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The Confessions of Frannie Langton

Narrated by: Sara Collins, Roy McMillan
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Costa Best First Novel Award 2019 Winner.

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?

©2019 Sara Collins (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

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  • Icelandic godess
  • 19-02-2020

such a sad but great book.

beautiful saga. the narrator captured me with her story telling right away. finished it in a record time. if you love history then this is a book for you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cassie Wallis
  • 01-04-2019

An astonishing literary debut

I have recently been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’ by Sara Collins and have also listened to it on Audible. If a page turner is a book that is constantly surprising, that keeps you on your toes - chasing the twists and relishing the turns - then THIS novel is a page turner. I did not want to put it down. From a slave plantation in Jamaica, to life as a lady’s maid in a grand Georgian town house, via a London bawdy house, to the court rooms of the Old Bailey, tried for the double murder of her ‘master’ and ‘mistress’. We follow the story of Frannie Langton, through her own words, via her confessions to her lawyer. But how do I describe it? A murder-mystery? A gothic horror? An exploration of eugenics and scientific racism? A compelling and obsessive, lesbian romance? It’s all these things and more. Written with wit and finesse, very well researched and with much attention paid to historical detail. I've never read a book that so vividly paints a picture of its protagonist's emotional progress. What joy to intricately follow Frannie's journey, geographically and psychologically. And it’s an emotional journey too, gut wrenching at times, but without ever being 'sickly-sweet'. In fact, I became so invested in Frannie that sometimes I wanted to shake her and tell her not to do something or not to say something. But there’s nothing to be done about it. THIS woman has a mind of her own. And it’s testament to the author’s skills that as a reader you care. Collins does not succumb to lazy stereotypes when writing her characters either. And not just the main characters but also those waiting in the wings to take their turn. All are three dimensional, with fully formed back stories, no matter how small their part. Look out in particular for Laddie and Sal, both integral to the storyline. The narrative comes alive with the author's use of metaphors and similes: ‘The black night crouches, like a watchman, at the glass’. So simple yet so effective. It’s the use of language like this that helps so vividly to paint a portrait of the book’s varied landscapes in your minds’ eye. And what landscapes! The author sweeps back and forth between Continents in a way reminiscent of Bram Stoker's ‘Dracula’. And so in summary, this book vividly touches upon the horrors of slavery without ever being a book ABOUT slavery. It touches upon life as a domestic maid, without ever turning into Downton Abbey. It delves into an illicit, obsessive love affair between mistress and servant without ever becoming ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’. It’s about all these things and so much more. But that’s the point. There is more to Frannie then meets the eye. She has a voice and a story to tell and she WILL confess it in her own, unique way. An original, astonishing, powerful, thought-provoking novel, written with humour and intelligence. If there’s one book you read or listen to this year, make it this one.

17 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • juniper
  • 24-04-2019

Too much hype ...

I was expecting so much from this book. I've persevered but it's just not for me. The language is beautiful but I find the story and its development extremely full and long-winded..The audio book is not helped by the author's narration (never a good idea in my experience!) which is so monotonous and droning, it almost put me to sleep several times. Sadly I'm having to return this.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lesley Hancock
  • 26-08-2019

Author as reader?

An interesting and enjoyable novel but I agree with some other reviewers about the decision to use the author as the reader. She has a lovely voice but I feel a more experienced a tor would have given more life to key characters and events.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cas Perry
  • 26-01-2020

Maybe better to have read!

Having read the reviews I was disappointed with this presentation. I appreciated the wonderful narrative which drew a vivid picture of the setting & characters but, the narration left me cold. It was dull & monotonous even at times. Great pity.

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  • Ms. V. J. Herrett
  • 13-09-2019

Not my normal choice

I came across this book in a box subscription. Other wise I would not have picked it up myself. However I loved the story and how well written it was. Would highly recommended it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • VMJ
  • 23-01-2020

Couldn’t put this away!

A fantastic book. I listened to it constantly over 3 days and had to just surrender to making a crochet hat and just listening. So evocative, brilliant imagery and a really gripping narrative. Wow and wow - a first novel? I’m knocked out 👏👏👏

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claribelle
  • 07-10-2019

Long-winded story, terrible narration

I spent a lot of this story feeling like I’d heard it before. Then when the story got more interesting I was so irritated by the author / narrator’s voice I couldn’t stand it any more. Please use proper readers to do these stories - readers who can vary the tone and pace a bit!

1 person found this helpful

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  • susan
  • 31-05-2019

Brilliant Story

Loved the narrator's voice so smooth and drew you in. Great story not the usual poor girl saved at the end but a story that was told through the character Really lovely descriptive analogies you can almost see the scenes through these.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael M.
  • 20-10-2020

Narration kills it

I just couldn’t finish listening. I read so much positive about this book, but audible is not how I will enjoy it. I was never gripped because the narration is very monotonous and pedestrian and deadens any impact. A shame. There are so many other books on audible where narration is of much higher quality. The voice is absolutely key and that is why professional actors are used....sadly, authors are rarely suited to narrate their own fiction (often different when autobiographical). Cannot recommend

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  • Chris Wilson
  • 03-10-2020

The History they don't teach us!

A challenging tale from the dark history of the transatlantic slave trade that is brilliantly written and narrated. Frannie's story will stay with you long after the book ends.