JackieB's Reviews > Florence & Giles

Florence & Giles by John  Harding
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's review
Dec 08, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, gothic
Read in June, 2011

The plot of this book was brilliant. I can see why it's compared with the Turn of the Screw, but in many ways that is unfair. It is not just a retelling of that novel. I liked the subtle way that John Harding used his narrator (12 year old Florence) to hint and suggest a lot more than the narration actually said. He generated an incredibly powerful atmosphere of repression and paranoia as the plot progresed. I thought it became obvious how it was going to end, unless someone intervened. However, Mr Harding generated a lot of suspense around whether anyone would realise what was happening and intervene. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't - read the book to find out!
However, I struggled with Florence's narration. She had developed a private version of English which seemed to mainly consist of inventing her own verbs. It was always obvious what she meant, but it seemed that around half of the verbs she used were her own invention and it just jarred on me. I can see why Mr Harding did it, and it think he did it brilliantly, but that aspect of the novel just didn't work for me.
Overall, I am definitely going to read more of Mr Harding's novels, but I suspect Florence and Giles will be the one I least like, although it's got an awful lot going for it.

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