I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins earlier this year, stating in my original review (Read HERE) that it was ‘a sumptuous and challenging novel with a touch of the Gothic’
Having recently been published in a stunning paperback edition with Penguin, I am delighted to be shining a spotlight on The Confessions of Frannie Langton today, a book that was also accorded the privilege of being Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month August 2019.
A story of slavery, freedom and the wonderful and dreadful secrets bodies give up under the cover of darkness, Sara Collins’ stunning debut moves from the plantations of Jamaica to the fetid drawing rooms of London. Echoing the gothic thrall of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, The Confessions of Frannie Langton is an unforgettable novel from a major new literary voice.
Sara Collins debut has garnered incredible reviews, with The Times suggesting ‘a star in the making’ and many other media outlets having very similar views.
Sara Collins wrote that ‘1820s London was a very interesting time in the life of the British Empire. It was between the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of the slaves, a kind of limbo period where abolitionists were patting themselves on the back, but many people were turning a blind eye to the fact that those who had been left enslaved were still suffering and conditions were getting worse and worse for them. So I wanted to challenge the kind of self-congratulatory legacy of that era and the veneer of civility that we associate with it…..Beneath that, there was this underbelly of slavery, and addiction, and sin…..’
So what is the book about….
‘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?
A beautiful and haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London.
IF YOU STILL NEED ENCOURAGEMENT….. 😊
[ What Others are Saying ]
‘Between Collin’s historical research, Frannie’s voice and a plot that never slows, this novel both pulls the gothic into new territory and links it back to its origins.’ – The Guardian
‘A bold and timely reinvention of the classic gothic novel ( . . .) which, with its tentative exploration of passion and transgression of boundaries, is reminiscent of the best of Sarah Waters.’ – Observer
‘With echoes of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and Sara Waters’s The Paying Guests, this is an accomplished debut novel that perfectly captures the atmosphere of Georgian London and gives voice to a singular and unforgettable heroine.’ – Red Magazine
‘By turns lush, gritty, wry, gothic and compulsive, The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a dazzling page turner. With as much psychological savvy as righteous wrath, Sara Collins twists together the slave narrative, bildungsroman, love story and crime novel to make something new.’ – Emma Donoghue, author of Room
‘Original and evocative . . . vivid characters, lush settings, a captivating heroine and an intelligent, unsentimental analysis of her tragic history.’
– Irish Times
‘Collins 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 Bronte 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.’ – Kirkus
‘Sweeping and addictive…Collins has created an epic tale that’ll make for total book club joy. Prepare to pass it on to friend after friend.‘ – Stylist
‘Frannie Langton shows us a world of men doing their utmost to make her a monster – but she is defiantly, thoughtfully human, her urgent words holding a mirror up to others’ misdeeds, and her own. Sara Collins’ writing moves with subtle energy, fleshing out a 19th-century world of plantations and London bawdy-houses that feels as real as the palm of your hand.’
– Beth Underdown, author of The Witchfinder’s Sister
‘A powerful meditation on slavery, racism and autonomy.’ – New Scientist
[ Who is Sara Collins? ]
Sara Collins studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years. In 2014 she embarked upon the Creative Writing Masters at Cambridge University, where she won the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize of Re-creative Writing and was shortlisted for the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Prize for a book inspired by her love of gothic fiction. This turned into her first novel, The Confessions of Frannie Langton.
Twitter – @mrsjaneymac