- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1520 KB
- Print Length: 371 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062851896
- Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (4 April 2019)
- Sold by: Penguin UK
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07FQ6ZYDG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 182 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #121,535 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Confessions of Frannie Langton: The Costa Book Awards First Novel Winner 2019 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 371 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Wide Sargasso Sea meets Beloved meets Alias Grace . . . deep-diving, elegant
Sara Collins takes the gothic genre by the scruff of the neck...a triumph of powerful characterisation melded with suspenseful plotting while also breaking new ground in subverting a familiar genre (Bernadine Evaristo The Guardian Best Books of 2019)
Frannie Langton is an unforgettable heroine, one who boldly reclaims her narrative within the context of a history that seeks to silence her. The Confessions of Fannie Langton is gorgeous-Gothic writing at its very best
A seductive and entrancing read, with captivating historical detail...The Confessions of Frannie Langton is an extremely powerful book that resonates long after the final page has been turned.
An impressive debut, dazzlingly original (The Times)
Bold and powerful (The Sunday Times)
With echoes of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Sara Waters's The Paying Guests, this is an accomplished debut novel that perfectly captures the atmosphere of Georgian London and gives voice to a singular and unforgettable heroine (Red Magazine)
'I usually pick proofs up, read the blurb, maybe read a few pages... and that is usually that. This time, I started reading it - and then I couldn't stop. Sara Collins has created a tough, fiery, vividly alive character. Beautifully written, in crisp and careful prose; but more than that, it comes across as a story that's been waiting to be written for a very long time...[Collins] has picked up the tradition of gothic fiction and made it brand new.'
By turns lush, gritty, wry, gothic and compulsive, The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a dazzling page turner. With as much psychological savvy as righteous wrath, Sara Collins twists together the slave narrative, bildungsroman, love story and crime novel to make something new.'
From the Back Cover
No one knows the worst thing theyre capable of until they do it. . . .
All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, who is accused of the brutal double murder of her employers, renowned scientist George Benham and his eccentric French wife, Marguerite. Crowds pack the courtroom, eagerly following every twist, while the newspapers print lurid theories about the killings and the mysterious woman being held in the Old Bailey.
The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore. Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, or how she came to be covered in the victims blood, even if remembering could save her life.
But she does have a tale to tell: a story of her childhood on a Jamaican plantation, her apprenticeship under a debauched scientist who stretched all bounds of ethics, and the events that brought her into the Benhams London homeand into a passionate and forbidden relationship.
Though her testimony may seal her conviction, the truth will unmask the perpetrators of crimes far beyond murder and indict the whole of English society itself.The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a breathtaking debut: a murder mystery that travels across the Atlantic and through the darkest channels of history. A brilliant, searing depiction of race, class, and oppression that penetrates the skin and sears the soul, it is the story of a woman of her own making in a world that would see her unmade.
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We meet the eponymous narrator in prison in London awaiting an Old Bailey trial for murdering her employers.
Frannie was born into slavery in 1820s Jamaica: a mulatta sired by the owner of the estate, whose name is Langton.
He's into studying the skulls and other bits of the "lesser races" to show why they're lesser. Sometimes, he doesn't wait till they're dead.
His English rose of a wife takes our gal under her wing and teaches her to read, and none of your tat either. Rather she tackles Moby Dick, Moll Flanders, Candide and the like.
A fire on the estate leads to a change of economic circumstances. Langton's wife leaves him, and he goes back to blighty with his bastard daughter Frannie in tow as his maid.
When he gets there, he promptly gives to Benham, a dude he's trying to impress, which is somehow okay even though slavery's now banned in England.
Frannie pals up with Benham's French missus (lesbian overtones++) but they have a falling out and she ends up in a brothel catering to Englishmen who like to be birched! (The English disease).
Madame gets sick so she summons Frannie back to nurse her. Then she and the old boy get dead. Everyone blames the black maid, as you would. She says she didn't do it.
The early parts in Jamaica were compelling; the London bit not so much. High quality prose. Some interesting ideas raised. Frannie’s degree of erudition is difficult to believe.
Top international reviews
There is no doubt that Frannie is the heroine of this book, and one you can’t help but admire. As she tells her story you become invested in her, and as the plot moves towards the murder charge you will the outcome to be not guilty. Paradise was the plantation she was brought up on in Jamaica, but it was no paradise for her, the other slaves or in fact the owners. Frannie was a mulatta, her mother a black slave and her father, the owner of the plantation John Langton. This puts her in a strange position on the plantation, she is neither one thing or another. Taken on as a house slave due to her father she is not trusted by the other slaves, but in the house she is a slave to her mistress and Langton. This is a situation that seems to follow her around; at the Benhams she becomes a ladies maid to Maurgerite Benham where the other servants are mistrustful of her, but Mr Benham sees as a servant. Throughout her life she seems to occupy a grey area as she is educated by her father, an intelligent woman who can read and write, but ultimately seen as a heathen due to the colour of her skin. In every book there is a villain, and in this book there are two; John Langton and George Benham. As a child they used Frannie as an experiment to see if these heathens could be educated, and then used her abilities to help with their experiments, to their benefit.
Sara Collins has a wonderful writing style that makes this book flow beautifully and a pleasure to read. The historical detail is brilliant, and this detail is carried on to the very different settings in the book, the heat and dryness of Paradise to the cold, wet and dark city of London. The characters are richly drawn and have a gritty realism to them making them very believable, especially the rawness and honesty of Frannie. The tension is kept throughout as Frannie slowly reveals her story, and the build up to the murder and the huge question of what happened that terrible night and was Frannie capable of murder.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a rich and detailed historical novel, that is written with great thought and understanding. Frannie’s story is one of hardship, difference, strength, love and sadness, where she is treated as a commodity and a possession at the hands of white men. As a debut novel this is stunning and I can’t wait to read Sara Collins next novel; a wonderful read.
I'm glad I stuck with it, I was drawn in and found myself sneaking 5 minutes here and there to read it when I could.
Obviously a well researched and respectfully written version of events. As a 2019 woman, it's hard to imagine the servitude, both emoloyed and married into.
Complex, beautifully written and haunting, this book has stayed with me for days after I have finished it. Superb.
This book is a must read, a book of the year, the discussion it provoked amongst me and my friends made it feel less like a novel and more like a reflection on 19th and 21st culture. You must read this book.
The back cover makes it sound 100% times better than it actually is. Very disappointed
I didn't know what to expect from this novel. I read a brief synopsis which said it was a gothic thriller. I was a bit apprehensive about reading it as my initial thoughts were of gory details, horror, death in some inexplicable manner and so on.
However, I'm on a journey to discover and read novels by black authors from different genres so, why miss this one? I'm glad I added this to my list.
It is an historical novel based in the early 19th century with its roots in Jamaica and England. It traces the life of Frannie Langton and those around her with a lot of background information that will have you gaining knowledge in Biology and law.
The supporting characters are well formed with lots of metaphors in the narrative. You can actually picture the scenes as if you were there.
This novel reminded me of Gentleman Jack. A very powerful, moving historical novel played out on the screens.
If you're interested in what life was like for a black slave in the 19th century living in Jamaica and England and being caught up in the judicial system then this is a must read!
I fell in love with Frannie and her observational wit. I did find the inevitable outcome a little rushed and would have liked more detail and less confusion in the conclusion, I did have to read it twice, but I appreciate that some of the confusion was deliberately fuelled by laudanum in the narrator.