Imagine a letter carrier's bag has been lost in an attic somewhere for fifty years and in it are letters never delivered. These days, it's likely that most of that would be junk mail or bills, but in 1942 when this particular bag was misplaced,back when people still wrote letters, the contents were much more personal. This is the beginning of The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. When Edie's mother is the recipient of one of these lost letters, and when Edie sees her mother's reaction, it sends Edie to uncover the truth of her mother's past.
What an intriguing premise, isn't it? That is precisely what drew me to this book. Unfortunately for me, it was a very long, slow read that alternated narrators and timelines in an almost jarring manner. When the letter leads Edie to a castle in the countryside, we meet the three elderly sisters who live there and we listen as their secrets are slowly, SLOWLY, teased out of them. This book was beautifully written, but perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind to have the patience for it. This was just one of those books that would sit on my bedside table and would not call out to me. Once the story began to reveal itself, I was more drawn in, but I was nearly three-quarters of the way through it before I felt any pull to read it. Normally, I would have walked away much sooner, but so many people speak so highly of Ms. Morton's work that I really wanted to like it and so I continued. And, while it seemed to be taking forever, I really did want to know about the grand mystery at the heart of the story.
I won't say I don't recommend this book, but I think it would be wise to save it for a time that you can give it your full attention. Oh, and I think the fall or winter would be a better season to read it. Some books just seem to require colder, wetter weather and to me, this is one. If I've totally gotten this wrong, I'd love to hear what I missed. I'm always happy to hear your opinions!