Flora by Gail Godwin
A Novel

84%

5 Critic Reviews

Unsparing yet compassionate; a fine addition to Godwin’s long list of first-rate fiction...
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen's decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work in Oak Ridge during the final months of World War II. At three, Helen lost her mother, and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. A fiercely imaginative child, Helen is desperate to keep her house intact with all its ghosts and stories. Flora, her late mother's twenty-two-year-old first cousin, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout, played against a backdrop of a lost America, will haunt Helen for the rest of her life.

This darkly beautiful novel about a child and a caretaker in isolation evokes shades of The Turn of the Screw and also harks back to Godwin's memorable novel of growing up The Finishing School. With a house on top of a mountain and a child who may be a bomb that will one day go off, Flora tells a story of love, regret, and the things we can't undo.
 

About Gail Godwin

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Gail Godwin, three-time National Book Award finalist, is the bestselling author of twelve critically acclaimed novels, including A Mother and Two Daughters, The Good Husband, Father Melancholy's Daughter, and Evensong. She is also the author of The Making of a Writer, her journal in two volumes (ed. Rob Neufeld). She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Woodstock, New York. Visit her website at www.gailgodwin.com.
 
Published May 7, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Flora
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Leah Hager Cohen on May 24 2013

...Godwin makes use of the older Helen’s voice to dispense snatches of foreboding. We understand that we’re creeping toward some calamity, whose unpredictable nature is precisely what keeps us reading.

Read Full Review of Flora: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on Aug 03 2013

If it reminds me of any other novel it's actually Atonement, but, dare I say it, Flora is a sharper, clearer portrait of a life lived remorsefully.

Read Full Review of Flora: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on May 06 2013

Remorse may be the defining emotion for our narrator, Helen, but Godwin the writer has nothing to regret: Flora is an elegant little creeper of a story.

Read Full Review of Flora: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Kirkus

Excellent
on Feb 04 2013

Unsparing yet compassionate; a fine addition to Godwin’s long list of first-rate fiction...

Read Full Review of Flora: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Anne Trubek on May 05 2013

The ending is tumultuous...Nor, unlike her young protagonist, does she show off. She draws out the haunting Big Questions — loss, regret, family bonds — as the novel progresses, and then she leaves them, smartly and humbly, for the reader to answer.

Read Full Review of Flora: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for Flora
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 231 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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