MONTHLY BOOK DISCUSSION

A BOOK FOR DISCUSSION

I may have posted this too late in the month, but I would love to get a book discussion going on this book. I hope someone will be interested but if not, we’ll try again next month.

I’ve been dying to read this book for quite some time. I finally got a chance to start it last night. From the first pages, I think I’m going to love it. I’ve always been fascinated by Russia, especially in the time period this book is set in. I’ve been looking at various articles and opinions and discussions about this book. I have to admit that I had to look up how the Bolsheviks took control over the Soviet Union in 1917.

You can find more explanation of how the Bolsheviks led by Joseph Stalin got control of Russia here

Here is an interesting Q & A with the author Amor Towles. He reveals why he is interested in writing books set in the early 20th Century. Also, even though he has been to Russia only a few times, he states that he is fascinated by the artists of Russia. Painters, poets, and writers.

I am looking forward to getting into this book more as my time permits. It is so aggravating to me that things like life and work interfere with my true passion.

If anyone would like to read this book along with me and discuss it, just let me know. There are lots of book club discussion questions that would generate an interesting and lively debate. Some can be found here.

SOMETHING EXTRA

I found an interview with the author, Amor Towels on youtube that is worth watching where Towels talks about this book.

The Metropol Hotel Dining Room in Moscow Russia
LAGNIAPPE - A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA

MORE THINGS TO PONDER

Here are five of just some things that I don’t think about often, but when I do, I am puzzled. The English language is a very hard language to master by someone trying to master it as a second language. I believe it. I’m going to list a few things that make me think. Some I have seen before over the years and others are new to me. I found them interesting.

WHY IS AN ALARM CLOCK GOING “OFF” WHEN IT ACTUALLY TURNS ON?

     Before your head hits the pillow at night, you have to set your alarm to go off at a certain time. But aren’t you really telling it to turn on at a certain time, so that it wakes you up? This is one of the unanswerable questions about life that might not matter much, but makes you think.

IF A PERSON TOLD YOU THEY WERE A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR, WOULD YOU BELIEVE THEM?

  Pathological liars never really tell the truth, so it’s hard to believe a word that comes out of their mouths. So if they claim they’re a pathological liar, are they being honest for once?

IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning as another word. It would be ironic if ‘synonym’ did not have a synonym, but no words come to mind.

WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS?

This question is a hypothetical one, which is what makes it so ironic. You can’t imagine a world without hypothetical situations unless you’re thinking about a hypothetical situation.

That’s all of today. I’m sure I’ll find some other things to sit and waste time thinking about when I’m not reading.
Until next time……….farewell!!!!

BOOK REVIEWS

NOTHING TO SEE HERE BY KEVIN WILSON

Today, I am reviewing “Nothing To See Here” by Kevin Wilson.

A quote from the book that describes Lillian’s thoughts as she enters the elite preparatory school for the first time:
As I walked to my dorm, I realized that the other girls didn’t even look at me, and I could tell that it wasn’t out of meanness. I don’t think they even saw me; their eyes had been trained since birth to recognize the importance. I wasn’t that.”

My Thoughts:

I liked this book so much more than I expected to. I tried to read “Ready, Player One” but it just wasn’t for me. So, Netgalley has sent me “Nothing To See Here” by Kevin Wilson. I decided to read that one in its place, and I’m so glad I did. This book made me feel good, sad, angry, and frustrated.

The Main Characters:
We have Madison – Privileged child growing up and wealthy woman by any standards through her marriage to Senator Jasper Roberts.

Then we have Madison’s husband Jasper. He would prefer, of course, to be addressed as, Senator Roberts??? Jasper is in the midst of being vetted for a high political office. He is married to Madison and they have one son, Timothy.

Then we come to the protagonist, Lillian. Lillian is an impoverished child who grew up without wealth or affection. As she reaches adulthood, things haven’t changed much. She is working as a cashier at two different grocery stores and living in her mom’s attic.

I would be remiss in failing to mention Carl. He’s a jack of all trades for the Senator. He runs errands and basically does whatever he is called on to do. This includes babysitting at times.

Then we have the twins, Bessie and Roland. Ten years old and children of Jasper and the late Jane who committed suicide. Oh yes, one important thing about Bessie and Roland is that when angered or upset, they spontaneously combust. They are unharmed but the fire is read. Yes, you read that right.

