The Confessions of Frannie Langton

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

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, ac...

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Title:The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Author:Sara Collins
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Confessions of Frannie Langton Reviews

  • Travel.with.a.book

    Collins is my new favourite Author, she really has such an amazing ability to make her characters so powerful in lots of aspects, I really enjoyed all the choices she wrote within this beautiful book!

    The book is merged with compulsion, lies and murder. It has a very complexed story that follow Frannie a brave and clever girl which survives lots of awful things, topics that were elaborated in a perfect way!

    .

    Sara has written a really powerful debut which describes the story of the slave trade and

    Collins is my new favourite Author, she really has such an amazing ability to make her characters so powerful in lots of aspects, I really enjoyed all the choices she wrote within this beautiful book!

    The book is merged with compulsion, lies and murder. It has a very complexed story that follow Frannie a brave and clever girl which survives lots of awful things, topics that were elaborated in a perfect way!

    .

    Sara has written a really powerful debut which describes the story of the slave trade and what it is like to live as one in them times! Frannie's father was white and the time she was living people were still in thoughts that black humans are a disgust and when you read this point of view I really love how Sara has portrayed it, the settings were astounding beautifully written, the book is really thought-provoking!

    .

    The slave narrative is really powerful, and very unique in a kind of way, it makes you think how and why were people like that! I felt lots of discomfort parts within the book but they were unfortunately in real so mixed emotions through reading will take part and that's no denying! The story is very well-researched and you can tell that in every chapter, reading for a young girl of surviving the slave life is obviously intriguing so this was very interesting and magnificent book! I highly recommend you to read this fascinating debut novel that I wish to see it in a major picture because it's worth for everyone to see it!!

  • Mairead Hearne (swirlandthread.com)

    is the unbelievable debut novel by Sara Collins. Just published with Viking Books (Penguin) it is described

    1820s London plays host to the trial of the century, as former Jamaican slave, Frannie Langton is tried for the murder of her boss and his wife, their bodies discovered in pools of blood in their home. Frannie has bec

    is the unbelievable debut novel by Sara Collins. Just published with Viking Books (Penguin) it is described

    1820s London plays host to the trial of the century, as former Jamaican slave, Frannie Langton is tried for the murder of her boss and his wife, their bodies discovered in pools of blood in their home. Frannie has become the talk of London with folk calling her

    . Frannie proclaims her innocence, having no memory of the night in question. But as she was found lying in the bed beside her dead mistress, Frannie knows that her future is now at the end of the hangman’s noose.

    Frannie makes the decision to write down her thoughts and her story for others to read and to make of what they will. From the confines of her cell she takes the reader back to Jamaica and to the plantation where she was raised as a mulatto slave but one that was given the opportunity to read and write. Frannie’s story is shocking in every sense, as the truth of her years spent in Jamaica are slowly revealed. Frannie became part of something much bigger, something frightening, something abhorrent lending a very gothic twist to her tale.

    When Sara Collins decided to write about Frannie, she wanted to explore the

    . Having been an avid reader of the classics growing up, Sara Collins felt that there was a wide gap between the world she was raised in and the books that inhabited her head, hence the idea for a Jamaican former slave becoming the central character in her novel.

    – Sara Collins

    Frannie Langton was a character that played with my thoughts. I had great sympathy for Frannie but yet I admit to also being a little frightened of her. Frannie was a product of her upbringing, of that there is no doubt. As a mulatto slave, her place was never defined and when she is taken to London and placed into servitude in a grand house, Frannie is bewildered. Her mistress is French and has her own strange ways, unusual for a lady of her standing in society at the time. There is a streak of daring in her and an ethereal beauty that takes Frannie’s breath away. Frannie’s future in the household is very much determined by her master, George Benham. Frannie has information he is looking for, from her years in Jamaica and he is hoping to extract this knowledge from her, but Frannie is unwilling to reveal her dark secrets…until now.

    . – Frannie Langton

    is quite unlike any book that I have read before. The style in which it is written brings Frannie to life as she shares her story with us, with the true heartache and pain evident in all her words. Sara Collins may be a debut author, but she writes with such an incredible hand. The narrative brings the reader on a journey that evokes so many emotions from anger to terror to despair.

    is not a book to be rushed. The pace of the story is slow and focus is definitely a requirement as you follow the thread of the story. It is narrated by Frannie, so, at times, the dialect can take a little getting used to which may not appeal to all. It is a literary novel, a novel that the author felt needed to be written…

    – Sara Collins

    asks many questions, exposing some of the horrors behind a period in our history that has left a mark on generations of folk, past, present and future. A sumptious and challenging novel with a touch of the Gothic.

