Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Florence and Giles” as Want to Read:
Florence and Giles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Florence and Giles

(Florence & Giles #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  3,969 ratings  ·  441 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

Kindle Edition, 277 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Blue Door (first published 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Florence and Giles, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Karen They are 2 completely separate stories, so it does not really matter which is first. However, the way the language is created is the same in both…moreThey are 2 completely separate stories, so it does not really matter which is first. However, the way the language is created is the same in both books, so the one you read second, you will understand quicker.(less)
Janine I loved Florence as the narrator, but I thought her 'own language' was pointless, annoying and added nothing to the story.
I thought that sort of…more
I loved Florence as the narrator, but I thought her 'own language' was pointless, annoying and added nothing to the story.
I thought that sort of effect was more successfully done in other novels, e.g. Snake Ropes by Jess Richards.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,969 ratings  ·  441 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Maggie Stiefvater
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
This brief horror homage is a bit like one of those unusual appetizers they bring out at froo-froo restaurants. What are they called? Amuse-bouches. It is perhaps not anything that you would like to eat as an entire meal, and maybe not even something that, before that moment, you had contemplating even putting in your mouth, but now that the moment is on you, it's sort of interesting-looking and hey, it can only last so long, right? And sometimes it turns out to be an aerosolized shellfish on a ...more
April Cote
A two and a half star. This one pissed me off. I was so bored in the beginning I almost abandoned it. Around chapter 10 it picked up pace and the thrills got going. Murder, possible kidnapping, a witch, mysterious persons who are only spoken of but never gets you curious and excited! Yes!! The story is getting good! You get to the last chapter and you think, I will finally get all the answers to all the mystery!! You keep reading...and here it is the end is near! And it's.....A BI ...more
A great gothic novel!

I gave it 4 stars because the beginning was a bit tedious but after a while it gets dark and sinister and so gripping you simply cannot put it down..Being a gothic lover (Poe, Stoker, Shelley, Walpole) I soon realized this one was right down my alley!
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Essie Fox
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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'.
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
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
Asghar Abbas
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Why won't I review this? This is one of the best Gothic books I have ever read. 2014. This book made me feel all sorts of things.

I mean, I don't get it. I'd gladly review desultory and horrendously written books like The Other Boleyn Girl, though that review was so much fun to write, but not this book which I genuinely loved and is arguably one of my favorite novels. Look at its cover.

The ending and the very last words will have you ashiver. And already have its sequel ready to go, just waitin
Amy Westgarth
Oct 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What a complete load of rubbish.

I had such high expectations of this book. The front cover lured me in with that creepy face at the window. From the blurb I was expecting a haunting, Victorian-style ghost story, perfect for reading on cold evenings with a hot chocolate.

Sadly, what I got was utter drivel. I appreciate the writing style was deliberately different with the made up words and switcheroo of traditional sentences. It did get right on my tits, but I could have let it go were the story
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,
Florence and Giles are two orphans who live at Blithe House, their absent guardian’s mansion. After the untimely death of their governess, another teacher, Miss Taylor, arrives and strange things begin to happen, but only Florence seems aware of these events. The girl starts to think that Miss Taylor is not a real governess and that she arrived at their house with a clear plan in her mind: to kidnap Giles and leave with him. Can a twelve-year-old girl save his brother without the help of anybody ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 intent
Beth The Vampire
Florence and Giles is an interesting tale of gothic horror that has an excelled protagonist, but whose ghostly elements are a minimum and plot was very thin.