Lillian and Madison, best friends in high school until Lillian leaves abruptly after a scandal ensues. They have not communicated much past an email or text message now and again in the past 15 years.
Lillian receives a letter from Madison asking for help in a very delicate situation in the form of a job. She sends money for a bus ticket to her home. Lillian boards a bus and arrives at the Senator’s mansion. The “job” is acting as governess to Jasper’s twins who are now his responsibility since their mother’s death. Lillian accepts, after all how hard could it be? Lillian and the twins are housed in an elaborate “guest cottage” on the huge estate.

After they are settled into the guest house, several incidents take place that are, at the least, disturbing. I loved the way Lillian interacted with the twins and the steps she took to make their life as normal as possible including homeschooling them. The children loved her. But alas, another incident occurs and the result of that is Lillian fleeing with the children to her mother’s attic.

This story is wonderful. I wish there was a sequel to this book to find out what everyone is doing today. If there ever is one, I will be first in line to buy it. Highly recommended as an easy read and positive subject matter.

SOMETHING EXTRA
I happened upon a video talking about Nothing To See Here on YouTube. Check it out, it’s awesome.

About the Author

Kevin Wilson, Author

Kevin Wilson was born, raised, and still lives in Tennessee. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Greensboro Review, The Oxford American, Carolina Quarterly and elsewhere. His work has twice been included in the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology (2005, 2006). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Florida, he currently teaches fiction at the University of the South and helps run the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

MONTHLY READING ROUNDUP

MONTHLY READING ROUNDUP

Well, have arrived at November 2019. The month of October flew by for me. Christmas will be upon us before we know it. I work as manager and bookkeeper for an RV park in
in Arizona. My husband and I started working five days a week now, rather than just two hours a day.
I only had time to read four books this month, but I enjoyed all of them. The full reviews of these books, with the exception of Orphan X, are all on this blog under Book Reviews. Here they are in the order I finished them.

Crippen by John Boyne

I have read several books written by John Boyne. He is in the top five of my favorite authors of all time. This book was a fictionalized story of Hawley Harlan Crippen who was accused, arrested and tried for the murder of his wife Cora. It is based on a true story. Dr. Crippen, got his “degree” from correspondence courses. He has wanted to be a doctor since early childhood. When friends started questions Hawley about Cora’s absence, he told them that she had gone to California to tend to a sick relative. Eventually, the police started questioning him as to her disappearance. He was accused for her disappearance. He had taken a lover, a young woman who worked with him and they boarded a cruise ship in Antwerp and headed for Canada in order to live freely and without shame together. The twists and turns of this book are marvelous. If you haven’t read it, please treat yourself. I highly recommend this one.
I finished reading Crippen on October 12, 2019
Get it from Amazon


The Minotaur’s Son and other wild tales
by Kevin Ansbro

Kevin Ansbro, the author of ‘The Minotaur’s Son and other wild tales’ has written three books besides this one and I have devoured each one. These books introduced me to the genre of Magical Realism and I was fascinated. The Minotaur’s Son is a collection of short stories and one of them, if not all, will appeal to everyone. You meet a siren, a hip space cowboy and many others. It’s terrific and can be purchased on Amazon.
I finished reading this book on October 14, 2019.
Kevin is taking an hiatus from writing for a bit, but I am waiting patiently for his next masterpiece.


The Night Olivia Fell
By Christina McDonald

This book really was well-written. I think that it is more for teenagers, mostly girls, than for adults. However, it was a good story. Olivia is a sixteen-year-old teenager with a single mother who is very protective. Olivia falls from a bridge one night and is rendered brain dead. Much to her mother’s surprise, she is told that Olivia is pregnant. Before she is taken off life support she must be kept alive until the baby she is carrying is developed enough to be born and survive the outside world. Olivia’s mother goes on a quest to find out what really happened to her daughter. She does not believe it was an accident nor a suicide. This book was enough to keep me reading because I wanted to find out what happened in the end. Very well-written. You may purchase this book at Amazon.
I finished reading this on October 20, 2019


Orphan X
By Gregg Hurwitz

This is an older book. When I started doing research on it, I found that it is the first book in the Orphan Series. It was dynamite. Move over James Bond!! Evan Smoak was alone in the world, an orphan, raised by a covert operation that is part of the government that disavows any knowledge of its members should there be trouble. Basically, Evan is a trained killer. He was trained by the best for the most dangerous assignments. After dropping out of this covert organization, he vows to help anyone that needs his help. “Pay It Forward” so to speak. This book races from one danger and hair-raising situation to the next as fast as lightning strikes. It’s a great action book, easy and quick to read. You may purchase it at Amazon.
I finished reading this on October 28, 2019

I hope you enjoyed my monthly roundup. I’ll be back on December 1, 2019, to do the Monthly Roundup for November. Happy Reading everyone.

