Florence and Giles
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Florence and Giles

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,560 ratings  ·  229 reviews

A sinister Gothic tale in the tradition of The Woman in Black and The Fall of the House of Usher

1891. In a remote and crumbling New England mansion, 12-year-old orphan Florence is neglected by her guardian uncle and banned from reading. Left to her own devices she devours books in secret and talks to herself - and narrates this, her story - in a unique language of her own

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Kindle Edition, 277 pages
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Essie Fox
Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this clever, chilling gothic novel narrated by the uniquely voiced 12 year old Florence.

Many links to The Turn of the Screw, Poe, Wilkie Collins and other classics of the genre - but Harding still manages to create something 'all its own'.

This is enchanting and humorous with wonderfully drawn characters. But, ultimately, it is a very disturbing novel with a ghastly 'turn of the screw'.
Jane
Florence and Giles?

Now doesn’t that sound like Flora and Miles?

Is it a coincidence, or are the two pairs of names connected?

Well no, it isn’t a coincidence. And yes, the names are connected. But not as you may think.

If one is a true story then the other would be a variation on that story far from the truth as it has been told, misheard, distorted, embellished so many times.

Or, I like to think, neither is a whole truth. Both are distortions of another story that has never been told.

John Harding’s...more
Maria
Florence é inteligente, solitária e amante de livros. Giles, seu meio-irmão, é ingénuo, influenciável e muito imaturo. Estas duas crianças estão sozinhas, praticamente abandonadas à sua sorte e cuidadas por criados que pouco conhecem a história da sua família.
A única ordem que os criados têm é de não ensinar Florence a ler, pedido esse feito pelo seu tutor, um tio que a criança nunca conheceu.
No entanto, a curiosidade da jovem Florence pelo conhecimento leva-a a descobrir a biblioteca existente...more
Teresa
I gave up smoking on 8th December 2008 and I must admit that I occasionally miss that nicotine kick but every now and then a great book comes along which replicates that surge to the brain! Indeed, Florence and Giles is such a book - I heard about it by chance via Twitter, saw the cover, heard the words gothic, Henry James, Poe and I was off like a shot.

Imagine, if you will, an old mansion in New England. It is 1891 and Blithe House's sole inhabitants are young orphans, 12 year old Florence and...more
Afini
A very intriguing and chilling novel! This is totally new to me and I love every part of it.

While reading this, a lot of questions nagged me at the back of my mind which leads to many disturbing speculations. At first I really thought that Florence's actions and reactions towards all the events around her are purely driven by her protective instinct for her little brother. However, her overprotectiveness has a suspicious edge to it up until a point where I have already doubted her true intenti...more
Debora
Sinceramente, cosa c'è di peggio di un libro brutto? Semplice, un bel libro rovinato dall'inettitudine dell'autore e da una campagna pubblicitaria completamente forviante.

In genere, nelle recensioni, parto sempre dall'analisi del testo/trama per poi passare a copertina, prezzo e tutti gli altri elementi puramente fisici e collaterali. In questo caso, diversamente, partirò dall'esterno del romanzo per poi addentrarmi nella trama affinchè possiate comprendere perché giudico questo romanzo compless...more
Blablabla Aleatório
Quando li sobre este livro a primeira vez, devido ao título do mesmo, pensei que o foco da história seria na relação de Florence, a protagonista, com os livros… mas, é como digo, as traduções dos títulos muitaz vezes deixam a desejar e podem nos levar à conclusões errôneas. Qual a lógica em traduzir o título original Florence and Giles para A Menina Que Não Sabia Ler? Sim, há a relação de Florence com os livros e isso de certa forma influencia a história, mas mais do que isso o livro é um romanc...more
Zee
This was my hallowe'en read for the year, and I did get rather excited at the prospect of a 'Poe' meets 'The Turn of the Screw', but it really wasn't to be. While the concept is firmly rooted in the Gothic tradition (thanks to it being almost a re-write of the illustrious, aforementioned title by Henry James) it really does lack in the 'scare factor' that it so promises on the back cover.

This is the story of Florence and Giles, two orphaned children living with their estranged uncle in a vast,...more
Chagall
New England, 1891. Gli orfani Florence e Giles, dodici e dieci anni, fratelli da parte di padre, vivono con la servitù nella grande tenuta di campagna dello zio, sempre assente per affari. Trascurati da tutti, i due bambini crescono nel modo più diverso. Florence si abbandona al piacere proibito della lettura (lo zio non ritiene opportuno che una ragazza riceva un’istruzione), mentre Giles gioca tutto il giorno da solo, privo di stimoli di alcun tipo. Tutto procede normalmente, fino all’arrivo d...more
Zoe Mitchell
This is a wonderful book – as traditional ghost stories are increasing in popularity again, it brings something new and fresh to the genre. The period detail is vivid, and the characters in the story are really brought to life so that you feel their every fear.
The story is narrated by Florence, who is self-educated and as a result has her own singular use of language which gives the book a beautiful flow. From day to day details to the heights of tension, the language employed gives the book an...more
Martin Belcher
Florence and Giles is a very old fashioned chilling tale in the style of "The Turn of the Screw". Our setting is Blithe, a large house in New England during the last years of the 19th Century, Florence and her step brother Giles live at Blithe along with Mrs Grouse, the Housekeeper and the house staff, Mary, John and Meg. Orphaned at an early age, Florence and Giles are neglected by their guardian Uncle, who spends most of his time in New York City. Florence is forbidden to read and instead enco...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
The narrator is 12-year-old Florence. At the start of the novel, Florence lives a life of solitary contentment. Her brother is away at school, her guardian is in New York, and there is an indulgent housekeeper, Mrs Grouse. Florence spends most of her time in the library or an abandoned tower of the house where she creates her own small and secure world. Her only friend is Theo Van Hoosier, a boy from a nearby estate.

