Saturday, November 27, 2010

Formulaic but it works for Morton!

The Distant Hours
Kate Morton

Morton's books have a definite plot structure - family secrets that are slowly unveiled through interwoven stories from multiple points of view of the past and present - but it works for her!

Edie Burchill is an only child; she loves her parents but isn't particularly close to them even though she longs to know more about them as individuals. When her mother receives a letter that was caught up in the postal service for fifty years, Edie gets a glimpse of a side of her mother that she has never seen before and is eager to learn more.

The letter, combined with some serendipitous events, leads Edie on a path to discover the events during World War II that caused her mother to be evacuated to a country estate under the care of the eccentric Blythe sisters, the true story behind the classic children's novel The Mud Man, and the dark secrets that they Blythe family continues to hide a half century and more after their occurrence.

Morton has a wonderful way with words, she paints such a vivid picture of the characters and surroundings that I am instantly transported into her world. She is descriptive without be clinical or flowery - and I think that is a hard balance to strike. However, her plots are wonderfully circuitous but fairly easy to figure out; I read for the journey of getting to the end and not for the surprise revelation that is waiting. Even so, there are some minor twists and turns that add to the enjoyment of reading even if they don't spur you on to the next.

If you are a fan of Morton - as I am - then this book will not be a let down! If you are new to Morton, any of her books are a wonderful introduction to her body of work that is small as of yet but highly enjoyable....just don't read them all back-to-back!

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