LAGNIAPPE - A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA

BOOKS THAT ALL INTROVERTS SHOULD READ

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

I ran across an article earlier that had to do with introverts. Since I am an introvert, I stopped to read it. It gave twenty-six (26) books that introverts might enjoy. I have read a couple of them and I am going to add another one or two to my ever-expanding TBR list. However, my list will outlive me, I have no doubt. I’m in the process of writing a post about my goals as far as book reading goes, during 2020. I’m aiming high and hope I can live up to.
Please check out this article. You can find it here. You will probably find some you have read and add to your list as well
.
There is also a quiz on this site that you can take to determine to what degree and what kind of introvert or extrovert you are.

I have listed below six of the books from this list that either caught my eye, I have read, or I’m planning to read. There are twenty more to check out. It’s a fun list to look at.


TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME
BY CAROL RIFKA BLUNT

SYNOPSIS
It’s 1987, and June Elbus has lost her best friend in the world, her uncle Finn. June is 14, and reserved in a way her sister, Greta, will never understand. They used to be so close, but now, the only comfort June can find is in the woods, where she is free to think and be alone without the painful eyes of other people on her. As June finds out more about her uncle, and comes to learn more about herself, her family, and the world itself. This perfectly quiet novel will make any shy or introverted person feel immediately understood.

MY THOUGHTS
I have not read this book, however I find the synopsis above to be tempting. Sometimes when I was a child, after I lost my grandmother who died at 96, I would go off in the woods next to our house with just my dog, Lucky, and roam for hours. If I found a cleared spot or got tired, I would stop to rest. I had all I needed. My lunch, my dog, and a book. I may add this to my list. Said list is already so long, it will undoubtedly outlive me. This book is available at Amazon



READY PLAYER ONE
BY ERNEST CLINE

SYNOPSIS
It’s 2044, and the world is falling apart. Ernest Cline’s bestselling first novel tells the story of Wade Watts, a teenager who has almost completely removed himself from reality in order to pursue an “Easter Egg” within a video game to win a billion dollar prize. Wade, and the rest of the world, would rather communicate via virtual reality than actual reality, they feel more themselves tucked away, a feeling most introverts know all too well.


I’m reading this book now (October 30, 2019). I haven’t gotten very far into it, but it has been on my TBR list for a very long time. I checked Goodreads for reviews and came away with many 5* reviews. A good many, from long-time friends of mine whose opinion I trust. So, I have high hopes for this one. This book may be found at Amazon


WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE
BY MARIA SEMPLE

SYNOPSIS
Bernadette might be the ultimate introvert in literature. She would rather disappear from her daughter’s life all together than take a trip to Antarctica, because other people will be there. While we’ve surely all felt this way at one time or another, Bernadette takes introversion and dislike of crowds to an entirely new, hilarious level.


MY THOUGHTS
This is another book that has been on my TBR list for a couple of years now. It will go on my list of goals for 2020. Be on the lookout for a separate post later in the year.


It really sounds good. While I am an introvert, I don’t think that I would risk losing contact with one of my children rather than go anyplace undesirable to me. I would probably just “suck it up” and be miserable. I’m looking forward to reading this book. This title can be purchased from Amazon


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

SYNOPSIS
Susan Cain takes a scientific look at introverts, and the quiet power they hold, even in a society that seems to grow louder and louder every day. A must read for any and all introverts who could use a little empowerment every now and then.

MY THOUGHTS
I have read this book and it was an epiphany to me. It’s a must if you’re the least bit curious about introverts and extraverts and the difference between the two. I highly recommend reading this. You can find it here.


THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
BY STEPHEN CHBOSKY


SYNOPSIS
It wouldn’t be a list about being an introvert without this one. Stephen Chbosky (literally) wrote the book on it. There’s a good chance you read The Perks of Being a Wallflower at some point in high school and related so well to Charlie that you couldn’t quite believe it. He’s quiet, he just wants to read his books, go to school, and make things work, and, sometimes, he just can’t put those things into words. Been there, felt that.

MY THOUGHTS
I have read this book many years ago. It described exactly how I felt as a teenager in high school. I was a big geek, as I am now, and would rather read than socialize. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, young or old for either a reminder of their teenage years, or to make them feel better to know that lots of people go through this to some degree.
Find it here . A movie was also made several years ago. Find it here


THE GOLDFINCH
BY DONNA TARTT


SYNOPSIS
The Goldfinch features the ultimate dynamic: the introverted, shy friend joined by the incredibly spunky, outgoing best friend. Tartt’s writing has so much to it, but one of the best parts by far is the friendship between Theo and Boris. An introvert brought out of his shell and pushed by an extroverted friend is something all introverts have experienced at least once!

