best tracker Skip to main content

In this audiobook review, we will unravel the haunting mystery of “The Distant Hours” by acclaimed author Kate Morton. This gripping tale of secrets, betrayal, and family bonds has captivated readers and listeners alike since its publication in 2010. As a literary master of the mystery genre, Morton weaves a complex tale that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Key Takeaways:

  • Kate Morton’s “The Distant Hours” is a gripping mystery audiobook that leaves the reader and listener on the edge of their seats.
  • The story is set in Milderhurst Castle, a beautifully eerie and atmospheric setting that is integral to the plot.
  • The characters are well-crafted and contribute greatly to the narrative, with their motivations and relationships driving the plot forward.
  • Morton uses various literary techniques, such as timelines and perspectives, to keep the pacing and suspense just right.
  • The audiobook performance does justice to the story, with the narrator bringing the characters and the setting to life.

About the Author: Kate Morton

Kate Morton is a bestselling author known for her spellbinding tales of mystery and intrigue. Born in Australia in 1976, Morton studied English literature before embarking on a career in publishing. Her passion for books and writing eventually led her to pursue a full-time writing career, resulting in several critically acclaimed novels.

Morton’s writing style is characterized by intricate plotting, vivid descriptions, and well-drawn characters that resonate with readers. Her books often explore themes of family secrets, loss, and memory, with settings that range from the English countryside to bustling cities and far-flung destinations around the world.

Some of Morton’s previous works include The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, and The Lake House, all of which have been bestsellers and widely translated. Her books have been praised for their historical accuracy, layered storytelling, and immersive atmosphere that transports readers to another time and place.

With a loyal fan base and numerous awards to her name, Kate Morton is undoubtedly one of the most talented and respected authors of our time. Her latest work, The Distant Hours, is another gripping tale that showcases her mastery of the genre and her ability to keep readers and listeners on the edge of their seats.

Plot Overview

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton is a haunting mystery novel that weaves together the stories of three generations of women. The story is told through the eyes of Edie Burchill, who becomes enthralled with the past when she stumbles upon a never-delivered letter addressed to her mother by a resident of Milderhurst Castle. As she delves deeper into the castle’s history, she uncovers chilling secrets that threaten her present and future.

Main Characters Setting Central Conflict
Edie Burchill: curious and determined protagonist Milderhurst Castle: atmospheric, crumbling, and full of secrets The mystery of the missing Mud Man and the true identity of Juniper Blythe
The Blythe Sisters: Percy, Saffy, and Juniper Kent, England: a small English town with a rich past Edie’s quest for answers and her own identity

The juxtaposition of the past, present, and future creates a sense of unease and mystery throughout the book, leaving readers and listeners guessing until the very end.

Setting: Milderhurst Castle

The haunting atmosphere of Milderhurst Castle plays a central role in The Distant Hours, with its dark, winding corridors and eerie secrets. The castle’s history is as fascinating as it is macabre, with tales of ghosts, madness, and a tragic past. Morton’s vivid descriptions bring the castle and its surroundings to life, transporting the reader to another time and place.

As the setting for most of the novel’s events, Milderhurst Castle’s impact on the story is profound. It serves as a character in itself, with its ominous presence looming over the other characters and their actions. The castle’s rooms and hidden passages provide the perfect backdrop for the book’s mysteries, with secrets waiting to be uncovered at every turn.

Characters and Their Development

“The Distant Hours” features a cast of dynamic and multifaceted characters that come to life through Morton’s expert storytelling. One such character is Edie, the protagonist and narrator, whose journey of self-discovery drives the narrative forward. As Edie uncovers the secrets of Milderhurst Castle, she also learns more about herself and her family history.

Another notable character is the eccentric and reclusive Raymond Blythe, whose enigmatic past is slowly revealed throughout the story. The three Blythe sisters, Percy, Saffy, and Juniper, add depth and complexity to the story with their distinct personalities and motivations. Other supporting characters, such as Edie’s mother Meredith and love interest Jack, also contribute to the rich tapestry of “The Distant Hours.”

The characters’ development is expertly crafted, with each individual evolving and changing in response to the unfolding events. Edie’s journey of self-discovery is particularly poignant, as she confronts the truths of her past and grapples with her future. Morton’s attention to detail and nuance make the characters feel like real people, with flaws and virtues that make them relatable and endearing to readers.

“Morton’s attention to detail and nuance make the characters feel like real people, with flaws and virtues that make them relatable and endearing to readers.”

Themes Explored

In “The Distant Hours,” Kate Morton expertly weaves together a multitude of themes, creating an intricate tapestry of ideas. Through the story of the Blythe sisters and the mysterious Mud Man, Morton explores the complexities of family, loyalty, and sacrifice.

