Three Hours – Rosamund Lupton

The extraordinary new novel everyone is talking about from the Sunday Times best-selling author of Sister.  Published by Penguin 9th January 2020.

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption

About the Author: Rosamund Lupton was a screenwriter for many years before writing her first novel – ‘Sister’ . It was the winner of Richard & Judy’s bookclub 2010 and broadcast on Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime. It was the fastest selling debut in the history of WH Smith and has sold over 1.5 million copies. It was published in the USA on 7th June and was picked by the New York Times review of books as well as receiving critical acclaim in a wide variety of other national media. Her second novel ‘Afterwards’ was published on 9th June in the UK and in its first week of sales went into the Sunday Times best seller list and has had widespread critical acclaim. Her third novel ‘The Quality of Silence’ is also a Sunday Times best-seller. Her fourth novel, “Three Hours’ is published in January 2020.  She lives in London with her husband and two sons.

My Review:  It’s taken me a couple of days since I finished Three Hours to think about this extraordinary story and what I can write in my review.

Three Hours is based on every parent’s worst nightmare – a school siege, young pupils held hostage, teachers being shot and gunmen surrounding the school seemingly uninterested in negotiating.  What makes this particular story stand out from others in this genre is that the school in question is based in Somerset, UK and in the midst of a fierce and unrelenting snow blizzard.

The weather is almost a character itself within story line – as it’s instrumental in obstructing police surveillance and causing severe delays when it comes to bringing the siege to an end.

This beautiful and sensitive story is narrated through the eyes of several main characters bringing a multi-layer human angle enabling the reader to watch the story unfold through so many different sides.

It’s emotional and raw in places leaving your heart breaking, but inspiring and courageous in others allowing our hearts to soar with hope and love.

Three Hours is NOT an easy book to read as a parent or even as a human being, however it has an important message running through the pages Love is the most powerful thing there is” and after finishing this story I certainly felt that message loud and clear.


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