Twelve year old Florence, and her younger brother Giles, live at Blyth under the guardianship of their uncle who they have never met. Giles is reached school age and I sent off to boarding school, leaving Florence alone in the sprawling mansion with only the help to keep her company. Florence has been forbidden to be taught to read or write,
Michelle Miller (True Book Addict)
One of my favorite Henry James stories is The Turn of the Screw. The Times (London) review of this book stated: "Imagine The Turn of the Screw reworked by Edgar Allan Poe." So true! This was a truly Gothic novel. Very creepy and atmospheric. The main character, the little girl, Florence is forbidden to read (because girls don't need to read, according to her uncle) and so she finds inventive ways to get her hands on the books in the library. This, and her tenacity, endeared Florence to me. Anoth ...more
Martin Belcher
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The original use of the language definitely makes this book stand out. It's a gothic novel for a younger audience. Sufficiently creepy and interesting, it's also very readable and I think I would have loved it at 12 as much as I liked it now.

My only beef with it was that occasionally the original language became a bit overbearing and I kept wanting to correct it.

Also, Florence is one scary child. >_>
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.
A creepy re-imagining of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.
'Florence & Giles' by John Harding.

I had intended this as a Halloween read breaking away from my routine of SFF books. This book is inspired from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.

Neglected by their guardian uncle, orphaned Florence lives along with her step-brother Giles in a remote and old mansion around the late 19th century. After the sudden death of their governess, a second teacher arrives - Miss Taylor; and along with her comes certain mysterious phenomena. Florence suspects her to b
Book Z Tobą
2,5 if I'm being generous
Review of ‘Florence & Giles’ by John Harding

Read April 2015

I just love a good old-fashioned, hair gripping, prickles on the back of your neck, Gothic thriller! And, this gem by John Harding certainly delivers.

We begin in a great old mansion in New England in 1891. Twelve year old Florence and her little brother, Giles, live in complete isolation here with just a few loyal servants to care for the children. Their parents died years before, and the children are being ‘raised’ (I use that word
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like really weird made up words
Shelves: audiobooks
One of the most irritating audiobooks I've ever borrowed.

I was so excited by the blurb for this novel, The Turn of the Screw is one of my favourite stories so anything in the same vain is sure to be a winner, right? Wrong. Florence seems incapable of actual speech. Despite a heavy handed suggestion from Harding (for it was clearly a writers suggestion and not Florence's) that Shakespeare's ability to make up words was amazing and our heroine wishes to do the same adding 'ery' to the end of word
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Florence is a 12 year old orphan living with her younger brother in an old mansion under the care of a small group of servants, all paid for by her uncle. After the governess dies in a tragic boating accident, another is sent to replace her. Florence is convinced she is an evil entity there to steal Giles away. Throughout you're made to think that this is going to be a horror story about possession or some such but there are hints to the darker nature of the human soul and imagination. Very cree ...more
Alexandra (ModernAlexandrian)
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!
Alekz K. (Bookupied)
I like the style, the gothic atmosphere was nicely done. The ending was soul crushing, god! But there was a few unanswered questions that I'd like to get more from. And the characters age was a bit diffuse, like, are kids really like that? In general it was a good gothic tale though.
Hallie Lauritzen
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deliciously fascinating.
Nadhiah Aida
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, rb-2017
okay the ending .. i have question .. how Florence end in asylum institute? she killed Ms Taylor and Theo .. i have read the second book .. so question pop in head ..

Mike Bevel
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
this! book! is! dumb!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The House of Lost Souls
  • A Dark Dividing
  • The Mesmerist (The Mesmerist, #1)
  • The Poisoned House
  • The Small Hand
  • The Seance
  • Set in Stone
  • Isis (Harrow House, #0.25)
  • A Most Dangerous Woman (Sarah Tanner, #1)
  • Grange House
  • Dark Matter
  • Magpie Hall
  • The Pleasures of Men
  • The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
  • The Dark Lantern
  • Late Victorian Gothic Tales
  • The Anatomy of Ghosts
  • The Journal of Dora Damage
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Florence & Giles (2 books)
  • The Girl Who Couldn’t Read
“As I princessed in the tower, he knight-in-shining-armoured up the drive.” 7 likes
“She was mantelpieced by a large bosom [...] you could have stood things on it, a vase of flowers and a bust of Beethoven, and a family photograph or two, maybe.” 3 likes
More quotes…