"A novel is like a long, warm drink but a poem is a spike through the head." ~ 3%
Frannie Langton is known as "The Mulatta Murderess." In London 1826, Frannie Langton goes on trial for the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Benham. She was their house-girl, maid, slave, seductress, servant, whatever claim fits best. The testimonies are damning. But the mind of the accused is what drew me in; Frannie cannot confess what she doesn't believe she's done.
Then begins a story of a young girl learning how to read on Paradise Plantation, Jamaica. The year is 1812. Thirteen years later, she is moved to a grand house in London. Her duty is caring for Madame Benham and guarding secrets from the Mister. For years she waits to be freed. Until one day she wakes up in Madame's bed, covered in blood, with no recollection of what happened.
"Now, it's a case of gobbling backwards. As if I spent my whole life putting those words in, and now I'm spitting them back out." ~ 12%
How best can I describe the reading experience of The Confessions of Frannie Langton? Hmmm, long. Not long as in the time it took to finish (5 days). Not long as in page length (352). Long as in the unfolding of the story.
There was a lot of background information leading up to the present time at Frannie's trial. Perhaps I was misled by the first line, thinking this would be a fast-moving read full of testimonies and maybe a couple flashbacks. Instead the author took us back in time. And I do understand the author's purpose. Readers had to learn if, or why, Frannie Langton was on trial for murder. No one act happens without reason. I get it. But damn, it was long.
The main character, Frannie Langton, is well fleshed out. So much so, that I felt her anxiety and hopes rise. Just like she waited for freedom, I waited for something to happen soon too. Because maybe then, the story would move along. Get on with the events leading up to the night in question!
"Cut this long tale of yours short, Pears." ~ 92%
Yet this new novel fits comfortably in the historical fiction genre. It is the reason, along with the promise of courtroom drama, that I wanted to read an advance copy. I like how it revealed slaves were taken from Jamaica and the conditions of England in the 1800s. I also like the acceptance of her being able to read and scribe. Her masters did not feel threatened by Frannie's intelligence. In fact, Madame encouraged Frannie to read and often had discussions about book plots. So rare during this era!
Overall The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a good read, appropriate title, interesting characters, but not-so-good pacing. If you pick up this book, get comfortable and know it will take a while for this slow-moving train to reach the station.
Happy Early Pub Day, Sara Collins! The Confessions of Frannie Langton will be available on Tuesday, May 21.
Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.
Title: The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Author: Sara Collins
Published: May 2019
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