Three Hours
The extraordinary new novel everyone is talking about from the Sunday Times best-selling author of SisterThree 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.

Three Hours Details

TitleThree Hours
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 9th, 2020
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780241374498
Rating
GenreThriller, Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Adult, Adult Fiction

Three Hours Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    "And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself" (Rumi 1207-1273)Rosamund Lupton begins this superb novel that could have been ripped from our troubled world's recent news headlines, with the above quote, for in the midst of the nightmare that descends on a rural Somerset school on a cold, dark and snowy November morning, teachers and children's lives are to be changed forever. Their courage, love, fortitude and sense of community rises to the surface as their innocence is "And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself" (Rumi 1207-1273)Rosamund Lupton begins this superb novel that could have been ripped from our troubled world's recent news headlines, with the above quote, for in the midst of the nightmare that descends on a rural Somerset school on a cold, dark and snowy November morning, teachers and children's lives are to be changed forever. Their courage, love, fortitude and sense of community rises to the surface as their innocence is shattered in the face of the worst of people riddled with the cancer of an all consuming hatred. Lupton drops the reader right slap bang into the middle of the terror of the school taken over by well armed gunmen, shooting the kind and compassionate Head, Matthew Marr, who is dragged into the library by students. It is the brave Rafi Burkhani, suffering PTSD, a casualty of war torn Syria, who recognises a small explosion in the wood as a bomb, informing the Head, driven by his love of his younger, emotionally damaged brother, Basi, and his need to save him and others.Rafi's girlfriend, Hannah, does the best she can to care for Matthew, trapped with other students in the library. Jacintha, the English teacher is reading poetry with her class in her efforts to cope with the unfolding tragedy. The local police officer is shot at, forced to take cover at the gatehouse. Thinking his brother is safe, Rafi returns to danger to ensure Hannah too is safe. The pottery room, located in the woods, is the most vulnerable place, a gunman outside pointing his gun at the class. In the most secure place, the theatre, the drama teacher, Daphne, locks in her students and presides over the dress rehearsal of Macbeth in her fight for a degree of normalcy, a play that drips with echoes of their own current deadly realities. Macbeth, with its witches, murder of the innocents, death, tyranny and terror, where Birnam wood marches to Dunsinane. Anguished parents pray for their children, desperate for news, whilst some, who should know better, fan the flames of Islamaphobia. In a bone chillingly atmospheric narrative that goes back and forth in time, Lupton illuminates the longest, darkest, three hours of the soul, where a school defined by the most liberal and tolerant of values is seen as the devil incarnate by those whose hearts burn with a malignant, sick hatred, where the mass killing of innocent children is viewed as acceptable collateral with their bombs in fairytales. Shot throughout the most terrifying of scenarios is hope, light, and solidarity, as people discover what they are willing to die for, what they are made of, and who they truly are. As Matthew Marr states, in the end it is all about love, it is all that matters. For example, the Deputy Head, Neil Forbright, afflicted with depression, taking heroic actions without any thought to his own safety and the incomparable Rafi, fighting his own demons to save those he loves. This is an unbelievably amazing and brilliant read, traumatic, so engrossing, unforgettable, and intense. Cannot recommend this highly enough. Thanks to Penguin UK for an ARC.