One of the most prominent themes in the novel is the idea of secrets and the toll they take on individuals and families. Milderhurst Castle itself serves as a symbol of hidden truths and concealed histories, as the secrets of the past slowly unravel over the course of the story.

Another theme explored in the book is the power of storytelling. Throughout the novel, characters recount their tales and experiences, revealing the interconnectedness of their lives and the impact of their actions on others. This theme underscores the importance of empathy and understanding, as well as the role of perspective in shaping our understanding of events.

The theme of identity is also central to the novel, as characters grapple with questions of who they are and where they come from. The exploration of ancestral heritage and self-discovery adds depth and nuance to the mystery at the heart of the novel.

“And life isn’t something you possess. It’s something that you take part in, and you witness.”

The theme of legacy is another key element of the novel, as characters reckon with the impact of past actions on the present and the future. The idea of inheritance takes on a dual meaning, encompassing both material possessions and intangible qualities such as character and values.

Overall, “The Distant Hours” offers a rich and complex exploration of these themes and more. With its haunting atmosphere and intricate plot, Morton’s storytelling offers readers a captivating look into the mysteries of the human experience.

Narrative Style and Structure

Kate Morton’s narrative style in “The Distant Hours” is characterized by her use of intricate timelines and multiple perspectives to create a layered and suspenseful reading and listening experience. Her use of non-linear storytelling enhances the mystery, keeping the reader and listener engaged throughout the novel.

Morton cleverly intertwines the past and present to reveal the secrets of Milderhurst Castle and its inhabitants. The two timelines operate in parallel, each one informing the other and advancing the plot, creating a cohesive and satisfying narrative structure that is both intricate and well-paced.

“Morton has an innate talent for weaving multiple narratives together seamlessly, creating an intricate tapestry that draws readers and listeners into her stories.” – BookPage

Moreover, Morton maintains a vivid and descriptive prose style that brings the setting and characters to life. Her prose is atmospheric, rich in sensory detail, enabling readers and listeners to become fully immersed in the tale. Her use of metaphor and symbolism adds depth and nuance to the story, elevating it beyond a mere mystery novel to a captivating work of literature.

Literary Techniques Used in “The Distant Hours”

Literary Technique Description
Non-linear storytelling Morton uses flashbacks and parallel timelines to create suspense and intrigue, gradually revealing the secrets of Milderhurst Castle.
Multiple perspectives The story is told from the perspectives of several characters, each contributing their unique viewpoint to the mystery.
Symbolism Morton uses symbolism to underscore the themes of the novel, such as the motif of the locked room representing hidden secrets.
Metaphor Throughout the novel, Morton employs metaphors to bring imagery and depth to her writing, such as the character’s “emotional baggage” being described as heavy suitcases.

Audiobook Performance

When it comes to audiobooks, performance is just as critical as the story itself. This is no exception in “The Distant Hours.” The audiobook edition is narrated by Caroline Lee, a well-known voice actress who has voiced several audiobooks. Her performance is, without doubt, exceptional, and her narration brings the characters and the atmosphere to life. Lee skillfully adapts her tone and delivery based on the situation, immersing the listener into the story from start to finish.

The pacing of the audiobook is also notable. Lee keeps the story moving smoothly, ensuring that the suspense is maintained throughout the story. Her performance adds another dimension to the already well-crafted story by Kate Morton, making the audiobook an exceptional experience.

“Caroline Lee’s vocal delivery is a perfect match for Kate Morton’s haunting mystery. Her performance is outstanding, adding another layer to an already gripping story.”

Pacing and Suspense

One of the most impressive aspects of “The Distant Hours” is the author’s masterful control of pacing and suspense. Morton knows precisely when to reveal crucial details, heighten tension, and deliver thrilling twists and turns to keep readers and listeners on the edge of their seats.

“The story had me hooked from the very beginning and the twist and turns throughout made it a truly exciting read. Morton’s pacing was perfect.” – Goodreads Review

The plot builds steadily and intricately, with a series of tantalizing clues and revelations that keep audiences guessing until the very end.

Reception and Critical Acclaim

“The Distant Hours” has received widespread acclaim for its captivating storytelling and atmospheric prose. Many readers and reviewers praise Kate Morton’s ability to weave together a complex mystery and create a vivid sense of place.

The book has an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 on Goodreads based on over 100,000 ratings. Readers cite the intricate plot, well-developed characters, and stunning setting as some of the book’s strengths.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Morton deftly manages a complex plot, weaving past and present, gothic melodrama and modern romance.” The New York Times Book Review praised the book’s “luminous storytelling” and “wonderful, immersive” setting.

However, some critics have noted that the book’s pacing can be slow at times and that the ending may not live up to the buildup. Despite these criticisms, “The Distant Hours” remains a beloved novel among fans of mystery and historical fiction.

