Author: John Harding
Published date: 2010
Genre: Historic, Gothic, Horror
The cover of Florence & Giles resembles the raven in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. Just like the poem, it successfully delivers the same eerie gothic vibe to the reader.
1891. In a remote New England mansion lives 12 year old Florence and her younger brother Giles. Florence spends her time reading in secret, against her uncles’ will. At night she sleep walks the dark old corridors and has a recurring dream where a mysterious woman threatens her younger brother.
What thought to be dream becomes a reality to Florence who begins to witness strange phenomena when the children’s second governess, replacing the first who died a terrible death, arrives. She becomes certain the mysterious woman in her dream is the new governess and must find a way to protect her brother from harm.
The best word to describe Florence & Giles is eerie. It flows throughout and makes friends with horror. This book is narrated by Florence. The author did well in translating a protective 12 year old thoughts and actions into words. Simple language is used with made up words only a 12 year old would create.
The first couple of chapters explain the closeness of the siblings and Florence's talent for hiding when reading. The eeriness does not start till Florence’s dream is explain by the appearance of the new governess. Florence starts to see things she can’t explain and no one will believe her.
This novel is a good read. It has the perfect mixture of horror without gruesomeness. It is much more than a straight forward child verse evil governess.
From the beginning, there is no doubt the governess is hiding something but nothing out of the supernatural. Nothing to fear. But the further I read, the more the governess scares me.
There is a battle between Florence and the Governess, good versus evil until the end. The end is when everything makes sense. It explains why the governess is there, why she wants to harm Giles and why Florence is the only one who sees the truth.
The end is when the horror is realized and is, I think the scariest part of the novel. Then again I don’t read horror or gothic books. I get scared easily when it comes to the supernatural. There is nothing bad I can say about this novel. The pace was perfect, the characters written well and the depth of Florence belief is solid.
Florence & Giles is worth a read. It is a horror, gothic novel and will scare you and maybe even make you see things in the mirror that are not really there (or are they?). The twist in this novel might be typical, but it is still captivating enough to hold attention and provide indication that horror comes in different forms.
A must read.
Terri's Rating: 3/5