I would have never picked up The Distant Hours on my own, but when someone loaned it to me, I thought I should give it a shot. Thankfully, it was a pleasant surprise.
Note: It’s been long enough ago since I read this that I am not sure if I can remember enough to write a full-fledged review, so I will just be elaborating upon the notes I jotted down shortly after finishing the book.
– Incredibly layered and rich in story-telling: This book is like Code Name Verity on crack in terms of layers. I’m really impressed with all the storylines and characters Morton had to keep straight in order to successfully weave everything together so seamlessly!
– Several fascinating mysteries, secrets, and connections: This is really just a further elaboration of the first point. There is so much going on, in the past, in the story’s present, interweaving between events and characters and secrets that get revealed at various points in the story to various characters.
– Loved the castle setting: When I started this book, I was in the mood for reading something with a fantasy or fairy-tale feel, which I wasn’t expecting to get from this, but the castle setting that part of this book takes place at gave some of that feel without it being completely otherworldly.
– Usually enjoyed going back and forth between the past and present narratives: The fun thing about this book is we get two narratives in one really, one from the past and one of the “present” (it’s the early 1990s, but it is the present for the narrator). However, at some point I did get a little tired of so much back and forth, especially when the narrative shifted just as something really exciting was happening in the current narrative.
– (Sorta vaguely spoilery) So incredibly tragic for the sisters – thankfully there is more hope for Edie and her mom: This story doesn’t end happily for everyone, but there is some hope in the end.
– Never felt super connected to the characters: I can’t complain about the characters. They were all incredibly distinct, three-dimensional, and interesting, but I think in part because of how much “book time” is spread out among them, I never felt a real connection with any one of them. Just when I was relating with Edie or Saffie, I was switched to another character, and then I didn’t necessarily get the feeling back when I returned to that other character.
– Felt too long at times: This book is 562 pages long, and I honestly felt it. As someone who reads YA fiction primarily, I don’t read many books over 400 pages, and when I do, the pacing is usually fast and helps me get through the book quickly. It took me a long time to read this book and after a while, it started to wear on me a little. I was interested in everything going on, but couldn’t it just go a little faster? Thankfully, when it did start to feel a little draggy to me, something would usually spark my interest again for a little while longer.
– Raymond Blythe was a terrible father: Seriously. This is a case of someone trying but failing miserably.
– Never really understood what “the distant hours” means: There were several references to some song or poem that Edie’s mom told her about that mentioned “the distant hours,” and it gets mentioned in reference to the castle, but I never understood what the heck it actually meant. (If anyone can explain it, I would appreciate it.)
Overall, it was a very good read that I would recommend to those who enjoy stories with mysteries, secrets, and who have an interest in how the past and present can be linked.
Advisory content: Some sexual content and references (nothing graphic) and some mild language.
Have you read The Distant Hours? What are your thoughts?