MY THOUGHTS
This is in my top five favorite books for me in 2019. It was absolutely wonderful. Donna Tartt is a terrific author and I have read several of her books. Unfortunately, I could not find a website dedicated to her. You can find out more about her from goodreads.com. You can find the book at Amazon. The Goldfinch was a Pulitzer Price Winner for fiction in 2014. A movie came out in 2019. I did not get a chance to see it. I’m hoping it will hit Netflix sooner than later. It is fantastic and I would recommend it to all.

So that’s it folks. I hope you look over the entire list and maybe you will pick up one or two that you must read. I know I did.

ABOUT ME

THINGS TO PONDER

I’m having a lazy day today. Just sitting here thinking about things I need to think more about. Just random thoughts. And it suddenly occurred to me that maybe someone else out there needs to give more thought to things in their life. I will add to the post from time to time. For today, I am thinking about two things.

I think about this a lot. How much does swearing and pitching a fit about something really help any situation. I’m sure that most people will say, it only makes the situation worse, but it always makes me feel better to let loose with a temper tantrum and a few well-chosen curse words.
You know what they (I’ve never really known who “they” is specifically) say. Opinions are just like a**holes, everyone has one. I always try to remember that I can agree to disagree with many different opinions but still remain open to others.

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the fact that I wasted so much time of my life doing things that I really didn’t enjoy. Putting up with people that I really didn’t enjoy. No, I’m not feeling sorry for myself or regretting the life I have led. At the time, I was doing exactly what I thought I wanted to do at the time. One of the main things I really should have thought about was getting married fresh out of high school at 18 years of age. I had no idea who I was or who I might become . I stumbled around for years, hating the jobs I had, not being with people that I really enjoyed being with. I could go on and on about the stupid things I did as a younger person. I have to laugh at some of my shenanigans. I have come to realize that I had to get past 60 to settle down into a job I love, travel where I want to go and have found my soulmate.

I’d like to see what things you regret as well as things that have gone right for you. I’d be interested to know.

ABOUT ME, THINGS I'M DOING

BOOKS TO READ FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2019

I can hardly believe that 2019 is almost at an end. This year has flown by for me. I did manage to complete my personal goal to read thirty-five books during 2019.

What will I do with the remaining 2 1/2 months?? I’ve got it!!! I’ll read!!! There are so many awesome books to read that I already own either sitting on a bookshelf or loaded on my Kindle app for iPad. Therefore, I have set another goal for myself to read six more books before the end of 2019. Below is my list:


SMALL FRY – BY LISA BRENNAN-JOBS

Small Fry is written by Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ the daughter of Steve Jobs. It is a poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents’ fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the ’70s and ’80s, Small Fry is an enthralling audiobook by an insightful new literary voice.


THE IMMORTALISTSBY CHLOE BENJAMIN

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes. Beyond the Point – By Claire Gibson


DAISY JONES AND THE SIX – BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.


A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW BY AMOR TOWLES

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
 


READY PLAYER ONE, #1 BY ERNEST CLINE **************** See Note
I gave up on this book when I was about 25% finished. It held absolutely NO interest for me and I didn’t want to waste anymore time on it. Instead, I read “Nothing To See Here” by Kevin Wilson click for the full review. It was very good.

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 


THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD BY COLSON WHITEHEAD

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share. 

THINGS I'M DOING

One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten- ARC Review — Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

This is a re-blog book review from the ‘Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub’ that I found very interesting. I immediately ordered this book and am really looking forward to reading it. I thought maybe some of you might find it interesting and want to read it as well. I think it would be a very good book for discussion. See what you think. While you’re enjoying this post, you might want to check out her blog. She’s got lots of interesting things on there.

Originally posted on Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: On New Year’s Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day—chosen completely at random—turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next…

One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten- ARC Review — Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
BOOK REVIEWS, YA BOOKS

THE NIGHT THAT OLIVIA FELL BY CHRISTINA MCDONALD

Publishing Information from Amazon.com

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (February 5, 2019)
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heart wrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you? 

*********************************************************************************

My Thoughts

When I first saw this book, I knew it would be an easy read with a little mystery in it. I didn’t realize it was a YA book. I should research more carefully in the future. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a terrible book and I’m sure that middle school and high school age children would eat it up. But for me, not so good.

The book centers around a 16-year-old high school girl named Olivia who has a terrible “accident”. Or, is something more sinister at the root of her fall? Her mother Abi, an overprotective single mother who adores her daughter and keeps a tight rein on her.