Impact and Legacy

Since its publication, “The Distant Hours” has left a lasting impact on the mystery genre and cemented Kate Morton’s legacy as a master storyteller. The novel’s intricate plotline, richly developed characters, and atmospheric setting have captivated readers and listeners alike.

“The Distant Hours” has been praised for its ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats, with unpredictable plot twists and suspenseful reveals. Its impact on the genre is evident in its wide readership and critical acclaim.

Moreover, the legacy of “The Distant Hours” extends beyond the book itself. The novel has inspired discussions and analyses of its themes, characters, and narrative structure, with many readers and literary critics eager to unpack its many layers of meaning.

In addition to its influence on the mystery genre, “The Distant Hours” has also secured its place among Kate Morton’s other works. As one of her most popular and evocative novels, “The Distant Hours” is a testament to Morton’s talent for crafting compelling stories that resonate with readers and listeners.


Comparative Table: “The Distant Hours” vs. Other Kate Morton Novels

Novel Main Setting Publication Year Main Themes Legacy
“The House at Riverton” 1910s England 2006 Class, secrecy, memory Debut novel, established Morton as a rising star
“The Forgotten Garden” 1913 England and Australia 2008 Identity, family, love Translated into over 20 languages, international bestseller
“The Distant Hours” Milderhurst Castle, 1992 England 2010 Literary legacy, family secrets, hidden histories Wide readership, critical acclaim, lasting impact on the mystery genre
“The Secret Keeper” 1961 England and present day 2012 Family secrets, WWII, storytelling Bestseller, adapted for television
“The Lake House” 1933 England and present day 2015 Family secrets, love, loss Bestseller, translated into over 30 languages

“‘The Distant Hours’ is a hauntingly beautiful novel that showcases Kate Morton’s skill as a master storyteller. With its gothic atmosphere, intricate plot, and unforgettable characters, this book left a lasting impression on me and solidified Morton’s place as a literary force to be reckoned with.” – Book reviewer


In conclusion, “The Distant Hours” by Kate Morton is a haunting mystery that keeps readers and listeners engaged from start to finish. With its well-crafted plot, atmospheric setting, and well-developed characters, the book is a testament to Morton’s storytelling prowess.

The audiobook performance adds another layer of depth to the story, with the narrator bringing the characters and the castle to life. The pacing and suspense are expertly handled, keeping listeners on the edge of their seats.

Overall, “The Distant Hours” is a must-read for fans of the mystery genre and audiobook enthusiasts alike. Its legacy in the literary world is well-deserved, and it is sure to continue captivating audiences for years to come.


What is "The Distant Hours" about?

“The Distant Hours” is a haunting mystery novel written by Kate Morton. It revolves around the secrets and events surrounding Milderhurst Castle and its inhabitants.

Who is Kate Morton?

Kate Morton is a highly acclaimed author known for her captivating storytelling. She has written several bestselling novels, including “The Forgotten Garden” and “The Lake House.”

What is the plot of "The Distant Hours"?

“The Distant Hours” follows the journey of a young woman named Edie Burchill as she uncovers the truth about her mother’s past and the dark secrets hidden within Milderhurst Castle.

What is the significance of Milderhurst Castle in the story?

Milderhurst Castle serves as the atmospheric setting for the events in “The Distant Hours.” It holds a rich history and secrets that impact the lives of the characters and the unfolding mystery.

Who are the main characters in "The Distant Hours"?

The main characters in “The Distant Hours” include Edie Burchill, the protagonist; the Blythe sisters – Percy, Saffy, and Juniper; and Raymond Blythe, a celebrated author.

What themes are explored in "The Distant Hours"?

“The Distant Hours” delves into themes such as family secrets, love and loss, the power of storytelling, and the influence of the past on the present.

How is the narrative style and structure of "The Distant Hours"?

Kate Morton employs a multi-timeline and multi-perspective narrative style in “The Distant Hours.” This enhances the suspense and allows readers to discover the story from different angles.

How is the audiobook performance in "The Distant Hours"?

The audiobook performance of “The Distant Hours” is captivating. The narrator skillfully brings the characters and the atmospheric setting to life, enhancing the overall listening experience.

Does "The Distant Hours" have a fast-paced and suspenseful plot?

Yes, “The Distant Hours” is known for its well-paced storyline and gripping suspense. Kate Morton expertly reveals twists and turns throughout the narrative, keeping readers and listeners engaged.

Has "The Distant Hours" received critical acclaim?

Yes, “The Distant Hours” has received critical acclaim for its atmospheric storytelling, complex characters, and intricate plot. It has been praised by readers and reviewers alike.

What is the impact and legacy of "The Distant Hours"?

“The Distant Hours” has left a lasting impact on the mystery genre, showcasing Kate Morton’s talent for crafting intricate and atmospheric stories. It has become a beloved addition to her body of work.

Leave a Reply