The Distant Hours – Week 3

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Edie has been asked by the Blythe sisters to write the preface for the new release on their fathers book. While she is honored to do so, she wonders why they chose her. What made them like her so much in the short visit she had to the castle, that impressed them enough to fire the writer they had hired and ask for her by name. She has accepted the challenge, leaving her mother to care for her father, who is convalescing at home after having a heart attack. He has become quite interested in the book, The Mud Man, and has formed several theories about the basis on which the book was written. He believes that it is in part based on a true story, something that he remembered from childhood, that sparked the idea to write. Edie herself has been digging into the history of those who live in the castle, and some of the names that have cropped up. Thomas Cavill hold particular interest to her, especially since he has not been seen in over 50 years. No one knows where has gone, or what became of him. He was listed as a deserter, having gone AWOL from his unit. Edie visits his brother, Theo, hoping that he can give her more information. However, they are both disappointed to learn that they have nothing new to share with each other. But he asks her to come back and visit again, promising to share some stories with her about his brother, happier stories. Edie wants to get to the end of the mystery, not only for her own satisfaction or her fathers, but for her mother. She wants to know more about her mothers time in the castle. But she wants to know more about her mother, as her life has been essentially hidden from her daughter. Slowly, they begin to work on thawing out their relationship, and her mother finally shares the letter that arrived so many years after it had been mailed.

In the past, Milderhurst Castle carries on as before. Each day its occupants perform the tasks that they have taken on. Caring for their father, the war effort, cleaning and cooking, are just a few of the things that have now fallen to the sisters, since most of their help has left. But they carry on the best they can. Percy is the strong one, the authoritarian figure in the household. She sets the pace for how things will run, and while Saffy and Juniper each have their own thoughts and desires, they are left by the wayside under the watchful eye of Percy. Saffy has attempted to take a job that would take her away from the castle, giving her a chance to spread her wings a little, but Percy intercepts the phone call that she has been expecting, and turns the job down. Saffy is upset, but defers to her sisters judgement. Juniper though, does not care. She takes off one day, telling no one where she is going, and strikes out for London. There she reunites with Thomas Cavill, and the start of a love story is born. They spend all their time together, knowing that their time will be cut short when he is ordered to report back to his unit.

But Juniper has even more secrets, and she is not sure how exactly to tell her sisters…

This week we are reading pages 278-429

Questions:

  1. Would you be surprised if you got an offer to write for a well known publisher out of the blue?
  2. Juniper seems to be hiding some of her fears from everyone, not only Meredith. What do you think she is truly afraid of?
  3. Why would Percy not allow her sister to leave and take another job?
  4. Tom and Juniper have not told anyone about their relationship. Why would they go to such great lengths to hide it?

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