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John Harding, Estate of

John Harding was born in the Isle of Ely in 1951. After local village and grammar schools, he read English at Oxford. He worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor before becoming a freelance writer. His first novel, the bestselling What We Did On Our Holiday  was shortlisted for the WHSmith New Talent Award. He also wrote the acclaimed While The Sun Shines and One Big Damn Puzzle. His last novel, Florence and Giles, is gripping gothic page turner in the tradition of The Turn of the Screw.

Books in order of publication:

What We Did On Our Holiday (2000)

While The Sun Shines (2002)

One Big Damn Puzzler (2005)

Florence and Giles (2010)

In praise of John Harding:

‘You don’t need to know The Turn of the Screw to enjoy it. Real atmosphere is increasingly rare in novels and here it is in spades; mysterious towers, faces in mirrors, shadowy corridors and long black dresses. Like James, Harding keeps his dramatis personae tightly confined and ramps up the suspense and mystery until even the most careful reader wonders what’s going on and what isn’t. Your Twilight-reading teen will love it too. A darkly glamorous tour de force.’ – Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

Florence and Giles is a gripping gothic page-turner told in a startlingly different and wonderfully captivating narrative voice.’ – The Guardian

Florence and Giles is an elegant literary exercise worked out with the strictness of a fugue: imagine Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw reworked by Edgar Allan Poe … Nothing prepares you for the chillingly ruthless but inevitable finale.’ – The Times

‘Harding rings enough ingenious changes on James’s study of perversity to produce his own full-blown Gothic horror tale. The climax of their struggle… is genuinely exciting and shocking. Florence’s often very personal narrative does… powerfully and convincingly convey the vulnerability of children faced with terror.’ – The Independent

‘A tight gothic thriller… The climax becomes unbearably tense. Florence feels the horror of her situation “cheese-grating” her soul, which is just how Harding leaves the reader feeling at the end of this creepily suggestive story.’ – Financial Times

 ‘This not only entertains in its own right but illuminates the work it is glancing off.’ – The Guardian, Top 10 modern gothic novels

 ‘Florence and Giles by John Harding is excellent. Very creepy, very haunting….Delicate, disturbing with a wonderful Amberson’s’ feel… ‘ – Mark Gatiss

‘Thoroughly ingenious and captivating…This is a book in which nothing is certain — neither for the characters, nor for our perception of them and of what is happening…. It’s a scarily good story, in an arrestingly unusual narrative voice.’ – The Oxford Times

‘Nods at The Turn of the Screw but turns into something far more sinister. Written in an unusual voice, full of invented words, I found the whole thing gripping.’ – The Bookseller

‘An intriguing read.’ – Grazia

‘Harding winds things nice and taut… brilliant tension where the reader knows something wicked is this way coming, but with little clue as to the direction… The eeriness pervades like a dank fog.’ – New Zealand Herald

‘With a nod to Henry James’s classic The Turn Of The Screw, this is a brilliantly creepy tale of a precocious young girl and her brother in a gloomy 19th-century mansion, who are suddenly threatened by a malevolent new governess.’ – The Mirror


John Harding, Estate of Titles