Olivia has a BFF, Madison, a boyfriend, Tyler. Madison has been a friend since they were small children and Tyler is, of course the handsome but shallow captain of the football team.

I could go into great detail about all the characters and the twists and turns this book made, but I will let you read it for yourself.

All of this is quite predictable and I had no problem figuring out how it would end. Like I stated above, it was not a terrible book, but pretty lightweight. I didn’t research it or read reviews.

The book has some redeeming features that will be evident toward the end. If you like YA books or have a teenage daughter or son that is a reader, this is a perfect book for them.

*******************************************************************************

About the Author

Christina McDonald

Christina McDonald is the USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books), which has been optioned for television by a major Hollywood studio. Her next book, Behind Every Lie, is out Feb 2020. Her writing has been featured in The Sunday Times, Dublin, USAToday.com, and Expedia. Originally from Seattle, WA, she has an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland Galway, and now lives in London, England with her husband, two sons, and their dog, Tango.

BOOK REVIEWS, HISTORICAL FICTION

THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON BY SARA COLLINS

THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON
BY SARA COLLINS

Title: The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Author: Sara Collins
Publisher: Harper – May 21, 2019…….375 Pages

FROM THE BACK COVER
No one knows the worst thing they’re capable of until they do it . . .
“All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, who is accused of the brutal double murder of her employers, renowned scientist George Benham and his eccentric French wife, Marguerite. Crowds pack the courtroom, eagerly following every twist, while the newspapers print lurid theories about the killings and the mysterious woman being held in the Old Bailey.

The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore. Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, or how she came to be covered in the victims’ blood, even if remembering could save her life.

But she does have a tale to tell: a story of her childhood on a Jamaican plantation, her apprenticeship under a debauched scientist who stretched all bounds of ethics, and the events that brought her into the Benhams’ London home—and into a passionate and forbidden relationship.
Though her testimony may seal her conviction, the truth will unmask the perpetrators of crimes far beyond murder and indict the whole of English society itself.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a breathtaking debut, a murder mystery that travels across the Atlantic and through the darkest channels of history. A brilliant, searing depiction of race, class, and oppression that penetrates the skin and sears the soul, it is the story of a woman of her own making in a world that would see her unmade.”

THE STORY

The book opens at Newcastle Prison in London, England, where Frannie Langton is on trial for the premeditated murders of her Master and Mistress, George and Marguerite Benham. She faces the death penalty. Frannie maintains she has no memory of the incident.

Frannie has been taught to read and write by Langton in order that she could help him with his scientific “experiments”. She was educated, which was rare for a woman of color in that day and age. She longed to write; and, while awaiting her fate in prison she wrote her memoir.
Frannie begins her memoir from her childhood in Jamaica to her arrival in London. She chronicles her years as a slave in Jamaica and the “scientific” atrocities she was forced to be witness and participate in while she was there. Langton, her master in Jamaica, was working with another very well known and respected scientist. They were working on the same project. I shall not, at this point, reveal the subject of these experiments. I will let you read this book if you have a mind to. Trust me when I say, they are macabre & frankly sickening.

Langton subsequently offers to gift Frannie to the more well-known scientist, Benham and they travel to London. Upon arriving, Frannie works as a servant under the supervision of the house manager, who hates her. However, shortly after arriving, she has caught the eye of Marguerite Benham, Meg as her friends refer to her and becomes Meg’s lady maid. The two of them become extremely close friends much to the chagrin of the house manager and the Master George Benham. Frannie tends to Meg’s every need. And I want to stress “every need”.

I’m going to stop here so as not to post any spoilers. Anymore detail would be an injustice to future readers of this magnificent book It’s a must-read book and you will not be disappointed.

MY THOUGHTS

This wonderful book not only addresses the subject of slavery in both Jamaica and England, but also it brought to my mind the prejudice that is still in existence today targeting anyone who is “different”.

I was born and reared in Louisiana. I now reside in Arizona. I am also of the advanced age that I remember segregation very well. Not only in our schools but on public transportation. They had to go to the back of the bus. Also at the lunch counters, restrooms and water fountains. The list goes on and on. I had children that I did my best to dissuade from that kind of attitude in which I was saturated as a child. I think I did a pretty good job. Those children now have children of their own who have also been taught that prejudice is wrong and will not be tolerated.

Far be it for me to suggest that this attitude does not exist today. Sadly, it does. We can only hope that through education and the instruction of tolerance, we have hope for a better tomorrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Collins is of Jamaican descent. She studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years before doing a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing. She lives in London, England. The Confessions of Frannie Langton is her debut novel, and was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize.