1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Review for the unabridged Audible version,
This review is from: The Distant Hours (Paperback)I listened to The Distant Hours, skillfuly narrated by Caroline Lee. The book entranced me and I loved the characters and the scenery, but I felt the ending was a little weak, hence the four stars.
The narrative is split between two time zones; London in the 1990s and Milderhurst Castle, Kent in WWII. The two are linked by Edie Burchill and her mother who was evacuated to the castle during the war. Under rather strange circumstances, a letter from 1941 arrives for Edie's mother over 50 years late, and she is devastated. Edie can't extract much information from her secretive mother and so, when she finds herself at the gates of Milderhurst Castle a few weeks later, she cannot resist the temptation to investigate. By now the castle is a crumbling heap, barely housing its three elderly sisters.
Personally I found the WWII story line to be the strongest of the two, with the castle as a fourth character amongst the fascinating, intertwined sisters, twins Persephone and Seraphina and their younger sister Juniper. Their father, Raymond Blythe was an authoriatrian man, a writer, author of The True History of the Mud Man, which just happened to be Edie's favourite childhood book. The story of how this book came to be written was fascinating but I was less convinced by some of the other denouements.
I enjoyed The House at Riverton more than The Distant Hours, mainly because the plot seemed stronger. In many ways they are alike; the darkly Gothic buildings forming a backdrop to the narrative. The excess pages that other reviewers commented on, would probably have bothered me too, if I hadn't had the luxury of being narrated to.