This world is threatened when Giles returns home and a new governess, Miss Taylo...more
Mandy
I loved this book! It was fast-paced, suspenseful and definitely creepy. I was holding my breath along with Florence at times!

Florence had such a unique style of narration. At first I did think that it was a little annoying/confusing, but after awhile I got into it; it didn't bother me at all, and I could easily understand what she was talking about.

I loved the way that Florence handled things on her own, there were no adults around that she could totally rely on (or convince to believe her stor...more
Lena
2.5 stars There were some chilling moments in this one but what was really disappointing for me was the fact that it was clear from pretty much early on what was going on and who was to blame. There was not any ambiguity as was the case with the turning of the screw. Being so the climax was not "genuily exciting and shocking". On the other hand I have to acknoweldge the fact that the book has in deed great atmosphere. Also I liked the unique language Florence used (she is self-taught) and I thin...more
Nicole Lundrigan
I absolutely loved this book. As I was reading, I often just stopped to marvel at the creativity of the author. I’ve never read anything quite like this. The story has an Edgar Allan Poe vibe, which is right up my alley, and there was a subtle creepiness from the first chapter onwards. I read the bulk of it on a flight to Vancouver, and I barely looked up. If you’re a fan of EAP, and want to experience an entirely unique voice in young Florence, you have to read this book.
Alexandra (AlexEatsBooks)
Quite possibly one of the most fascinating reads I have encountered in a long while. So full of intrigue and suspense, one really has no idea where the story is going until it is already there! Florence's voice is so unique with her own language - at first I thought it might be distracting, but found myself slipping into it effortlessly. Overall - an amazing read!
Mª João
Novela gótica a cem por cento, em que acompanhamos uma adolescente relatando o seu quotidiano numa mansão inglesa, no século XIX. Sem qualquer orientação adulta no que respeita à educação (o tio, seu tutor, que ela não conhece, acreditava que as mulheres não deveriam ser instruídas...) e mesmo ao relacionamento com os outros, seguimos as suas preocupações com o irmão mais novo e a forma como recebe a(s) nova(s) professora(s). As suas reações são sempre um pouco estranhas e mórbidas, influenciada...more
Serena!
La prima reazione appena finito il libro è stata: "MAH". La seconda pure.
credo che John Harding abbia le idee un tantino confuse, perché sinceramente non saprei come definire il romanzo: narrativa? (no, ci sono elementi paranormali); paranormale? (no, sono elementi troppo deboli e mal sviluppati); giallo? (nì, ma anche qui è piuttosto debole).
Insomma, un gran miscuglio di tanti elementi ma sviluppati in maniera veramente carente.. Ad un certo punto non sapevo più dove volesse andare a parare!
Tr...more
Nafiza
I had been craving something gothic so when I stumbled upon this title on someone’s youtube book haul, my interest was piqued. Florence and Giles contains all the elements necessary in a gothic novel. A mansion, ghosts, lurking evil, a heroine and sinister, if absent, parental figures. It also contains something not usually present in many novels: a language, similar to, but more stylized than, English. Florence has her own “language” that she uses to narrate her story. It took a long while for...more
––––•(-•The Insomniac Book Hoarder•-
The story is narrated by a 12 year old closeted bibliophile named Florence. We see; feel and take in everything from Florence's perspective. She is intelligent, imaginative, intuitive and above all, a loyal caretaker of her brother Giles- a sister who would do anything for the security and health of her brother.

The events starts out slow, somehow establishing the basic descriptions of Florence's surroundings as well as her relationships with others. It was later on that I realised and begin to...more
Sally
May 06, 2011 Sally rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sally by: Manuela
Shelves: 1800s, creepy
Manu recommended this to me, and brought it with her during her visit so that I could actually read it. At first I wasn't sure if I would like it, it starts off a bit slow... but then that slowness becomes cosy and kind of sucks you in, and suddenly it's all gripping and you're on the edge of your seat and SO sucked in you can't put the book down!

