The Confessions of Frannie Langton
by Sara Collins


Overview -

"A startling, compelling historical debut novel. . . should be on top of your vacation reading pile." -The Washington Post

"A stunning debut. . . . I love this book." -Guardian

"Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace . . . a] devious, richly detailed debut." -O: The Oprah Magazine

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--a remarkable literary debut with echoes of Alias Grace, The Underground Railroad, and The Paying Guests.

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.

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More About The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
 
 
 
Overview

"A startling, compelling historical debut novel. . . should be on top of your vacation reading pile." -The Washington Post

"A stunning debut. . . . I love this book." -Guardian

"Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace . . . a] devious, richly detailed debut." -O: The Oprah Magazine

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--a remarkable literary debut with echoes of Alias Grace, The Underground Railroad, and The Paying Guests.

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062851895
  • ISBN-10: 0062851896
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: May 2019
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Women
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

Former slave Frannie Langton is warned early in her service to her London employer, George Benham, that “a good servant must know her place, to be content in it.” Frannie readily admits that this has “always been my trouble. Never knowing my place or being content in it.”

Frannie, who is fiercely independent, immediately likable and stubbornly contrary to the expectations of her role in society, shares many such admissions while awaiting trial for the murder of Benham and his wife, Marguerite. What Frannie can’t account for is how she wound up covered in their blood and being charged with their murders. In an effort to make sense of it all, Frannie pens her life story from jail. What follows is a literary sojourn as Frannie explores her place in history through race, class and sexuality.

Set in the early 1800s, The Confessions of Frannie Langton begins with Frannie’s life as a slave on a Jamaican plantation and her education in reading and writing. From there, she recounts how she attained her “freedom” when her master took her to London, where he “gifted” her to the Benhams, and how she eventually began a love affair with Marguerite. The story casually meanders through Frannie’s narrative in a mostly linear fashion but is interspersed with snippets from the trial in progress, including damning testimony and fiery newspaper accounts, making certain that readers don’t forget what’s at stake.

First-time novelist Sara Collins, a lawyer of Jamaican descent and winner of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing, crafted her debut as a tribute to Jane Eyre, “but with a protagonist who would have lived outside the margins set by history.” In that regard, Collins has succeeded admirably, resulting in a novel that reads like a classic gothic romance.

 
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