sometimes even a tad displaced.

I am fortunate to work with a brilliant continent-spanning editorial team, and for their tireless work and unending support in getting The Distant Hours to the printer on time, I’d like to offer heartfelt thanks to Annette Barlow and Clara Finlay at Allen & Unwin, Australia; Maria Rejt, Eli Dryden and Sophie Orme at Mantle, UK; and Liz Cowen, whose knowledge of all things continues to amaze me. Great thanks, too, is due to Lisa Keim, Judith Curr and staff at Atria Books, US, as it is to all my publishers, for their continued dedication to me and my books.

Thank you also to Robert Gorman at Allen & Unwin for his commitment; to Sammy and Simon from Bookhouse, who were incredibly patient with me and meticulous when it came to typesetting my words; to Clive Harris, who showed me that the Blitz can still be found in London if you know where to look; to the artists and designers who worked on creating such beautiful jackets for The Distant Hours; to booksellers and librarians everywhere for understanding that stories are special things; and in memory of Herbert and Rita Davies.

Finally, a big thank you to my readers. Without you, it would only be half the pleasure.

The Distant Hours started as a single idea about a set of sisters in a castle on a hill. I drew further inspiration from a great many sources, including illustrations, photographs, maps, poems, diaries, Mass Observation journals, online accounts of the Second World War, the Imperial War Museum’s Children’s War exhibition, my own visits to castles and country houses, novels and films from the 1930s and 1940s, ghost stories, and gothic novels of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While it’s impossible to list all of the non-fiction consulted, the following are some of my favourites: Nicola Beauman, A Very Great Profession (1995); Katherine Bradley-Hole, Lost Gardens of England (2008); Ann De Courcy, Debs at War (2005); Mark Girouard, Life in the English Country House (1979); Susan Goodman, Children of War (2005); Juliet Gardiner, Wartime Britain 1939-1945 (2004); Juliet Gardiner, The Children’s War (2005); Vere Hodgson, Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45 (1998); Gina Hughes, A Harvest of Memories: A Wartime Evacuee in Kent (2005); Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming (ed.) Nella Last’s War: The Second World War Diaries of ‘Housewife, 49’ (1981); Norman Longmate, How We Lived Then: A History of Everyday Life in the Second World War (1971); Raynes Minns, Bombers & Mash: The Domestic Front 1939- 45 (1988); Mathilde Wolff-Monckeberg, On the Other Side: Letters to My Children from Germany 1940- 1946 (1979); Jeffrey Musson, The English Manor House (1999); Adam Nicolson, Sissinghurst (2008); Virginia Nicolson, Singled Out (2007); Miranda Seymour, In My Father’s House (2007); Christopher Simon Sykes, Country House Camera (1980); Ben Wicks, No Time to Wave Goodbye (1989); Sandra Koa Wing, Our Longest Days (2007); Philip Ziegler, London at War 1939-1945 (1995).


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