The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins // The Complexity of Guilt

the confessions of frannie langton by Sara Collins

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*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for a review. This in no way affects my opinion.

It’s the 1800’s. A murder trial is taking place. Inside, a maid is accused of murdering her mistress. The mistress she loved…

Found sleeping next to the victim and covered in blood, it’s fairly easy to presume how Frannie came to be accused. But did things happen how they say they happen? Frannie takes the lead in this book, telling her life story and gradually leading us to the events she stands trial for.

Frannie’s voice throughout this book is unwavering. Taking ownership of her own story, she lays out clearly the ways of the world and all its injustices, but also its moments of serenity too. She notes the difficulties in relationships – work based, familial and romantic – and isn’t afraid to show her own faults to the world, despite knowing she’ll be judged for them. Her comments on the affects of racism in everyday society seem natural remarks, her reminders of such a division setting the tone for injustice throughout. Frannie gets her voice in this story, even when the trial is handed over to the lawyers and witnesses. The weight of prejudice falls upon her hard and yet we get to hear her story, a story that feels so honest in itself that it almost felt real.

And with that comes the complexity of guilt. Is Frannie Langton guilty? Guilty of what? Do her feelings of guilt mean she’s guilty as charged? Should she be punished for every mistake made through her life, as she is being judged for now? Though hard to admit, everything about Frannie’s life is laid out for us to read, the highlights and pitfalls and all. We judge her character from her life story, but already with the taint of an accusation. Frannie acknowledges this, counteracts this, confronts our prejudice with brutal honesty – and in doing so, we see her wavering between innocence and guilt, feeling the pressure of being held accountable for everything in life.

Now this book was definitely slow going. Not that that’s a bad thing – it’s a recounting of a life story, after all. It’s hardly going to go by in the flash of an eye. In fact, I feel like it suits the trial setting perfectly, the slow unfurling of events piecing together a story and being drawn out over days. But it does mean you have to go into this book interested in Frannie Langton’s life rather than the “who done it?” mystery of the murder trial, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll be impatient to find out how it all ends.

But this is definitely a story where you get more than you bargained for. There’s so much to be told outside of the murder, so much complexity that ties this book into a neat little knot for you to pick at. And I loved it. As you can imagine, I adored the historical influences – simple mentions of The Old Bailey, nods to Moll Flanders and the experiments taking place at the time really solidified this book’s place in the 1800’s. With the added element of a F/F romance too, this book just had so many details I loved seeing, elements that when added all together formed a complicated story laid out to us for judgement.

I’ve not read anything like this book in a long time. I became invested in the lives of this household, eager to find out what happened to make it all go so wrong. With the historical influences tied in with the elements of a good ol’ court drama, I easily fell into this book every time I returned to it.

Rated 4/5 stars

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me a spot on the blog tour! Make sure you check out the other bloggers on the tour if you want to see more reviews 🙂

Until next time,

sign off handle saying "Ashleigh" for A Frolic Through Fiction blog

10 thoughts on “The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins // The Complexity of Guilt

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