Publisher's Summary

New England, 1890. Doctor John Shepherd arrives at a women's mental hospital to begin work as assistant to the owner. As Shepherd struggles to conceal his secrets, he finds the asylum has plenty of its own. Intrigued by a girl who is fascinated by books but cannot read, Shepherd embarks upon an experiment to help her. In this chilling literary thriller everyone has something to hide and no one is what they seem.
©2014 John Harding (P)2014 W.F. Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By elena on 01-05-2018

Pretty good for a sequel!

An OK sequel to Florence and Giles.The horror of the Victorian lunatic asylum,complete with the special lunatic hidden away in the attic and a hideous female jailer,jangling her keys in a menacing fashion.However this was not central to the tale.
All I can say is,if you want to be drawn in,intrigued,horrified and then shocked rigid,listen to this book.It is fantastic,although not as good as F&G.You don't need to listen to the first,as this is pretty good as a standalone,but you will probably get more from it if you do.
In this book we hear from the narrative of a man who arrives at an isolated women's mental asylum to work.We learn early on he is not who he claims to be,but do not find out why until much later in the story.Not only is he not who he claims he is,but he finds himself in the middle of other things he can't explain.What is the mystery that Doctor Morgan,the man in charge is hiding and what is the tale behind the mysterious young patient Jane Dove and her strange unique language that she uses...although this is not as prominent as in F&G,it is there.
The story is reminiscent of other classic tales,but none the worse for it and the final chapters were tense and gripping.
I would love the author to continue this series,even if it is only to make it a trilogy,to tell us what happened to Florence,as it is left quite open.Maybe with the intention of continuing the story further.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Charlotte Brown on 08-04-2017

Gloriously Grim & Bleak

What made the experience of listening to The Girl Who Couldn't Read the most enjoyable?

This one took a few hours to get going for me but when it did I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the beginning a bit tedious, with all the descriptions of mental and physical abuse (which they call treatment) going on and not much else happening except the day to day drudgery of life in a Victorian mental asylum. I almost gave up on it but so glad I didn't. The narrator in the beginning almost sounded like he was announcing rather than narrating but that too picks up and found it's stride perfectly. It's a dark, brooding and bleak story but without giving too much away, the suspense really amps up when the character of Caroline Adams makes an appearance at the hospital. Some comment that you wouldn't have to read the excellent Florence & Giles to get this one, but I kind of disagree and I'm very glad I did as I understood the patient Jane Dove very well and anticipated what could possibly happen. Full of suspense and twists. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt or maybe I just didn't want it to end, but it did leave it open for a sequel of some kind I hope. Highly recommend this one!

What other book might you compare The Girl Who Couldn't Read to, and why?

Florence & Giles as it's kind of a continuation of what happens to Florence.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It got going for me when Caroline Adams makes an appearance at the hospital. Full of suspense from that moment on.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend this.

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