Author(s): Gail Godwin
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. In this, Gail Godwin's fourteenth novel, she evokes shades of The Turn of the Screw as she explores inequality of relationships between adults and children in a taut, subtle and moving tale of love, regret, and the things we can't undo.
Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Gail Godwin's penetrating and haunting narrative about intimacy and loss and remorse, set against a background of world-changing events
"Remorse is wired straight to the heart," the older Helen tells us. Gail Godwin's Flora is similarly wired - straight to the heart ... I've long thought of Gail Godwin as a present-day George Eliot - our keenest observer of lifelong, tragically unwitting decisions. Flora is also a novel as word-perfect and taut as an Alice Munro short story; like Munro, Godwin has flawlessly depicted the kind of fatalistic situation we can encounter in our youth - one that utterly robs us of our childhood and steers the course for our adult lives. This is a luminously written, heartbreaking book John Irving Unsparing yet compassionate; a fine addition to Godwin's long list of first-rate fiction bringing 19th-century richness of detail and characterization to the ambiguities of modern life Kirkus Reviews The wonder of this incisive novel of the endless repercussions of loss and remorse at the dawn of the atomic age is how subtly Godwin laces it with exquisite insights into secret family traumas, unspoken sexuality, class and racial divides, and the fallout of war while unveiling the incubating mind of a future writer Booklist
Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of twelve critically acclaimed novels, including Violet Clay, Father Melancholy's Daughter, Evensong, The Good Husband and Evenings at Five. 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 for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Gail Godwin lives in Woodstock, New York. Visit her website at www.gailgodwin.com