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The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel

The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel

Scritto da Sara Collins

Narrato da Sara Collins e Roy McMillan


The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel

Scritto da Sara Collins

Narrato da Sara Collins e Roy McMillan

valutazioni:
4/5 (37 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
12 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 21, 2019
ISBN:
9780062930675
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

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.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 21, 2019
ISBN:
9780062930675
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

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. Twitter: @mrsjaneymac


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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Brilliant first novel that takes as a key idea the stories that are not told in history. Frannie is a former slave in 19th C London accused of murdering her master and mistress. Her lawyer urges her to write her own story, to give him something he can use to get her off the charges. Instead she writes her life story, from the plantation owner with dreams of proving his version of scientific-racism theories to her love affair in the home of her employers. Expertly done and with a real period feel.
  • (5/5)
    The Confessions of Frannie Langton tells the story of a mixed-race slave who is taken from Jamaica to London and ends up standing trial for murder. But did she do it?I absolutely loved this novel. Like the author, I'm a huge fan of 19th century gothic novels and so enjoyed seeing a woman of colour take the leading role in a book of this genre. Collins writes incredibly well, with not a single word wasted - quite a feat considering that she did lots of research and other authors of historical fiction tend to include too much detail to show that they've done this. One of the most compelling and disturbing parts of the novel is its discussion of the ‘scientific’ research that used to be carried out by white men into the nature of race (specifically blackness) and how they thought this shaped the characteristics often ascribed to black people (and still ascribed now, even today). I didn't know a lot about this before I read the book. It's both grimly fascinating and shocking stuff.If, like me, you enjoyed The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock but thought the story of Polly, a mixed-race sex worker, was too under-developed, this is definitely a novel that you will love.
  • (3/5)
    Frannie Langton, a former slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation, is accused of murdering her employers - scientist George Benham and his wife. The book is told as if Frannie is writing down her memoirs during the trial. I found Frannie's voice to be interesting, but not necessarily shocking. Unfortunately, the brutality that she witnessed and endured on the Jamaican plantation seems usual for that time period. The experiments that Mr. Langton conducted weren't dealt with in enough detail to be horrific or shocking, rather it seemed like a side story, one that was not fully flushed out. Overall, most of the book felt as if it were not truly flushed out or explored in depth. Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel, Sara Collins, author, Sara Collins and Roy McMillan, and narrators This was a very well read, by both narrators, and well written book. The author knew her characters well and expressed their personalities with the tone and timbre of her voice, using accents when necessary to also identify particular characters. Her prose was lyrical and really enjoyable to read, although the subject matter was violent and heinous at times. Frances Langton, a mulatto house slave, was educated in her master’s home by his wife Bella. She was the bastard child of a white master and his slave. Both are unknown to her. She lived on the Langton sugar plantation called Paradise, which is an oxymoron, in Jamaica, in the West Indies. It was a place of brutality and experimentation. Langton was a cruel and sadistic man who engaged in the research of race and the lack of its positive attributes in his slaves, a project he learned about and was encouraged to pursue by his mentor. In regard to this pursuit, he used his own daughter as his scribe, including her in his illegal pursuits, like grave robbing and experimentation on the slaves and their offspring in order to further his endeavor to prove that they were a largely uneducable, inferior race. He also used Frances for sex. She was resented by Bella, the reasons for which would be learned later on in the novel. Bella could be as manipulative and aggressive as her husband. They both manipulated others with their power and with threats and intimidation, often with catastrophic results. A fire at the plantation and the death of Bella’s father voided whatever agreement had been originally arranged between them. Bella turned her husband and Frannie out. In failing health, he escaped to London with her and gifted her to a new master, George Benhem, who had been his inspiration for