Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Florence & Giles by John Harding

Florence and Giles
From Goodreads
A gripping, sinister Gothic tale inspired by and in the tradition of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw.

In 1891, in a remote and crumbling New England mansion, 12-year-old orphan Florence and her younger brother are neglected by her guardian uncle. Banned from reading, Florence devours books in secret and talks to herself—and narrates her story—in a unique language of her own invention. By night, she sleepwalks the corridors and is troubled by a recurrent dream in which a mysterious woman appears to threaten her younger brother Giles.

After the sudden violent death of the children's first governess, a second teacher, Miss Taylor, arrives, and immediately strange phenomena begin to occur. Florence becomes convinced that the new governess is a malevolent spirit who means to do Giles harm. Against this powerful enemy, Florence must use all her intelligence and ingenuity to protect her little brother and preserve her private world. This Gothic page-turner in the tradition of The Woman in Black and The Fall of the House of Usher is told in a startlingly different and wonderfully captivating narrative voice.

My review

Read from August 02 to 23, 2013.  I was reading other books at the same time, hence the length of time taken to read.

This made my cracker of the month for August. When I first started reading the book I struggled with some of the narrative and found myself correcting how it had been written. Florence the young narrator has an unusual use of the language. I felt it was trying too hard to be a book written many years, if not decades or centuries ago but once I got into the swing of things I found that I hardly noticed it.

I found it very atmospheric and could feel the tension leaping off the page at me as I read it. I found it a better written story than the Woman in Black by Susan Hill and far more scary in my opinion.

Florence is suspicious of her new Governess Miss Taylor who replaces her and Giles's first Governess, who died. As Florence's suspicions spiral out of control she fears for her Brother Giles and with the help of her friend and young neighbour Theo she plots to take matters into her own hands with some might say disastrous consequences.

If you've not read this book yet then please make it a planned read soon, I doubt you'll be disappointed. I plan to invest in a keeper copy of this as the copy I read was a Library copy.


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