Tuesday 27 October 2020

Blog Tour: Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

Amanda Kennedy


I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton, especially after reading the buzz from other readers who had been entranced on it's initial release.

As suggested by the novel's title, the story progresses over three hours of real time, from the moment the first gunshot rings through the halls of an innovative school set in woodland surroundings close to the Somerset coast. Cliff Heights is a co-ed, progressive school for students from infants through to senior school ages. and through the reflections of the characters it's clear that staff and students alike genuinely experience the school's ethos to care

Snapshots of plot development come from the various areas of the school under lockdown: New School, Old School, Junior School and the isolated Pottery room in which a sole teacher and some of the youngest students are trapped with no means of communication. Gradually, the circumstances which have led up to this point in time are revealed through flashbacks: we learn early on that at least one gunman are holding siege on the school; the headteacher has been shot and is being cared for by students who have barricaded themselves in a classroom; a lone policeman has also been attacked and has taken refuge in the school's gatehouse; a homemade bomb has been set off in the woods... 

Layer upon layer of story build up the tension to boiling point. Whilst reading Three Hours I found it impossible to put down: the need to know what happened next was overwhelming, though my compulsion was not simply the based on the thrilling elements. Lupton weaves humanity throughout her masterful novel: her characters become larger than life, feeling as though they are actual people with all of their emotion, flaws and empathy laid bare on the page. There are so many themes flowing through like threads that slowly wrap around to reveal in the final pages the most beautiful tapestry of a novel which I'm sure will stay with me for a long long time (and which will demand periodic re-reads). 

Despite the difficult themes of terrorism, racism and mental health, I found the prose beautiful and soothing. It takes a master storyteller to portray such horrific and terrifying scenes such as are portrayed in Three Hours as a work of art, but that is indeed what Rosamund Lupton has achieved. I will treasure this book, and have already pressed copies into the hands of friends with the words "trust me, just read it". No explanation of why is needed beyond reading that initial page. 

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton will be released in paperback on 29th October 2020 and can be purchased from Waterstones, Amazon and all good booksellers.

Reviewed by Amanda Kennedy on 27th October, 2020. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Amanda Kennedy / Book Blogger, Writer & Editor

Amanda is a lifelong learner and book lover who lives in the North of England with her family and several cats. She writes book reviews, literary news and bookish articles here on All My Pretty Books.

To learn more about Amanda's own work, visit her personal website.


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