    Will you be reading Frannie’s story?

  • Maureen

    London, circa 1820, and servant Frannie Langton is on trial accused of murdering her Master and Mistress. The problem is that she can’t remember anything about that fateful night, however, she can’t believe that she’d murder her mistress, she loved her too much to hurt her, didn’t she?

    Frannie has come a long way since her days as a slave on the sugar plantation in Jamaica, not just in terms of geographical distance but in terms of her life’s journey too. This complex character wears many labels

    London, circa 1820, and servant Frannie Langton is on trial accused of murdering her Master and Mistress. The problem is that she can’t remember anything about that fateful night, however, she can’t believe that she’d murder her mistress, she loved her too much to hurt her, didn’t she?

    Frannie has come a long way since her days as a slave on the sugar plantation in Jamaica, not just in terms of geographical distance but in terms of her life’s journey too. This complex character wears many labels - slave, servant, Lady’s companion, whore, addict, and now murderess! For a former slave, Frannie definitely bucks the trend, not only being able to read and write, but being blessed with a sharp and inquisitive mind too.

    Incarcerated in Newgate prison awaiting trial, Frannie passes the days writing her life story, and it’s here that we’re transported back to the sultry heat of Jamaica and the cruelty that is part and parcel of a sugar plantation before the abolition of slavery, and it has to be said that Frannie plays her part in this cruelty too! What a massive change awaited her in London, not only the cold damp weather and notorious fogs that created an ethereal world of murk and mystery, but she had to acclimatise to a whole new culture that was literally a world away from her former life.

    This is a well written historical whodunnit that brings early 19th century London deliciously to life. The characters were quite complex, none more so than Frannie. She’s many women in one form. The narrative (though slow at times) was compelling - playing on one’s curiosity to discover where this journey was going and more importantly who was responsible for the murders. Murders that place Frannie Langton very much in the frame. But did she do it or did she not? My lips are sealed!

    *Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin books UK, Viking for my ARC. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange *

  • Dannii Elle

    Damn, Sara Collins can write! For a book that exuded so much sadness this was also imbued with such an overarching beauty that made its parallel stand out, in stark contrast, and made the events that unfurled all the more poignant for it.

    This is, as the title suggests, fictional Frannie Langton's autobiography of her life. She begins her tale in sun-ripened Jamaica, as a slave on a sugar plantation, and ends it in rain-soaked London, on trial for the murder of her employers. The reader is invite

    Damn, Sara Collins can write! For a book that exuded so much sadness this was also imbued with such an overarching beauty that made its parallel stand out, in stark contrast, and made the events that unfurled all the more poignant for it.

    This is, as the title suggests, fictional Frannie Langton's autobiography of her life. She begins her tale in sun-ripened Jamaica, as a slave on a sugar plantation, and ends it in rain-soaked London, on trial for the murder of her employers. The reader is invited to bear witness to all the events in between, and her treatment at the hands of all those who saw a black-skinned Jamacain in the 19th century as nothing more than a possession.

    Whilst the ultimate mystery was at the heart of the narrative, the gentle unravelling of one woman's life, as she sought to prove her innocence and tell her own story, was where the prowess of this book stemmed from. And every part was of equal interest, despite the fact that all were steeped with the same heartbreak and mistreatment. Not for one moment did Collins allow the reader to overlook the harsh life of this one fictional character, whose story bears such a similar resemblance to so many others.

  • Linda

    You can never be free of the inner workings of your mind. It travels well within those tiny crevices no matter the miles.

    Sara Collins sets her story down among the fields of Plantation Paradise in Jamaica in 1825. Don't be misled. This is hardly a paradise. The owners see to that at every turn. John Langton and his wife, Miss Bella, run their plantation with an iron fist. Miss Bella is ill-suited for life in Jamaica. The intense heat, the random storms, and the complete isolation will spark her

    You can never be free of the inner workings of your mind. It travels well within those tiny crevices no matter the miles.

    Sara Collins sets her story down among the fields of Plantation Paradise in Jamaica in 1825. Don't be misled. This is hardly a paradise. The owners see to that at every turn. John Langton and his wife, Miss Bella, run their plantation with an iron fist. Miss Bella is ill-suited for life in Jamaica. The intense heat, the random storms, and the complete isolation will spark her temper and shorten her patience. Nothing seems to be worthy of her time. Not even her husband.

    But John Langton bides his time in unseemly endeavors. How unseemly? You're about to find out.