I haven't read The Turn of the Screw but I have seen The Innocents, though that was maybe 15 years ago and I don't remember much in any case. So to me...more
Mafi
Estamos em Inglaterra em 1891. Numa mansão gótica, a pequena e doce Florence é deixada, juntamente com o seu irmão ao cuidado do tio, o seu novo tutor. Florence passa os dias a cuidador irmão, mas o tédio e a curiosidade fazem com que vá caminhando pelos corredores da casa até encontrar uma biblioteca secreta. A partir daí, os seus dias não serão os mesmos. Passa a devorar os livros em segredo até que o seu tio descobre e proibe-a de ler. Florence também começa a ter sonhos estranhos e questiona...more
Josh Alliston
Florence & Giles by John Harding is a tale of isolation, fear, madness and risen spirits. It is simultaneously a classic ghost story and a modern psychological thriller, with a truly unique narrator. What at first seems to be a fairly standard story of a lonely child living a secluded life in a haunted house soon turns into an intriguing, compelling, spine-tingling and original story that is impossible to put down.

Florence, our narrator, is an instantly likeable enigma, with her own take on...more
Donna
This book is set in 1891, and is about two children sent to live in their uncle's house when they are orphaned. The uncle does not live in the house however, so they are looked after by the household staff. The boy, Giles, is sent away to school but returns after a term or so due to his delicate nature and the fact he is being bullied, but this means that a governess has to be employed to school him. The older girl, Florence, receives no education but sneakily teaches herself to read in the hous...more
Jim Dennison
This book is marketed as a creepy, gothic, spooky tale in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe but actually it's none of those. It does have charm - mainly because the protagonist - Florence - is so likeable and it's written in her voice (along with her special language where she makes verbs out of nouns, which sounds annoying but actually makes it more readable in a funny sort of way).

In fact, it's something of a page turner - especially after the first 80-pages or so, when the replacement governess -...more
Tricia Harris
This is a fascinating book. We read it at Book Club, then had a visit from the author at our meeting. He is a very interesting and very ice guy, and we had a wonderfully rich discussion. He said that our interpretations of the book went way beyond what he had been thinking about and planning - not sure if that makes us a bit crazy or what - and that he loved to hear how readers dealt with his work.

I recommend reading this alongside the original inspiration, 'The Turn of the Screw' by Henry Jame...more
Jo at Jaffareadstoo
1891 - and little girls are seen but not not heard.

Orphans 12 year old Florence, and her younger brother, Giles are abandoned by their guardian, and left in the care of servants, in a crumbling Gothic manor house, in New England.When Florence is banned an education by her mysterious guardian, she teaches herself to read by visiting the forbidden library, and develops her own unique language. Fiercely protective of her brother, Florence senses a malevolent spirit pervading the character of their...more
Annji
As good a "contemporary" Gothic (written in 2010, set in 1891) as I've read. Draws heavily from James's Turn of the Screw but with enough alterations to feel fresh. There are some geuinely exciting moments and fearful moments that had me diving under the duvet.

Harding always weaves an enjoyably readable tale though this time his 12 year old girl narrator sometimes veers to the contrived as he made verbs from adjectives and nouns. For example, "I tired all the way home" or "Downstairing as quickl...more
Jill McGivering
This is a well-written novel which is also a wonderfully Gothic thriller, complete with shadowy corridors, spooky mirrors and vulnerable, isolated children. The narrator is Florence, a young girl who is immensely likeable and engaging. One of the hallmarks of this novel is the peculiar, idiosyncratic language she has developed for herself and which pervades the book. One of the central questions too is how reliable she is as a narrator - is she right to be terrified of her "evil" new Governness...more
Lexi Revellian
Twelve-year-old Florence narrates this story in her own idiosyncratic speech, gleaned from days spent surreptitiously in the library in the vast empty house she and her brother live in. Florence's voice is my favourite thing in the book, and makes it a joy to read: phrases like 'She insincered me a smile', 'I nervoused a sip of coffee', 'A flourish like a magician dehatting a rabbit'.

I cannot describe the story without spoiling it, but all is not as it seems; who is the new governess? Are strang...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Can we really trust Florence's perception of events? 7 64 Mar 07, 2014 07:56AM  
Who was Miss Taylor? 3 64 Mar 07, 2014 06:58AM  
Lush Library: Florence and Giles -- SPOILER thread 17 35 Apr 26, 2012 07:13AM  
Lush Library: Florence and Giles -- Progress and Non-Spoiler Thread 21 21 Apr 16, 2012 11:12AM  
  • Mesmerist
  • The Seance
  • The House of Lost Souls
  • Dark Matter
  • The Poisoned House
  • The Mist in the Mirror
  • The Dark Lantern
  • A Dark Dividing
  • Gothic Tales
  • The House by the Churchyard
  • The Drowning Pool
  • Late Victorian Gothic Tales
  • The Unseen
  • Grange House
  • Angelica
  • Isis
  • House of Echoes
  • The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales
One Big Damn Puzzler What We Did On Our Holiday Florence and Giles / The Turn of the Screw While the Sun Shines The Girl Who Couldn't Read

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“But, Mrs Van Hoosier, if I may make so bold-'

'You may not,' She inserted another cake into her mouth and chewed it so angrily I all but felt sorry for it. When it was finally dead she turned and fixed me a look, as though she were a scientist and I some kind of bug she was microscoping.”
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