The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton
Australian author Kate Morton has made a study of Gothic fiction, and her book, The Distant Hours, is a "Gothic Delight." Her writing, a mixture of Gothic, romance and mystery genres, plus her addition of original fairy tales, has sold millions of novels all over the world.
"The ancient walls sing the distant hours..." at Milderhurst Castle in Kent, home of the literary Blythe family. Only the decaying castle--and the careful reader--know all the secrets hidden within its walls and moat. Kate Morton carefully paces her novel--you don't want to miss a page or you will miss out on the clues to piece together the secrets.
The story starts with a delivery of a lost letter from World War II written by Juniper Blythe and delivered in 1992 to Edie Burchill's emotionally distant mother. Edie is surprised to discover her mother had been evacuated from London to stay with the Blythe family during the Blitz. Edie loved Raymond Blythe's tale, The True Mystery of the Mud Man, as a child and becomes excited to find his daughters still alive and her mother's connection to the castle and its tantalizing secrets.
Edie meets the odd sisters: Percy, who will do anything to keep the castle in the family and protect the domineering Raymond Blythe's name; Saffy, who had great dreams of seeing the world but has never left the castle; and Juniper, broken by a lover who left her. Edie's quest digs up ghosts from the past and helps her repair her relationship with her mother, and she finds a chance at love the Blythe sisters never had.