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    ImperiledRosamund Lupton is a gifted author that masterfully develops plots, where great characters portray human emotions and relationships in scenarios that test what it means to love and hate, to be fearful and brave, and how selfless and frightened people often excel in times of danger.Three Hours is the story of a school campus being held hostage by a gunman with murderous intent. Unfortunately, a scenario that has played out for real in our society with shocking news coverage. Rosamund ImperiledRosamund Lupton is a gifted author that masterfully develops plots, where great characters portray human emotions and relationships in scenarios that test what it means to love and hate, to be fearful and brave, and how selfless and frightened people often excel in times of danger.Three Hours is the story of a school campus being held hostage by a gunman with murderous intent. Unfortunately, a scenario that has played out for real in our society with shocking news coverage. Rosamund draws wonderful characters to personalise a glimpse of possible motivations and actions under the headlines.The school is a campus of multiple buildings located in woodlands on the Somerset coast and includes a junior school, a senior school, pottery building and a theatre. It has continued to grow from the 1920s adding new to old and now provides education to 14 years of student needs. Several teachers and students occupy each of the buildings and their stories are told with compelling fascination when threat and fear hang over their every move. The novel explores how different people react, some stepping forward in moments of courage and those that don’t. The attacks start with a small explosion, and Rafi, a young refugee from Aleppo knows from experience exactly what it was. He informs the headmaster, Matthew Marr, and rushes to the junior school to evacuate the children and his younger brother, Basi. For many others, it began when the headmaster was shot in the head and foot. Dragged into the library by Hannah (Rafi’s girlfriend) and her fellow student, Mr Marr is incapacitated but fears what is happening in his school. As for the gunman: “Everyone would realize, if they hadn’t already feared it, if they were a bit slow on the uptake, that their lives and stories weren’t their own; and all the different stories he’d set in motion would play out at the same time, the simultaneity generated by him.” As the reports circulate using mobile phones, other teachers battle the fear and nerves to keep the children safe, including Daphne Epelsteiner, the 55 years old drama teacher, Neil Forbright the deputy head and Beth Alton, a worried parent.The sense of concealed menace hangs like a dense fog over the school never knowing if the killer is going to step out of the mist and shoot someone. The staff try to occupy the children without conveying fear but their anxiety is palpable. Worse still there’s more than one gunman! Over three hours from 9:15 am to 12:15 pm the lives of the school’s staff, pupils and parents will change forever.We often wonder what psychological impact events such as school shootings, or war-torn regions such as Aleppo, have on those that survive. Rafi was a wonderful character, expertly drawn and demonstrated the selfless love he had for his brother, Hannah and others. I loved the following quote from Rafi as he talks to Hannah, and it seems to resonate with multiple disorders, from depression to PTSD. “ ‘I think that’s what mental illness is,’ he said. ‘I think it takes away the choice. You’re stuck being someone who isn’t even really you. And you should know that the not-really-me has PTSD and I’m genuinely weird in a psychotic way.” This is an excellent book that tackles a difficult and sensitive subject with careful control. The ending ... well 😪! I would highly recommend this book and I’d like to thank Penguin Books for providing me with an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
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  • Nadia
    January 1, 1970
    Quick but a very intense read!A secular school in the English countryside is targeted by masked gunmen who shot the Headmaster and threaten the children. The book covers a three hour span during which the children barricade themselves inside the school and police is trying to negotiate with the gunmen to prevent any more shots being fired.I read the book in a couple of days, completely engrossed in the story. This is a chilling and terrifying read that had my heart racing in the critical Quick but a very intense read!A secular school in the English countryside is targeted by masked gunmen who shot the Headmaster and threaten the children. The book covers a three hour span during which the children barricade themselves inside the school and police is trying to negotiate with the gunmen to prevent any more shots being fired.I read the book in a couple of days, completely engrossed in the story. This is a chilling and terrifying read that had my heart racing in the critical moments. The book is masterfully written, the characters are well drawn out and I was feeling all of their emotions - the terror of the trapped children, the courage of the teachers and the despair and helplessness of the parents. This was my first book by the author but I'll be definitely looking out for her next books.Many thanks to Penguin Books UK for a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton was a book that I could not put down and read in one day.A school in Somerset is under siege. There are masked gunmen on the premise and the headmaster has been shot. Groups of children and staff have barricaded themselves into classrooms. Emergency services and police can't get into the school and are trying to negotiate with the gunmen. There is a snowstorm outside and panicked parents begin to arrive. