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  • The Distant Hours

  • Written by: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (228 ratings)
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The Distant Hours

Written by: Kate Morton
Narrated by: Caroline Lee
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Publisher's Summary

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a 13-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family.

Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

©2010 Kate Morton (P)2010 Kate Morton

What listeners say about The Distant Hours

Average Customer Ratings
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LOVED IT!

I think this is my favourite Kate Morton book. I’ve read the book and now listened to the audiobook. The characters, the storyline, the way she described every detail; I felt like I was right there in the castle with the Blythe sisters. I very much enjoy Caroline Lee’s performance, on this and every other performance I have heard her in. Given that I love this book so much, I couldn’t have listened to it with a performer that couldn’t do it justice.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An engaging read, filled with complex characters

If you enjoy trying to predict what will come next, then find yourself completely wrong, you will find this book top notch. If you enjoy getting to know the characters in all their complexity, good and bad, you will be completely satisfied. If you want to understand the writing process and the writers behind great stories, you will revel in the added bonus - you will glimpse a little understanding into why writers must write

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Keeps you guessing

An enchanting story spanning over many years. Emotions and feelings change for the characters throughout #Audible1

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully entertaining!

Another Kate Morton masterpiece. She weaves a story that keeps you engaged. Loved the ending!!!

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2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Boring!!

This is a good story to listen to if your looking to fall asleep.

Slow story line but the story is so long and drawn out. Nothing exciting. Very disappointing.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Long Haul for some Reward

Back and forth over several timelines, each at much the same bucolic pace, as every possible detail of the lives of many characters are recounted and the minutia of settings described - resulting in the initiation of many naps. The plotting was sufficiently complex and the poignancy of the relationships held me to the end, however. The narration is solid, though the Australian sounds seeping through the British dialects were distracting at first.

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1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Much too long-winded

The story was interesting, but with all the flashbacks, and allusions to a secret(s), it got very tiresome and confusing, and I almost quit halfway through. I stuck around for the ending, which was interesting, but felt that it could have been summed up in a shorter version of this very long story.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Just an okay read

I usually fly through books but, this one I just could not stick with. it was long, the story jumps around so you need to pay attention.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting plot twists

enjoyed listening to this novel. Good character development throughout. story flowed well, shifting between present and past events.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love this book

I love listening to books as I drive, walk etc. This book had so many twists and turns. When I thought I had figured out what happened there would be a twist that I didn’t see coming. I will be listening to all of her books.

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  • bernadette
  • 2012-06-09

Fabulous Story!

This book is super duper long ...... which for me, is a huge plus with an audio book. Once you get going you never want this book to end! This is a lovely book that takes you back in time and is wonderfully written and red. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have now read all of Kate Morton's books and I'm hungry for more!

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tinker
  • 2012-12-03

Not enough hours .....


What can I say? I have read all of Kate Morton that you have to offer and now feel a need for more. She is a brilliant story teller and the book, as usual, is narrated magnificintly.

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5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • BJDz
  • 2013-06-14

A bit disappointing, but not a lost cause

What did you like best about The Distant Hours? What did you like least?

The concept of the story was what initially enticed me to chose The Distant Hours. I love anything to do with books, castles, and dark family secrets. I have read Morton's The Forgotten Garden and really enjoyed it so I thought I would give another one a go and this book has such great reviews, how could I go wrong! However, this audio book fell a little flat for me. Like I said, conceptually this is a great story. It is entertaining and it kept me guessing the whole way through. What I didn't enjoy though was that Morton drags some parts of the story on for ages! I really wish she had cut down the parts about Milderhurst Castle during the war and maybe spent more time focusing on either Eddie's life, or the relationship between Raymond Blythe and his daughter Juniper. There is way too much unnecessary information pumped into the middle of the book and I had a hard time keeping interested in the story. The other thing that bothers me about The Distant Hours is the random sub-plots that do nothing to add to the essential story and feel like empty fillings instead of essential plot elements. One example being the hinted-at lesbian relationship between Percy and Lucy. It just seemed so random to me, as if Morton was just trying to throw in obscure elements for the sake of another plot twist. The book already has enough interesting plot twist to not need trivial ones.
On the good side of things, I thought that the characters were all fairly well developed (except for Seraphina). I like it when an author can actually make me shout out loud and shake my fist at characters out of anger when they do something irritating (such as when Percy stops Seraphina from pursuing her dreams of leaving the castle).

