Whanganuilibrary.com
Normal view MARC view ISBD view

The confessions of Frannie Langton / Sara Collins.

By: Collins, Sara.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: [London, England] : Viking, [2019]Copyright date: ©2019Description: 375 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780241349205 (paperback); 0241349206 (paperback); 9780241349199 (hardback); 0241349192 (hardback).Subject(s): Women slaves -- Fiction | Household employees -- Fiction | Women prisoners -- Fiction | Murder -- Fiction | Trials (Murder) -- Fiction | London (England) -- History -- 19th century -- FictionGenre/Form: Gothic fiction. | Detective and mystery fiction. | Historical fiction.Summary: They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don't believe I've done? 1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth. For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed. But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton- could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
    average rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due
Fiction Davis (Central) Library
Fiction Collection
Fiction Collection T00817603 Coming Soon
Fiction Hakeke Street Library
Fiction Collection (New)
Fiction Collection (New) COLL Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don't believe I've done?

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton- could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don't believe I've done? 1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth. For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed. But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton- could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

DEBUT Awaiting trial in 1826 for the murder of scientist George Benham and his French wife, Marguerite, Frannie Langton shares her story. Born in Jamaica, mixed-race Frannie is taken from the slave quarters to serve the plantation's mistress, who treats her cruelly. Learning to read enlarges Frannie's world but also allows her to record the master's experiments-cranial measurements, cadaver dissections, forced mating-to prove black people's inferiority. After Mr. Langton takes her to London to serve Benham in the hope the scientist will endorse his work, Frannie attracts the attention of the eccentric Marguerite, eventually becoming her lady's maid and lover, while trying to control Marguerite's opium addiction. Cast out temporarily, Frannie survives by catering to white men's masochistic fantasies in a notorious brothel. Her return culminates in the Benhams' deaths, although she cannot remember the events. Interspersed throughout the narrative are sections from Benham's journals, witness statements, and letters. But Frannie's powerful, painful recollections will haunt readers as she dredges memories twisted by abuse, violence, and drugs and tries to convince herself of Marguerite's devotion. VERDICT This dark, disquieting story may appeal to historical fiction fans with a penchant for the gothic. [See Prepub Alert, 11/11/18.]-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Collins's debut is a powerful portrayal of the horrors of slavery and the injustices of British society's treatment of former slaves in the early 1800s. Frannie Langton lives as John Langton's slave in Jamaica from 1812 until 1825. When the harvest burns, ownership of the land reverts to Langton's wife and her brother, and Langton returns to London with Frannie. Once in London, he gives Frannie as a servant to fellow scientist George Benham and his wife, Meg, a woman intrigued by Frannie and the breadth of her education. Benham asks Frannie to spy on Meg, whom he thinks might do something to embarrass him socially; meanwhile, Frannie and Meg become lovers. But when Benham and Meg are murdered, Frannie is arrested. She claims no memory of the crime, and a good defense seems unlikely both because of her race and her spotty memory. Frannie's dislike of Benham, her jealousy of his relationship with Meg, and memory gaps caused by Frannie's use of laudanum add to the reader's uncertainty of her involvement. This is 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. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

In her historical first novel, Collins, a lawyer and prize-winning writer of Jamaican descent, introduces Frances Langton, whose life traces a trajectory from mulatta slave in the West Indies to maid for a member of Georgian high society to the Old Bailey via incest, horror, and murder. Collins' prose, awash in a sea of similes that threatens to drown the reader, is nevertheless effective in creating a vivid voice for Frannie's first-person narration while providing a convincing sense of place in her depiction of a Jamaican sugar plantation and its inhabitants. There are many monsters here and no heroes, with men made loose by balls and bragging, with no earthly notion how tight it can get inside a woman's skin. 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.--Bethany Latham Copyright 2019 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

There's betrayal, depravity, pseudoscience, forbidden love, drug addiction, white supremacy, and, oh yes, a murder mystery with tightly wound knots to unravel.The citizenry of 1826 London has worked itself into near apoplexy over the sensational trial of "The Mulatta Murderess," aka Frances Langton, a Jamaican servant accused of brutally stabbing her white employers to death. Though caught on the night of the murders covered with blood, Frances cannot remember what happened and thus cannot say whether or not she is guilty. "For God's sake, give me something I can save your neck with," her lawyer pleads. And so Frannie, who, despite having been born into slavery, became adept at reading and writing, tries to find her own way to the truth the only way she can: By writing her life's story from its beginnings on a West Indian plantation called Paradise whose master, John Langton, is a vicious sadist. He uses Frannie for sex and as a "scribe" taking notes on his hideous experiments into racial difference using skulls, blood, and even skin samples. After a fire destroys much of his plantation, Langton takes Frannie to London and makes her a gift to George Benham, an urbane scientist engaged in the same dubious race-science inquiries. Frannie's hurt over her abandonment is soon dispelled by her fascination with Benham's French-born wife, Marguerite, a captivating beauty whose lively wit and literary erudition barely conceal despondency that finds relief in bottles of laudanum. A bond forms between mistress and servant that swells and tightens into love, leading to a tempest of misunderstanding, deceit, jealousy, and, ultimately, death. Collins' debut novel administers a bold and vibrant jolt to both the gothic and historical fiction genres, embracing racial and sexual subtexts that couldn't or wouldn't have been imagined by its long-ago practitioners. Her evocations of early-19th-century London and antebellum Jamaica are vivid and, at times, sensuously graphic. Most of all, she has created in her title character a complex, melancholy, and trenchantly observant protagonist; too conflicted in motivation, perhaps, to be considered a heroine but as dynamic and compelling as any character conceived by a Bront sister.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. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.