    We will meet Frannie, a young mulatto girl, who will soon leave the hard work of the sugar cane fields to enter into the inner workings of the household. It's here that Frannie will be enlightened by Phibbah who cautions her into following the set rules. Frannie has no idea of how demanding her new position will be. Out of curiosity and boredom, Miss Bella will teach Frannie how to read even though it is against the law. Frannie begins to stitch small stolen books into the hem of her dresses. Reading becomes a form of escape.

    After a fire badly burns the sugar cane fields, John Langton decides to take Frannie to London with him. She follows behind him in the crowded streets imagining how easily she could get lost among the people and never be seen again. Langton takes her to the home of a scientific writer, George Benham and his young wife, Marguerite. Langton makes a quick exit leaving Frannie in the hands of the tight-lipped housekeeper. She's to become the property of Benham. Shocked and disillusioned, Frannie must face her fate.

    Sara Collins will switch gears with a trial taking place involving Frannie. The bodies of George and Marguerite Benham have been found stabbed to death in their home. Frannie has been arrested and sent to prison waiting for the eventual outcome of the trial. Is she capable of such a heinous act? How does this young woman from Jamaica prove her innocence?

    The Confessions of Frannie Langton contains some heavy-duty subject matter. But then life on a plantation was also brutal in its nature. Frannie finds that life in civilized London is not so civilized either. The writing is detailed and well-researched. Collins gives nothing away until the last pages. Frannie will be a character that you won't soon forget.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Harper Collins and to Sara Collins for the opportunity.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    The modern revamp of the slave narrative continues in fine form with THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON. Like Colson Whitehead and Esi Edugyan, Collins is able to examine very modern issues of race through a historical lens. This is also a successful and suspenseful crime novel complete with a protagonist who has blocked out her most important memories and a murder trial at the famous Old Bailey.

    Sometimes I struggle with historical fiction when the prose is a bit more dense, and that was the ca

    The modern revamp of the slave narrative continues in fine form with THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON. Like Colson Whitehead and Esi Edugyan, Collins is able to examine very modern issues of race through a historical lens. This is also a successful and suspenseful crime novel complete with a protagonist who has blocked out her most important memories and a murder trial at the famous Old Bailey.

    Sometimes I struggle with historical fiction when the prose is a bit more dense, and that was the case with this book. But the power of the narrative, the crime at its heart, and Frannie's voice kept me going. Frannie is a heroine so many readers will identify with, but she's also presenting a unique point of view that modern literature needs. Frannie is that obsessive reader, a character who loves books and the way they transport her, who aspires to more because of what she's read. But Frannie is also a slave for much of her life so those aspirations have nowhere to go.

    I particularly appreciated the use of the currently-overdone trope of the woman who forgets important things around a murder. But this book uses it so effectively that it shows you just how lazy most examples are. We know all along that Frannie has suffered some very real traumas and we don't doubt how deep and horrific those traumas were. Here, the holes in Frannie's memory make sense and her unwillingness to confront them is a real and legitimate act of self-protection and survival.

    The comparisons to ALIAS GRACE, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, and THE PAYING GUESTS are well-earned. I was reminded of all of those books at certain points. This also makes an excellent readalike for WASHINGTON BLACK, both have timely themes on race through a historical lens using the rising-out-of-slavery narrative, but this book uses the crime novel as opposed to an adventure novel, plus has a queer female point of view.

    So much to dive into with this book, would make a good pick for an ambitious book club.

  • Fran

    April, 1826. The gallery at the Old Bailey was filled to overflowing with "quality folk" and "ordinary folk" there to witness the trial of Frances Langton, indicted for the willful murder of George and Marguerite Benham. Frannie's owner George, was found stabbed to death in the library while wife Marguerite, was discovered in her bedchamber. Frannie was soundly asleep next to Madame's body. Frannie's hands and shirt sleeves were covered in blood.

    Frannie had refused or was unable to discuss what

    April, 1826. The gallery at the Old Bailey was filled to overflowing with "quality folk" and "ordinary folk" there to witness the trial of Frances Langton, indicted for the willful murder of George and Marguerite Benham. Frannie's owner George, was found stabbed to death in the library while wife Marguerite, was discovered in her bedchamber. Frannie was soundly asleep next to Madame's body. Frannie's hands and shirt sleeves were covered in blood.

    Frannie had refused or was unable to discuss what happened that night. Defense lawyer, John Pettigrew, suggested that she explain herself using paper and quill. "My intentions in writing my jailhouse musings, ...it's my life, I want to assemble the pieces of it myself". "For every crime there are two stories, and that an Old Bailey trial is the story of the crime, not the story of the prisoner. That story is the one only I can tell".