Any additional comments?

Overall a good concept and a decent enough performance, but very boring at times and some of the plot twists seem a bit forced. If someone is interested in getting into Kate Morton's books, I think I would recommend The Forgotten Garden first over The Distant Hours.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dorothy
  • 2013-04-12

savor it

this book is long. It is an experience meant to be enjoyed and savored all the way along. If you like excitement and fast-paced action, this is not the book for you.
Kate Morton's strength is her ability to transport readers to another place and time and envelop them in the story. Her descriptions are vivid and detailed, her characters complex.
As in her previous novels the Hidden Garden and The Shifting Fog, the suspense builds slowly. It took me some time to 'get into' the story, but once I did, i ended up racing to find time to listen to the last few hours, when the plot threads start to come together and I tried to figure them out. If you think you have solved the mystery before the end, don't be too sure, things are not what they seem. Morton deliberately leads the reader down several false paths before revealing the truth.
Since this is the third of Morton's novels read by Caroline Lee, i simply cannot imagine another reader. She personifies the style of Morton's novels, and does the characters' accents so well.
I can't wait to read the Secret Keeper.

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3 people found this helpful

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  • Elin
  • 2016-08-06

o m g

it's just soo good! cate morton is amazing and Caroline Lee makes all her stories come alive! I am devastated that I've now finished all her books... what do to with my life now?!?

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2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paula
  • 2016-04-09

Good, but not the best of Kate Morton

Would you try another book from Kate Morton and/or Caroline Lee?

Yes, because I think Caroline Lee understand the author story, so the parthership between the two is perfect.

Would you be willing to try another book from Kate Morton? Why or why not?

Yes, I love this author, but this book isn't one of the best I listening. This story has some many secrets, and finish with everything being revealed so unexpectedly only to happen what happened with the three sisters? No. Kate Morton has better books than this. For example - The Lake House or The Forgotten Garden... This book, in my opinion, isgood, but there are betters.

What about Caroline Lee’s performance did you like?

In my opinion, Caroline Lee has a tone that is appropriate to the rhythm daa story. she manages to capture the listener's attention and convey every emotion experienced by the characters.

Was The Distant Hours worth the listening time?

After all, yes. Although, for me, it is not one of the best Kate Morton books.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A.
  • 2013-04-16

The Best Book

What made the experience of listening to The Distant Hours the most enjoyable?

a very engaging story, had me hooked from the start, thought I had figured it out, but was delightfully surprised by the end.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Meredith - fragile, full of wonder.

Which character – as performed by Caroline Lee – was your favorite?

same as above

Who was the most memorable character of The Distant Hours and why?

Juniper - hard to say why.

Any additional comments?

listened twice, wanted to catch things that I missed 1st time.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marilyne
  • 2013-02-24

Great Book!

Where does The Distant Hours rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is the first I listened, but a great way to beginning. You will not be disappointed.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Distant Hours?

The voices that came to life.

Have you listened to any of Caroline Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet.

Who was the most memorable character of The Distant Hours and why?

Persy Blyde, she gave you the wrong impression, but in the end she was a caring person.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • kcore
  • 2013-02-06

Too slow!

What would have made The Distant Hours better?

Abridged version of parts 1 and 2 in order to reach part 3 sooner

What could Kate Morton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Get to the "meat" of the story sooner

Any additional comments?

This was my third Kate Morton book. I really enjoyed the first two and had high expectations of this one. It was just "ok" and I found myself bored.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Shrin
  • 2017-08-21

A very long story

This book was very long. Had I read it instead of listening to it, I would have skipped over quite a bit.

There were parts in the book that weren't necessary to the story - i.e Percy & Lucy as this never went anywhere. The relationship was hinted at without any real substance.

I would recommend reading this rather than listening to it, although Caroline Lee was excellent as a narrator and this is what kept me listening to the story.

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