The BookBrowse Review

Published May 15, 2019

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

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Publishing Soon

Novels


Historical Fiction


Thrillers


Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Alternate History


Biography/Memoir


History, Science & Current Affairs


Young Adults

Novels


Extras
  • Blog:
    The Caribbean: A Reading List for Book Clubs and Bookworms
  • Wordplay:
    I I T S Form O F
  • Book Giveaway:
    My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...
Book Jacket

The Confessions of Frannie Langton
by Sara Collins
21 May 2019
384 pages
Publisher: Harper
ISBN-13: 9780062851895
Genre: Historical Fiction
Critics:
Readers:
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A servant and former slave is accused of murdering her employer and his wife in this astonishing historical thriller that moves from a Jamaican sugar plantation to the fetid streets of Georgian London.

All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, 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 tried at the Old Bailey.

The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore.

But Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, even if remembering could save her life. She doesn't know how she came to be covered in the victims' blood. 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 home—and 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.

" Powerful... .both a highly suspenseful murder mystery and a vivid historical novel, but best of all is the depiction of Frannie, a complex and unforgettable protagonist. This is a great book sure to find a wide—and deserved—audience." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Collins invokes both Voltaire and Defoe here, and she forges an unlikely but sadly harmonic connection with both these enlightenment heroes in her gripping, groundbreaking debut." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This dark, disquieting story may appeal to historical fiction fans with a penchant for the gothic." - Library Journal

"Collins throws various genres into a literary blender to produce a heady, gothic, mad-scientist, bildungsroman, lesbian, feminist portrait of a marriage; slave narrative; and upstairs-downstairs murder-mystery and courtroom-drama smoothie. Fans of any of these elements will be drawn to this absorbing novel of a woman boxed in by geography, chronology, gender, and the color of her skin." - Booklist

"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." - Emma Donoghue

"From the sweltering heat of the West Indies to the rain-slicked cobbles of London, Collins transports her readers to the nineteenth century with an enthralling historical thriller. 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 Frannie Langton is gorgeous—Gothic writing at its very best." - Christine Mangan, bestselling author of Tangerine

"Destined to become a benchmark for historical fiction, The Confessions of Frannie Langton is at once fiercely raw and remorselessly beautiful...A book to be devoured, marveled at, applauded—and yes, studied, for its ability to turn grim history into a wildly romantic expedition into the darkest corners of the human heart." - Lyndsay Faye, internationally bestselling author of Jane Steele and The Gods of Gotham

"A spectacular, dark novel, with elements of Jane Eyre and Paradise Lost... Just like all really good Gothic stories, it keeps you balancing right on the edge of not wanting to look, but feeling like you can't look away... An absolute gem that points at you and asks whether it might be a sign of horrifying privilege, to enjoy a genre devoted to the grotesque." - Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

"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." - Stef Penney, bestselling author of The Tenderness of Wolves

"Frannie's voice is compelling: tender and furious and wholly deserving of attention." - Jessie Greengrass, author of Sight

Write your own review

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Sandi W.
The slave's confession...
Through the written confession of a slave, a maid, we find out whether or not she committed the murder that she is being tried and convicted of. Frannie Langton has been accused of killing the woman she loves - a wealthy woman whose illness puts her in frail state. Not to mention her addiction to opiates.

Educated by her Jamaican 'Massa' so that she could help with his experiments on his slave population, he then 'gifted' her to his London scientific-writing partner in crime. Once she became her Mistresses personal maid she saw the disparity between her and the Mister and took her mistresses side in all accounts, only to find this action would hurt her in the near future.

When arrested for the murders of her new owners, Frannie is not sure. She is also now a opiate addict, thanks to her Mistress, and cannot remember what actually happened. The final account of her life she writes as her trial takes place.

Collins did a good job not only on character development but on the way she presented the story. Chapters are interspersed between Frannie's final letter and her murder trial. It is only in the last pages that Collins brings the story together. With this type of work as a debut, this author will be one to watch.

Sara Collins is of Jamaican descent and grew up in Grand Cayman and studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years before doing a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing.

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