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton was a book that I could not put down and read in one day.A school in Somerset is under siege. There are masked gunmen on the premise and the headmaster has been shot. Groups of children and staff have barricaded themselves into classrooms. Emergency services and police can't get into the school and are trying to negotiate with the gunmen. There is a snowstorm outside and panicked parents begin to arrive. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. The tension grew with each chapter and I couldn't wait to find out how the story would end.Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing book from an outstanding author. The start of the book is extremely dramatic and tense with students and teachers hiding in classrooms and the school theatre from gunmen and there are some superb images such as children piling books against the library door to prevent entry. This is every parents, teachers and students nightmare but the book goes deeper into issues that are so pertinent and relevant that from time to time I had to pause in the reading to reflect. As well as This is an amazing book from an outstanding author. The start of the book is extremely dramatic and tense with students and teachers hiding in classrooms and the school theatre from gunmen and there are some superb images such as children piling books against the library door to prevent entry. This is every parents, teachers and students nightmare but the book goes deeper into issues that are so pertinent and relevant that from time to time I had to pause in the reading to reflect. As well as the storyline of the emergency services swinging into action to save the people involved one of the most moving parts of the story concerns Rafi and his younger brother Basi who escape the horrors of Aleppo only to find themselves caught up in another horror. These two boys back story of the dangers they faced and their bravery in getting to the UK personalises the tragedy of Syria. Part of the story concerns rising Islamaphobia and the growth of the far right whipped up by media scare stories and important people on Twitter who frankly shouldn’t be and who should know better. The boys are delightful brave souls and the students and teachers in the school took them into their hearts. Despite everything that Rafi goes through in the story his overwhelming love for his little brother shines like a beacon. There are some fantastic characters in the book - some of the teachers Matthew Marr the brave head and his equally brave deputy Neil, Daphne the drama teacher, Jacinta the English teacher who read beautiful poetry to her students to distract them, student Hannah and one of the mums, Beth. Daphne is rehearsing Macbeth with the students when the drama starts and I love the recurring use of the Scottish play which creates some of the most powerful images and the students see that the events in the play mirror events outside the theatre and the end of the book ‘we were Burnham Wood coming up the hill to Dunsinane, marching to the beat of three words’ is just such an example. That image will stay with me for a long time. Their bravery is humbling. The story is fast paced, tense and shocking. The perpetrators motives are examined in detail and one of them is certainly a psychopath and a very tech savvy one at that. They are influenced by previous school tragedies, in particular Columbine. At times, you hold your breathe as the tension is palpable and towards the end it gets more shocking by the minute. The ending is particularly emotional but in reality the whole book should stir emotions. I think the author has raised issues we all need to be aware of and react to before it is too late. A brilliant read.Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very moving, emotional roller-coaster of a novel. It is snowing, November, and we are at a school in rural Somerset, with cliffs on one side and woods surrounding the spread out building – including a theatre, pottery building, and Junior and Senior School (named Old and New School). This book begins with a gunman shooting Headmaster, Matthew Marr, in the head. Dragged into the library by some pupils, the events of that day unfold, as the school goes into lockdown. Characters include This is a very moving, emotional roller-coaster of a novel. It is snowing, November, and we are at a school in rural Somerset, with cliffs on one side and woods surrounding the spread out building – including a theatre, pottery building, and Junior and Senior School (named Old and New School). This book begins with a gunman shooting Headmaster, Matthew Marr, in the head. Dragged into the library by some pupils, the events of that day unfold, as the school goes into lockdown. Characters include the Headmaster and Deputy Head, Detective Inspector Rose Polstein, a parent waiting anxiously for news of her son, Hannah, who is doing her best to care for Mr Marr and her boyfriend, Syrian refugee, Rafi Bukhari and his younger brother, Basi. I do not want to give away the plot, but I will be surprised if many readers do not finish this without a tear in their eye. Not many books make me feel tearful, but I found this profoundly moving and very topical. Although this is, of course, about a tragedy, it is also a very uplifting read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    Sounds interesting, might read it very soon
