I have always been partial to a Gothic tale (my favourite authors are the Bronte Sisters) so when I happened across this book with a Times recommendation that read 'Imagine The Turn of the Screw reworked by Edgar Allen Poe' emblazoned on the front cover, I had to pick it up. I went through this book at a breath-taking pace. It is compelling, atmospheric, dark, claustrophobic and so very well-crafted. I heartily recommend it. It is written in the first-person, from the perspective of a troubled little girl and though we see the world through her eyes, the information that is provided means that an adult reader can solve mysteries that are beyond the reasoning of the protaganist. The conclusion of the book is stunning, and not quite what you might expect.
I don't think I could give a better summary of the plot than the one provided on the back cover (at least not without giving too much away) so here is the back cover text:
1891. In a crumbling New England mansion, 12-year-old orphan Florence and her younger brother Giles are neglected by their guardian uncle. Banned from reading, Florence devours books in secret, and twists words and phrases into a language uniquely her own.
After the violent death of the children's first governess, a second arrives. Florence becomes convinced she is a vengeful and malevolent spirit who means to do Giles harm. Against a powerful enemy, with no adult to turn to for help, Florence will need all her intelligence and ingenuity to save Giles and preserve her private world. This is her chilling tale...