The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
I must be a bit of a fan of Kate Morton as I seem to have read everything she's written and enjoyed them all. This book's no exception - it's a big fat juicy mystery, with the main action taking place in two time periods - during the second world war, and in 1992. I love novels where a contemporary story unfolds alongside a historical story - they are definitely my current favourite reads.
In this one, three elderly sisters live in a Gothic castle in Kent. The youngest of them is mad - she lost her fiance during the war and has not been the same since. All of them are keeping secrets from each other. A young woman, Edie, gets caught up in their story while trying to solve related mysteries of her own. Her mother had been evacuated to the castle during the war, but she too is keeping secrets from her own daughter. And the three old ladies come from a literary background - their father wrote a famous children's novel but never told where his inspiration came from...
This is a long book, and at the start I wondered if it might be better edited down a bit to get the action going sooner. It's possibly a bit repetitive in places- we are certainly told things more than once, or shown then told, and some points get rather hammered home. Having said that, I loved the writing, got fully immersed in the story and didn't want the book to end. All the story strands come together nicely at the end, and all the mysteries are solved, though the resolutions Edie believes are not actually the truth.
I took it away last week on our camping trip and would definitely recommend this as a holiday read. It's got me all inspired as well - would love to write this kind of book!