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    A Somerset school is under siege, it has been taken over by armed gunmen who have shot the headmaster Mathew Marr. Pupils at the school have barricaded themselves in their classrooms. There has been a snow storm and the police and emergency services are struggling to attend and are trying to find out who has a grudge against the school. Is it a disgruntled ex employee or pupil?Although the timeline for this story is short, it delivers a chilling and mesmerising read. A tale of courage in A Somerset school is under siege, it has been taken over by armed gunmen who have shot the headmaster Mathew Marr. Pupils at the school have barricaded themselves in their classrooms. There has been a snow storm and the police and emergency services are struggling to attend and are trying to find out who has a grudge against the school. Is it a disgruntled ex employee or pupil?Although the timeline for this story is short, it delivers a chilling and mesmerising read. A tale of courage in adversity. Loved how the drama teacher encourages the pupils to rehearse their play Macbet, to keep their minds off this dangerous situations. This story is fast paced and terrifying at times, I held my breath scared to read on!! I think this book is hard hitting as we have all read in the news about shootings happening in schools so I can definitely relate to it. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    “Love is the most powerful thing there is”.So says one character in Rosamund Lupton’s Three Hours, an incredibly powerful, heart breaking and undeniably brilliant novel, the thing is you know, I believe that’s true. If you read this you’ll believe it too.Three Hours. One School. A life threatening and life changing event.Reading this book was both the best and most difficult three hours (ironically) I’ve spent inside a story for years. Gripping, almost gently breaking down your defences, that “Love is the most powerful thing there is”.So says one character in Rosamund Lupton’s Three Hours, an incredibly powerful, heart breaking and undeniably brilliant novel, the thing is you know, I believe that’s true. If you read this you’ll believe it too.Three Hours. One School. A life threatening and life changing event.Reading this book was both the best and most difficult three hours (ironically) I’ve spent inside a story for years. Gripping, almost gently breaking down your defences, that thing that separates your fact from your fiction, the characters within this multi arc drama are tangible and real. They could be your family, your friends, this is why your heart will pound out of your chest, you’ll have to step back sometimes but you’ll be drawn back in by the sheer emotion of it all – now I’m out the other side I’m a little in awe of how far I was in it. Actually I think powerful is understating it by quite a margin.The writing is so beautiful. The inner turmoil, the bravery, the terror and the dawning of understanding, all brought to vivid, shocking life on the page. The author takes on all the nuances, all the emotional levels, every part of human nature both the best and the worst of it and makes you look, really LOOK at it and the world we are living in. There are no punches pulled, no promises made and yet at the centre of it all, through the trauma, there is hope. Hope and love.Yes the story is ripped straight from a headline you hope never to see again. This has been done before you may say. No. Not like this. Not with this immersive level of quality in the prose, in the characters, in the overall impact of it. I cried for our society when I was done, I also believed in it.Love is the most powerful thing there is.Read this book. Live it.
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  • ABCme
    January 1, 1970
    Mindblowing and breathtaking!A school compound is held hostage by white supremacists, one inside, one outside and possibly a third one out in the woods. The reader is guided through the different sections of the school holding children of different age groups. We learn how each responds to the drama unfolding.Tension is slowly building on all fronts in this extremely well crafted story. Fast paced, exquisite writing. Indepth characters have me sitting right next to them holding hands, praying Mindblowing and breathtaking!A school compound is held hostage by white supremacists, one inside, one outside and possibly a third one out in the woods. The reader is guided through the different sections of the school holding children of different age groups. We learn how each responds to the drama unfolding.Tension is slowly building on all fronts in this extremely well crafted story. Fast paced, exquisite writing. Indepth characters have me sitting right next to them holding hands, praying all will be well. The snow getting thicker truly adds to the isolation of the surroundings. Whilst the police are slowly discovering who they're dealing with, a solution seems far out of reach.Finally, a decision is made, leading to a well rounded adrenalin filled finale. So good!Thank you Netgalley and Viking for the ARC.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Tense!But then the story cant not be.....A thriving tolerant and liberal independent school in Somerset set within its own forest land with various out buildings comes under attack via a bomb and ‘terrorists with guns’ and as the title would imply there is ‘3 Hours’ to ‘sort it’ and save lives Its very difficult to say what is good, what is bad, which parts were thrilling and which parts were not so without giving any of the plot away and thus ruining the element(s) of surprise throughout the Tense!But then the story cant not be.....A thriving tolerant and liberal independent school in Somerset set within its own forest land with various out buildings comes under attack via a bomb and ‘terrorists with guns’ and as the title would imply there is ‘3 Hours’ to ‘sort it’ and save lives Its very difficult to say what is good, what is bad, which parts were thrilling and which parts were not so without giving any of the plot away and thus ruining the element(s) of surprise throughout the book! ( a cop out anno but there you go!) however what I will say is that the book is ( as maybe you would expect via the subject ) political and at times this becomes a bit overpowering!But