The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins – Review – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

‘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?

A beautiful and haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via LoveReading. The Confessions of Frannie Langton was a book that made me feel equally outraged and devastated. The first part of it takes place in Jamaica, on the plantation where Frannie was born. I was horrified to read about the way the slaves were treated but a lot of what happens isn’t revealed until much later in the novel. The mistake Frannie makes that results in the death of another is chilling. After a fire the story switches to life in London.

Frannie isn’t an easy person to like. She is hot headed, sometimes rude and makes life a lot harder for herself. But she is also loyal to Madame, Sal and Pru. Pru was one of my favourite characters in the novel. She was one of the few who could see beyond the colour of Frannie’s skin. The attitude of many in the novel, the racial hatred and superstition made me cringe. But this was nothing compared to the way she and many others were treated by Langton and Benham. 

Whilst I liked all of this novel my favourite parts were the ones in Jamaica and the trial. I have read novels before that have court scenes but never one from the 19th century. It was during the trial scenes that I liked Frannie a lot more.  I started to see her depth of character, the regret she felt over her mistake in Jamaica, the frustration that so many were wealthy due to slavery and the horror that she was forced to participate in before she was brought to England. 

It’s a wonderful novel and Sara Collins is an author I would read again. 


The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine – Review – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

The past is about to become the present… 

Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile. Left rootless by the death of her estranged father, she is faced with the daunting task of sorting through his possessions. Amidst the dust of her old life, Ruth discovers a hidden diary from the eighteenth century, written by her ancestor, Thomas Erskine. As she sifts through the ancient pages of the past, Ruth is pulled into a story that she can’t escape.

As the youngest son of a noble family Thomas’ life started in genteel poverty, but his extraordinary experiences propel him from the high seas to Lord Chancellor. Yet, on his journey through life, he makes a powerful enemy who hounds him to the death – and beyond.
Ruth has opened a door to the past that she can’t close, and meets a ghost in her family tree who wasn’t invited. She will have to draw upon new friends and old in what will become a battle for her very survival…

The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine’s own personal history – branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via LoveReading. It is many years since I read a novel by Barbara Erskine. I always enjoyed the ones I had read, so was looking forward to reading this new one, especially when I realised that one of the themes concerned genealogy. The author has done a brilliant job of combining her own family tree, a haunting and modern day fraud into a fictional work. I spent a lot of time looking at the handwritten family tree at the beginning of the novel.

The modern day story concerns Ruth, who is trying to protect her inheritance whilst reading and researching her family’s past, Timothy and April the siblings who are determined to get their hands on her property and Thomas the man who Ruth is descended from. And present throughout is Andrew Farquhar, the man who is determined to get revenge. Everybody has underestimated how far he is prepared to go in his resolve to make Thomas pay. His character was probably the strongest one. You can’t beat a malevolent spirit!

Some of Thomas’s story is revealed through Ruth reading his journals. I have to admit that I preferred him when he was younger. His time in the navy and when he first met his wife Fanny showed his better side. As he got older and more powerful I had a lot less empathy for him. Even though I did realise that he was being controlled by some. One of the more chilling parts of the novel concerned him witnessing a public hanging. Whilst I have read similar the account of how the crowd took a lot of delight in the act was horrifying.

I liked Ruth. She was loyal to Thomas, not interested in making money from his journals, just wanting to know more about what happened to him and his immediate family. But the modern day story I preferred was the one that concerned April and Timothy and the way that their whole life changed because of greed and dishonesty.

I would like to thank Charlotte Walker for asking me to be part of LoveReading’s Ambassador Book Buzz.