The Distant Hours

Have you ever had one of those moments where you look at a parent, somebody about whom you think you know everything there is to know, and realize that you don’t know them at all? Or heard one too many cliched stories that made you shake your head or roll your eyes at the sheer predictability of modern human nature?

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I cud say just one line and end the review right here. Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours is easily one of the most brilliant stories I have ever read; a story about all of the above and the layers underneath.

Beautiful, poignant, and so, so utterly real; a tale so beautifully woven that it clings like the gossamer strands of an invisible cobweb to your skin, rewarding you with an unexpected turn every time you think you’ve got the lay of the land.

I felt – like a bone deep sigh – the protagonist, Edie’s love for stories and books, and her uneasy relationship with her mum; her mum, Meredith’s queerness, that feeling of being a lonely sock in a drawer full of them; celebrated writer, Raymond Blythe’s demons, literary and otherwise; his frustrated daughter, Saffy’s perpetually unfulfilled ambitions and the involved complexity of her character; his heir apparent, Percy’s sheer bloody mindedness and the iron that ran through her soul and his muse-like daughter, Juniper’s absolute etherealness – each character as true to themselves as eternal words could make them.

Like all good stories it tells the tales of unreal people hiding, in their past, stories that are only too real; of their hopes and dreams, and the deepest, darkest secrets of their souls. And of the sheer unexpectedness of life; and how you often don’t know at all the people you think you know best.

An easy 5 for me.

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