Florence & Giles Florence & Giles discussion


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SPOILERS! What really happened with her father and stepmother?

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Dana SPOILERS!
If Ms. Taylor was Giles mother and Florence's stepmother then what happened during the boating accident when she supposedly died? Was the uncle actually Florence's father, and that was why he never came to Blythe? I have a theory that he actually drowned his wife and faked his death so he could re-emerge as the uncle and lead a whole new life. Somehow the wife survived and eventually returned for her son Giles. The reasons behind his actions are what we can only speculate on.


Lori Claxton MORE SPOILERS! :)

I hoped to learn more about that boating accident, too. It's heavily implied that Florence killed Miss Whitaker by hitting her over the head with the oar...which makes me wonder whether she had any part in the boat accident that killed her father and seemed to kill her stepmother. Of course, she'd have been young/small, if she came to Blythe House when she was only four (though Harding seems to make an error in this regard: In Ch. 1, Florence states, "I first made my way here a third of my lifetime ago, when I was eight," but later it's said, a couple different times, that she was only four).

I wondered whether the uncle and brother were twins, and that was why Florence at first mistook her father, in the photos, for her uncle, based on his painted portrait.

My thought is that Miss Taylor was the uncle's love who "someone elsed," as Florence put it, but the someone else for whom she left him was his own brother...henc him not really wanting to take an active part in the lives of his brother's children.

I'm really not sure how I feel about the ending of the book...but apparently there's a sequel.


Holly Lori wrote: "MORE SPOILERS! :)

I hoped to learn more about that boating accident, too. It's heavily implied that Florence killed Miss Whitaker by hitting her over the head with the oar...which makes me won..."


The father and the uncle were the same person. I interpret it like this:

Florence & Giles father is a wealthy married man with a wife and family of his own. He keeps his mistresses and any children they may provide him with, at Blithe House. The residents of Blithe House are unaware of his true identity and can only contact him through the lawyers in order to keep his "other family" a secret from his public family.

The uncle and the father are the same guy; Florence has been lied to, but she can see the truth in the photos.

Miss Taylor is a former mistress who abandoned her lover and child, had regrets and has come back to be with her son without his father knowing it, hence all the secrecy surrounding her hiring.


Lori Claxton Yes, it's likely that they are the same person and there was no boating accident.

I had thought Mrs. Van Hoosier knew him, but I just flipped back to that section (end of Ch. 7) and saw that what she said was, "I never had that pleasure, never even heard of the man until we bought this place, although I did meet your stepmother once."

And then the stepmother is described as having been "pretty, though not at all sophisticated" and Mrs. Van Hoosier adds, "Then I heard she'd married someone from these parts."

So it's possible that Miss Taylor "abandoned her lover and child," but I as I read it I didn't get the impression that abandoning her child was her choice. My thought throughout was that she couldn't keep her child because she didn't have money/social status, and because she was a 19thC woman (around 1883 when Giles was born).


Holly Lori wrote: "Yes, it's likely that they are the same person and there was no boating accident.

I had thought Mrs. Van Hoosier knew him, but I just flipped back to that section (end of Ch. 7) and saw that wha..."


Whatever her original reasons for leaving, she certainly has returned to reclaim her son and, it would seem, take him away and raise him on her own.

She certainly did an excellent job of avoiding Mrs Van Hoosier, who would have recognized her......


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