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Summary

The Sunday Times top 10 best seller.

As seen on This Morning.

Back in the day, I was governor of security and operations for HMP Wormwood Scrubs. If you’re easily shocked or offended, you best look away now....

Having worked for 16 years in a high-security women’s prison dealing with the likes of Rosemary West and Myra Hindley, Vanessa Frake thought she’d seen it all. That was until she was transferred to the notorious Wormwood Scrubs.

Thrust into a ‘man’s world’, her no-nonsense approach and fearless attitude saw her swiftly rise through the ranks. From dealing with celebrity criminals and busting drug rings, to recruiting informers and being subject to violent attacks, this hard-hitting but often humorous memoir reveals all about life behind bars in unflinching detail.

Now, for one last time, the Gov opens the prison gates. Prepare for the madness and horror of daily life with the UK’s most ruthless criminals.

©2021 Vanessa Frake (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What listeners say about The Governor

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Arrogant

I tried but I couldn’t finish it. I appreciate the hard work that prison staff have to undertake. But the author just comes across as self-centred and arrogant to the point of distraction.

5 people found this helpful

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Not my usual book but loved it

My husband got this book and so I thought I’d give it a try. I was hooked straight away and finished it in 2 days. Just brilliant and really well narrated by Vanessa herself. A surprisingly emotional end too. Defo recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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Insightful & interesting page turner

I thought this would be interesting but it was much more than that. I enjoyed Vanessa telling her story and it came across as honest, informative, pretty gruesome at times but with humour also.
I felt Vanessa’s emotions whether it was frustration, anger, pride, happy or sad and I shed tears with her. What a remarkable lady and a credit to the prison service.

2 people found this helpful

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Decent enough stories badly narrated

I really think this would be a much better audiobook if narrated by a professional narrator. The stories within make it worth a listen but it needs a decent edit and better narration. I nearly gave up on it a couple of chapters in but it's worth sticking out.

2 people found this helpful

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Over egging the pudding

I bought this book based on its positive reviews unfortunately it didn’t prove a good buy. I have worked in prisons over the years and found a lot of it over exaggerated and the stresses of working in a prison whilst most definitely present were played out to the max.

The title is also pretty misleading I was expecting her to have been a number 1 Governor with the whole of the prison under her control. This is very much not the case she was promoted to a low level governor which in reality have very little influence over how the prison is run although the story will try to tell you otherwise.

Having stuck with it to the end I found that effectively her most impressive achievement was getting netting over a prison yard to stop throw overs, hardly radical or ground breaking.

In the book the author goes to great pains to describe the horrors of what she has seen in the prison some of which are obviously troublesome but nothing that many other HMP Officers or most certainly Police Officers won’t have also seen but have just chosen not to put pen to paper.

I think the Queens honour that she received was probably awarded with a large nod to both her gender as well as her sexuality rather than her actual achievements across the prison estate which in reality was across two prisons.

Disappointing over hyped and very self indulgent.

1 person found this helpful

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Best Book Ever!!!!

This was by far the best audiobook I have listened to. I didn't want it to end. What an incredible insight into the work of the prison service and narrated by the person herself. Also fascinating to hear about how real prisoners (some famous ones) have behaved in jail. Amazing how clever prisoners are in their attempts to smuggle in drugs, phones etc and how the officers always have to be one step ahead.
Truly brilliant book!

1 person found this helpful

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Great read

Great read, very honest good insight into prison life, author is Great. would love another one, I'm sure there is lots more to tell

1 person found this helpful

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Very, very good.

If you like a prison book then definitely try this one. I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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The forgotten service

Wow! Eye opening, hard hitting, moving, and very interesting. It’s given me a huge admiration for the prison service.

1 person found this helpful

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Enlightening

Vanessa Frake tells her fascinating story very well. I have recommended it to a few people.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for michael potts
  • michael potts
  • 22-09-21

Brilliant Book

So lovely to hear it in Vanessa’s voice. What an amazing life and what great service.