Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton

The sad day has come. My illusions are dispelled. I officially no longer find Kate Morton magical. Each book I've read since The House at Riverton has speeded my realization. Yes, her books have intricate plots, great stories, and I love the secrets and mysteries, but they no longer float above the regular bookshelf rabble; they have come down with a thud.

I loved The House at Riverton and it made me expect great things from Morton's other books. But I'm not sure I can say Riverton was the best of the four I've read, or even that it's really my favorite. Maybe if I'd read Hours first it would have had the same effect on me as Riverton. I do think, though, that I've found Morton's four books to be too much of the same thing. An older generation with terrible secrets, a younger generation prying their way into the past. Different characters and slightly different settings, and of course different secrets, but somehow nothing new.

That's not to say it wasn't fun! I have read books I've had to force my way through, and this certainly was not one of those. Morton's stories grab me by the arm and whirl me into a vortex. Hours mostly takes place in a castle, with three old spinster sisters whose father had penned The True History of the Mud Man years earlier. There is madness, and destroyed love, and death, and betrayal, covered by layers of lies meant as protection of loved ones. And there is a young woman with her own link to the castle who is peeling back those layers. Even so, I was left thinking I probably wouldn't bother reading any more of Morton's books. (Though I would love to read The Mud Man!)

Only I just noticed that Morton had a book out this year called The Lake House, and I feel my resolve beginning to crumble . . . time will tell if I'll be able to resist it.