Book Review: The Distant Hours

Last summer, when Border’s was going out of business, I visited my local store a number of times to pick up books at huge discounts. I spent a few afternoons browsing the shelves and picking up everything from classics, to books by my favorite authors, to titles I thought would make great gifts and books I’d never heard of that looked interesting.

There was one book that stood out to me each time I was browsing the fiction section, Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours.  As you can see, the cover is gorgeous, if not a bit spooky, and after my second browsing trip, I decided that if the book was still there the next time, I would buy it.

It sat on my bookshelf looking pretty for a few months while I read other books, but I finally started it in March after returning from our cruise. It took me a while to finish, but I loved it. It had many elements that are very interesting to me, including the setting, the English countryside, the time period, weaving between the 1990’s and the 1940’s (I am a history buff), and the plot, lots of mystery and intrigue.

The book is very bittersweet, and I found myself instantly attached to most of the characters. The plot flowed very well and there wasn’t a lot of unnecessary fluff, which is rare to find in a book of 550+ pages. I would recommend the book to readers who enjoy a history lesson with their fiction and have an interest in World War II, England or family relationships and dynamics.

I’ve since read other reviews, and a lot of people have said it was their least favorite work by Morton. If this is true, then I’m very excited to read her other books because they must be excellent.

(image via

Book Review: Prep

I’m not sure how often I will do book reviews on {d&w}, but I will start posting them periodically because I’ve been trying to read  more lately. To start… a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while and finally got around to.

After hearing people discuss Prep for years, I decided to buy it earlier this spring. Despite having about 10 books sitting on my bookshelf to read, I selected this one to be the first book I would read on our cruise.

One thing I like about the book is that it’s an easy read: I could start and stop reading throughout the week without feeling lost or like I needed to re-read to jump start my memory. The book’s set up was interesting in that, instead of going year by year with lots of details, it’s set up with anecdotes from each year that illustrate the mood, maturity and life stage of the main character.

And that is where the positive ended, at least in my opinion. While the book was interesting to read, I have to say that I really didn’t like it. I found the writing to be quite annoying. Perhaps the author really took the role of writing as a highschooler seriously as every point was beaten to death, examined from every possible angle, with no real solution reached. It made it frustrating to read.

I also didn’t really like the main character. I felt like she was weak, too prone to peer pressure, a little pathetic and mostly very forgettable. Harsh, I know, but if you’re not either cheering for the main character, or hoping for their demise, I think reading loses a lot of it’s pleasure.

With so many great books out there, and so little time, I have to say that I recoommend skipping this one, unless teenage angst is your thing.

(image via Amazon)