Listen free for 30 days

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

Narrated by: Sara Collins, Roy McMillan
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
4 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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

More from the same

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    33
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A refreshing departure from form

a relief of a book in that it accounts the life of a full person, despite being about a black one shortly after abolishment. A page-turning murder mystery from a less heard perspective.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wasnt sure what to expect

but found an emotive and roller coaster journey of passion and cruelty. you could tell that the author had done their research on Victorian attitudes to race and their practices which added to the subject. I will be re listening to this one.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Icelandic godess
  • Icelandic godess
  • 19-02-20

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