the research, experiments, and the book to be called “Crania”, which he hoped to publish. Both men were engaged in experimentation, and were exploiting the law. Both were writing books. Frannie soon became the secret consort of Benhem’s fickle and laudanum addicted wife, Marguerite, an unhappy woman who was bored and very disappointed with her life, although she wanted for little. Frannie was powerless, and although educated, she was naïve and victimized by many as the years passed.For a little more than a decade, the reader follows Frannie’s development with her trials and tribulations. These revelations explore the racism and abuse that the slaves were subjected to, the lack of women’s rights, the omniscient power of the male, and the corruption in the legal system and halls of Old Bailey. Barely 21 or so, Frannie’s life was one of mistreatment and frustration. When Frannie was accused of killing her master and mistress, she was arrested. Her lawyer asked her to write down her story and this novel is based on the result. Facts were misrepresented, lies were told, and the reader will wonder if justice was done. Although it is promoted as a book about racial injustice and murder, it is also about the lesbian affair between her master’s wife and herself. The meaning of love is explored. The book, using historic facts, exposes the betrayals that were so prevalent at the time, the lack of trust that existed and the overtly accepted and widely tolerated racist behavior. It exposes the treatment of slaves as beasts of burden and illustrates the efforts of the early anti-slavery movement across the pond. The whites were depicted as malevolent, and the blacks, regardless of the demand, were required to be obedient. What will ultimately happen to Frances Langton? Will it be a fair verdict? Will anyone come forward to tell another story other than the one presented at the trial by some who lie with abandon, condemning her for a crime she may or may not have committed, because they believe she is a lesser human being who is of little value and therefore may be sacrificed to protect the reputation of someone of the upper class.The book exposes injustice, cruelty and the abuse of a people based simply on skin color, but it also abuses the reader by not putting the lesbian relationship front and center in the blurbs and reviews so that the reader may decide whether or not to read the book with its descriptive sexual behavior. Perhaps as the slaves were manipulated so are the readers by a publishing industry that seeks to promote certain issues for political purposes.
  • (4/5)
    This story is Very well written and beautifully narrated by the author. As a piece of historical fiction that takes place in the 1820’s, this is a very serious and quite brutal account of the plight and abominable mistreatment of young African women by their “owners” in Jamaica and in London. Difficult and painful to listen to at times due to the deeply disturbing situations described. It is a love story too, between a young Mulatto slave and the beautiful but weak minded wife of one of her owners. Not a “feel good” story, but rather a no holds barred
  • (5/5)
    One of the best books I’ve read this year. Her writing is gorgeous, the story riveting. Excellent narration. Absolutely loved it.
  • (2/5)
    This is historical fiction at its most true and shows the ugly side of servant & slave trade in London and the West Indies along with the supposed scientific and social world. I suppose it's representative of what it could be like but it is not an easy read by any means. The characters of Frannie Langston and the others are well done though and the story is interesting, although it drags.
  • (3/5)
    I *really* wanted to like this book, but its scope was possibly too grandiose for the author´s abilities, & the prose far too rambling. I found myself skipping the narrator´s excessive similes and metaphors. Some of the more "surprising" twists were woefully predictable. Again, a heavier-handed editor could have made this a far better novel.
  • (2/5)
    The Confession of Frannie Langton is a narrative by Frannie from her prison cell. The story follows Frannie from her childhood in Jamaica as a slave on a plantation, to her time in London as a ladies maid up to the point of the murders of her master and mistress.I really wanted to like this book. I normally do enjoy historical tales especially where the protagonist is recalling back what happened. The story starts with Frannie's account of her time on the plantation. I found this part of the book interesting. The next part is about Frannie's time in London. This part of the book I felt went on too long. It certainly had parts that caught my interest but for the most part I just wanted to move on. The third part was the court trial of Frannie and this for me was the better part of the book.I really did struggle to pick this book up at times and was losing interest. The last part of the book with the trial is where everything is revealed and for me covers the whole story in that last short section. Everything I needed to know was there. I felt like I could have just read that final section and I wouldn't have needed to read the rest of the book.A disappointing read for me.