The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
Historical Fiction | Mystery
Published by Harper
Released May 21, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Note: I received a free ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions.
Let me start this review by saying that the fact that this is Sara Collins’ debut novel absolutely blows my mind. She writes like a seasoned author, and The Confessions of Frannie Langton was such a complex, wonderful, and character-driven novel.
The book begins after our main character, Frannie Langton, is imprisoned for murder, and her being given an opportunity to tell her story. So she begins to write, and we’re introduced to the life of this complicated and courageous character.
Frannie Langton began her life as a slave on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, where she is forced to help the master of the house in a number of roles, some of them quite disturbing. She and her master take a ship to London once she’s older, where he gives her to an estranged friend in order to try to obtain his help publishing his “scientific research” on the differentiation between the races. From that point on, she takes up residence with George and Marguerite Benham. She’s no longer a slave, but she works as a maid and then begins to work more closely with Marguerite.
Marguerite and Frannie develop a romantic relationship, something unthinkable at the point of history where this story takes place. It is Marguerite and George that Frannie is accused of murdering, however.
While reading this novel I felt such a range of emotions from rage to pity to disbelief at what Frannie is put up against. As I mentioned before, this novel is exquisitely written and Collins’ words get you deeply invested in the story. It’s a murder mystery that is so much more, the story of a woman who never had a chance due to the color of her skin and gender.
“A man writes to separate himself from the common history. A woman writes to try to join it.”
The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is that there were a few times throughout the novel where I found the pacing and wording a bit confusing. Otherwise, however, this book tackles so many things: racism, sexism, drug addiction, sex, adultery, and class.
This was a powerful and difficult book to read, but one that I fully recommend to fans of hard-hitting fiction and historical fiction. While the scenes in the novel can make you feel uncomfortable, it’s well worth it. If this is Sara Collins’ debut, I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!