as I was reading this novel, I was reminded of another book that I’ve read in the past, namely, I Capture the Castle. There are certain similarities between these two books – of course there’s the setting and then both novels centre on a literary family. But The Distant Hours has more to offer; there are more stories to tell (modern and old) and I must admit that I liked it more than Dodie Smith’s novel. Kate Morton’s story has more twists and turns and it allows the reader a glimpse into a forgotten world where nothing is as it seems and after you’ve unveiled Milderhurst’s hidden secrets, you will sympathize with the characters and will be able to understand them better.

All in all, The Distant Hours was the perfect read for me and I would give it five stars out of five, as I loved everything about it. I can’t say anything negative about this novel except that I was sad that I finished it so soon. I think I can safely add Kate Morton to the list of my favorite authors!

What about you? Have you read any of Kate Morton’s novels? If so, did you like them as much as I did?

Note: I would like to thank Panmacmillan for sending me this great novel!

Andreea

Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington

Christy thinks that she has finally managed to bring order into her troubled life, with her new boyfriend and her satisfying career as an antiquarian book buyer. But when issues arise, Christy is forced to face her painful past and she soon learns that she can’t run away from her problems any longer. Tormented by guilt, sorrow and fear, she turns to her younger sister May, whom she abandoned years ago after their parents’ sudden and tragic deaths. But May has to deal with her own pain, namely the pain caused by Christy’s desertion. She just wants to understand why her sister left and why Christy didn’t want to see her all these years. Little does May know that Christy has had a difficult life, full of disappointment and wrong decisions which she truly regrets. Over the years, Christy has tried to drown her sorrows in alcohol and she has tried to deal with guilt by having too many men in her life. Now she is on the run from her violent boyfriend and from her painful past – but she knows that May won’t embrace her with open arms when she turns up at her ranch. However Christy doesn’t know that May isn’t holding any grudge against her beloved sister. She just wants her back and is ready to forgive her, no matter what she has done. In an effort to help her sister cope with her problems, May tells Christy about her love for God. She tells Christy that God loves her, no matter what she has done in the past and that He is ready to forgive her, if she just accepts Him with all of her heart and turns to Him for help. But Christy doesn’t think that she deserves God’s love or anybody’s love as she is still fighting the demons of her past. Will Christy finally find peace and will the two sisters have the chance to get along with each other before it’s too late?

Thicker Than Blood is a beautiful tale of forgiveness, loss, abandonment and guilt. Furthermore, it’s a story about love – God’s unconditionally love for every single person out there, May’s love for God and the love between two sisters. C.J. Darlington has created a realistic story about two siblings who have to manage on their own after the deaths of their parents. Although Christy and May couldn’t be more different, they still have something in common, namely, the love for each other. And isn’t that what matters most in life?

Thicker Than Blood is a Christian novel, but you don’t have to be a Christian to like this story, as this is a great novel that deals with everyday problems and realistic matters that will appeal to everyone out there. I really loved this heartbreaking story and I truly recommend this book to everyone who likes to read a story about love and the power of forgiveness. I also enjoyed reading about Christy’s job as an antiquarian book buyer and I savoured all the wonderful conversations and descriptions regarding the book store and its books!

I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of her engaging and wonderful book!