Review: The Confessions of Frannie Langton (★★★★★)

In 3 words: Honest; Powerful; Brutal

A Summary (No Spoilers)…

𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘰𝘯, 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘷𝘦, 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘎𝘦𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘶𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘉𝘦𝘯𝘩𝘢𝘮. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘰𝘯𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘯𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘶 𝘰𝘧 𝘑𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘤𝘢 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘉𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 1800𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘰𝘯.

Langton is a compelling protagonist — she holds an ocean of emotions and memories within her. She is an unreliable narrator and a powerful and indignant speaker. She is both strengthened and broken by her oppressive and merciless society. The book is also filled with brutal historical accuracies, including anthropologists’ obsession with eugenics and phrenology — or ‘scientific racism’.

Part of what makes Langton so compelling is her secret love affair with her mistress, Marguerite Benham. While Frannie explains in her confession how passionate the love was between them, it made me wonder how pure and loving the relationship could really have been, given their power imbalance and how much more Frannie had to lose than Marguerite (Frannie’s job, freedom, and life compared to Marguerite’s reputation) .

Jo’s Recommendation

A strong recommendation for any historical fiction enthusiasts. This is one of the best historical fictions I read in 2021 because it was so well-researched and intricate.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲𝗱… The multifaceted and complex discussion of tough themes like love, passion, race, and oppression.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲𝗱… It takes a while to get exciting.

You’ll Also Love…

NATIVE SON // RICHARD WRIGHT — for another novel that centres around a murder trial. Both follow the inner thoughts of complex individuals who have been backed into a corner and mistreated by their society.

THE HELP // KATHRYN STOCKETT — for another story told from the perspectives of black servants in an oppressive society. The tone of the books are vastly different but shed light on similar themes like race, discrimination, and injustice.

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING // DELIA OWENS — the first part of Frannie Langton is reminiscent of the dark coming-of-age in Crawdads. Both feature a haunting mystery and girl growing up in solitude on the edge of society.

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