Author: Gail Godwin
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lyrical, creepy Gothic drama, Flora hooked me from the first page--an amazing, finely wrought tale of love, revenge, and ultimately, redemption--a new favorite of all time!
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Helen, a fiercely imaginative little girl on the cusp of her eleventh birthday, is left with her twenty-two year old caretaker, sweet, simple Flora. Almost taking advantage of Flora becomes a fun pastime for Helen in her otherwise boring summer, in the midst of the end of World War II. But when a handsome young man named Finn comes by the house, and Helen begins to have feelings for him, her indifference toward Flora starts to turn into jealousy. When that jealousy comes to a climax one night, Helen doesn't realize the consequences of her actions until years later.. And they are anything but repairable..
What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical prose, narrated by angry, bitter, sometimes precocious Helen, seemingly so much older and wiser than her eleven year old self, wisdom that comes far too late, caught up as she is in her own problems
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't put it down and I read it in about a day and a half
-I loved the way this novel reminded me of Ian McEwan's bestseller Atonement, only, possibly, even better, with Gothic elements done so artfully
-Helen, the child who is so caught up in her own mind she refuses to see the consequences of her own actions, rippling until many years later
-The sweet, kind, simple Flora, who wants nothing more than her own place in the world, even just as a young teacher or a young married one, unfortunately trapped in Helen's web
-Nonie, the wise and sometimes cold old woman who mothers both Helen and Flora
-Finn, the sweet, kind young man that comes between Flora and our narrator
-I loved the supernatural elements peppered throughout this creepy novel, especially Helen hearing Nonie on some occasions
-The ending--it was perfect, and utterly heartbreaking
What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this creepy Gothic thriller! Simply amazing!
I loved Flora--a literary triumph from a seasoned veteran of an author! Next on deck: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford!