Persistentwriter is reading…….

Review of the week

Florence & Giles by John Harding

Florence and Giles was handed out in a bag of free goodies at York festival of Writing and i’m so glad they did otherwise I would never have heard about it. What a gem. What a wonderful, theatrical, magical book. From the first chapter of this dark tale I was gripped. I read this book from start to finish in one sitting.

If you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James then you will love this book. Henry James’  The Turn of the Screw is evident as the platform on which this is staged. Flora and Miles become Florence and Giles, Bly House becomes Blythe House and Mrs Groves becomes Mrs Grouse. The comparisons should not make James’ fans throw their arms up in horror at such blastphome but encourage them to enjoy the gift, and accept the compliment to HJ that Harding so obviously intends.

The protagonist (and antagonist at some points) and narrator, Florence, an intelligent young girl not yet in her teens, teaches herself to read going against the instructions by her strict and distant uncle that she be kept illiterate. Throughout the book she develops her own language style combining nouns and verbs. This may sound grating but is in fact a superb twist to the narration and gives the character a distinct voice.

Giles, the younger brother, is not as intelligent as Florence and completely reliant on those around him including his sister, who steps into the parental role following the death of their parents. Florence becomes obsessively protective over her little brother with terrible consequences. The story takes a dark and sinister turn which is unexpected and unpredictable unlike other Poe-type stories I have read. As a writer I read in awe of the clever way in which Harding shows the demise and arc of his characters.

This is a book that I have recommended to many friends and my thirteen year old son is now enjoying the story as much as he enjoyed the cover (see below, teehee).

I rate this book 5* (and not just because of the excellent and entertaining cover!)

General reading

I make no secret of the fact that i’m a huge Stephen King fan, I mean, who isn’t?? But there are other authors that I read,and enjoy. My tastes are somewhat eclectic in all forms of the arts, so why wouldn’t my writing and reading habits be the same? I love words. I love creative writing. I love a good story in any form. I love music. I love pictures. I love colours. I love all of them joined together in one!


Anything by Tolkien, Alice in Wonderland, Emma, anything by Charlaine Harris (noone writes sex scenes like this woman!), Anne Rice, absolutely anything by Mr King, Fup by Jim Dodge and many, many, many more. This probably means that I haven’t really got a favourite as such! Typical woman; can’t make up her mind.

Fup by Jim Dodge has to be my all time favourite Novella; a tiny tome of magic and wonder. If you have not yet read it, do! I insist! You will not regret it.

My Current Time-takers

See Novel Publicity Page for my latest review selection from them.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter – Seth Grahame-Smith (BRILLIANT)

The Story Book by David Baboulene (Enlightening read!!)

Zombie Apocolypse – Stephen Jones (Gross but brilliant)

The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas 

The Blood Lance – Craig Smith (Go Craig!! Great book)

and many, many more!

I can never read one book at a time, it’s a good job really!

  1. Ian Bontems says:

    Hey, Kirie. I met you at York this weekend (you gave me your card on Friday night’s table-hopping, and we both went to Nicola Morgan’s excellent workshop on Sunday).

    I recently read Wolf Hall and absolutely loved it (I was most put out when a fellow librarian called it turgid rubbish). I thought it was immediate and so well told (I’d expected a far dryer read than I got from the book). I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts when you finish it.

    Haven’t got around to picking up Mr Larsson’s trilogy, I guess I’m a bit like you with regards to picking up a book because everyone else is, but the reviews have all been so positive I’m just going to have to take the plunge.

    Great site btw!

  2. Hi Ian, Thanks for reading the blog & it was fab to meet you. Good luck with your writing. Keep me informed of how it all goes 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s