    Frances Langton was born in Paradise, Jamaica. She worked in the lower field "throwing dung into cane holes" until age seven when she became a house-girl for Miss-bella Langton. Sitting by the water one day, Frannie accidently knocked Miss-bella's book into the water. The punishment, the book must be dry before she would be allowed to come indoors. At first, she thought the letters in the book were "trapped, each shackled to the next one", but reading would become her salvation. There were those who believed that slaves, as property, should not be exposed to new ideas.

    Master Langton manipulated Frannie's love of reading for his own means. Langton and Benham were rivals studying anatomy but both proposed to "...compile a survey of the natural mental endowments of each race of men..." As a reader and writer, Frannie "scribed" for Langton and was eventually forced to start participating in the performance of other duties.

    One day, Langton took Frannie to Levenhall, the London residence of George Benham. She was given as a "gift" to Benham. Under-maid Prudence "...feared I'd howl, bare my teeth...it's all savagery where you come from..." Housekeeper, Mrs. Linux resenting Frannie's presence told her to be quiet, no shirking and no thieving. In Levenhall, Frannie experienced intense love and raging hate. A good servant must know her place, but book learning created a modicum of freedom for her.

    "The Confessions of Frannie Langton" by Sara Collins displayed the haunting, devastating life of Frances Langton, as written by Frannie herself, in Newgate Prison awaiting trial in Old Bailey. Through Frannie's account, we learn of the ghastly experiments performed to determine the intellect of slaves, assuming their inability to learn. We learn of the co-dependency of Frannie and Marguerite Benham. Court testimony conjures up a "snapshot" of how the prosecution viewed the suspect. Is Frannie aka the "Mulatta Murderess", so named by the press, guilty of a double murder? Read it and find out! I highly recommend this debut historical mystery by Sara Collins.

    Thank you HarperCollins Publishers and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Confessions of Frannie Langton".

  • Ova - Excuse My Reading

    I think the premise of the book is brilliant- a former slave girl, educated, brought to London, more intellectual than the "free white folk", determined, not bent, headstrong. And I was so excited when I read in the beginning of the novel, that this will not be a slave's story, which we have read many more times, but it will be a black Jane Eyre, a Jamaican girl's own gothic romance. I was a bit disappointed that it took 15% of the book to go to London, and it did take long to open up the plot,

    I think the premise of the book is brilliant- a former slave girl, educated, brought to London, more intellectual than the "free white folk", determined, not bent, headstrong. And I was so excited when I read in the beginning of the novel, that this will not be a slave's story, which we have read many more times, but it will be a black Jane Eyre, a Jamaican girl's own gothic romance. I was a bit disappointed that it took 15% of the book to go to London, and it did take long to open up the plot, but I loved the ending. I was in between 3 and 4 but settling in 4 stars!

  • Roman Clodia

    The good stuff: Collins shows tremendous skill in giving her characters voices: Phibbah with her Jamaican accent *sounds* completely different from Frannie who teaches herself to speak 'proper' English, and whose speech is peppered with similes that actually work.

    Also the first part of the narrative set on a slave plantation in Jamaica manages to disrupt the story we've heard many times before (yes, slavery is horrific, but the literary representation of it can get repetitive): I had s

    The good stuff: Collins shows tremendous skill in giving her characters voices: Phibbah with her Jamaican accent *sounds* completely different from Frannie who teaches herself to speak 'proper' English, and whose speech is peppered with similes that actually work.

    Also the first part of the narrative set on a slave plantation in Jamaica manages to disrupt the story we've heard many times before (yes, slavery is horrific, but the literary representation of it can get repetitive): I had such high hopes of where this book might take us.

    But then we get to London and Frannie is 'given' to an Englishman and falls into another modern convention of neo-Victorian fiction:

    - the tale increasingly feels like it's lost its way.

    There are so many intriguing aspects of the story that I wanted to know more about:

    . The background, too, of scientific racism is used wonderfully to give both emotional and intellectual heft to Frannie's story.

    So much good stuff here but sadly it's doesn't really come together and there's a whole section in the middle where the story drifts. The frame of the trial and Frannie's final confession feels like a last-minute info dump, tying up too many loose ends far too fast - more information more carefully placed would have paced the story better.

    For all my niggles, Collins has a genuinely fresh voice and huge talent: this feels like a debut but I really look forward to where she goes from here.

    Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC via NetGalley.

  • Karen Kay

    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review.

    All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, accused of the brutal double murder of her employer and the testimonies against Frannie are damning.

    This book just fell flat for me, I didn't like the characters or the sexual storyline.

    2☆

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