as a thriller it is as said tense, nail bitingly so and the sense of mixed claustrophobia with terror that the hostages feel is very real and very raw and powerfully described The use of previous school sieges and shootings as a backdrop to the story is chilling as well as informative At tines it felt a long 3 hours and at other times it sped pastWorth saying the ‘thoughts’ of one of the gunman’s Mum’s is emotiveas she tries to come to terms with what she is experiencing, I really felt for her and what she was living throughThe ‘police procedural’ side of things did not daunt the reader and held some fascinating insights into what happens in these situationsThere was an ongoing theme of a ‘mystery’ gunman and after reading the ending 4 times I cant seem to figure out who it was or if we were ever actually told who it was, anyone who has read it and worked it out please let me knowOn the whole I did enjoy it and hope I haven’t given too much away in my review! I am pretty sure anyone reading it will enjoy it8/104 Stars
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  • Tracy Fenton
    January 1, 1970
    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 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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  • Jannelies
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written with strong characters and excellent insight in the good and not-so-good sides of people. This story about a school shooting, but even more about what happened before that made some people decide to go ahead with it, is not an easy read. I had a bit of trouble getting into the story because of the location, with several buildings spread out and people having to move from one place to another, or just having to stay inside to stay safe. After a while I decided to not to try Beautifully written with strong characters and excellent insight in the good and not-so-good sides of people. This story about a school shooting, but even more about what happened before that made some people decide to go ahead with it, is not an easy read. I had a bit of trouble getting into the story because of the location, with several buildings spread out and people having to move from one place to another, or just having to stay inside to stay safe. After a while I decided to not to try too hard anymore and I just let the story flow into my mind. The weather is cold, cold in this book and parts of the underlying story are cold as well. You can almost see it evolving and it is hard to put down once everything is really in motion.A great book and I'm happy Netgally and Penguin Books allowed me to read a digital review copy.
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  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    A small school in the middle of a snow storm is under threat. Gunmen have arrived and shot the head teacher. Children are scattered about but why this school and why these children? This was such a gripping read. Beautifully written and heartfelt. I was hooked from the start and paid no attention to anything else going on apart from this book. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Sheri
    January 1, 1970
    Three Hours is incredible. This story of a school under siege is horrifying, terrifying and a true emotional rollercoaster. I read it mostly over the course of a day and evening, and ended feeling completely wrung out. I don’t want to say too much, though, because it’s best discovered for yourself. Cliff Heights School, set amid woodland on the Somerset coast, is the last place you would expect to be terrorised by gunmen over a period of three traumatic hours. We see the story as it unfolds from Three Hours is incredible. This story of a school under siege is horrifying, terrifying and a true emotional rollercoaster. I read it mostly over the course of a day and evening, and ended feeling completely wrung out. I don’t want to say too much, though, because it’s best discovered for yourself. Cliff Heights School, set amid woodland on the Somerset coast, is the last place you would expect to be terrorised by gunmen over a period of three traumatic hours. We see the story as it unfolds from different viewpoints - the wounded headmaster, Matthew Marr, tended by sixth-former Hannah in the library as an armed man stalks the hallway outside; the students and their teacher somehow continuing to rehearse Macbeth in the theatre; Syrian refugee brothers Rafi and Basi (PTSD-suffering Rafi, who knows a bomb when he sees one, is the first to raise the alarm about an explosive in the school grounds); mother Beth, desperately seeking news of her missing son; the police struggling to understand and contain the situation; and most poignant of all (though we see this mainly from others’ viewpoints), the teacher trying to protect and care for her class of seven year olds in the unprotected pottery room.As a snowstorm rages outside, the tension rises to the point where the book becomes both almost unbearable to continue reading and impossible to put down. As hatred and fear do battle with courage and love, it’s impossible to predict how it will end.I don’t want to say more, other than: stunning, harrowing and important book with a timely message. Read it!
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    An immensely powerful, emotional and tense thriller which takes place over a period of just three hours, from various points of view, as gunmen besiege a school on the Somerset coast. 'Harrowing' doesn't do it justice. Nor does 'heart-wrenching'. I actually wept when I finished it, on the bus. That doesn't happen often (probably just as well!). Review to follow closer to the publication date on For Winter Nights.
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  • Michelle Curie
    January 1, 1970
    Oh dear, did I read a different novel to everyone else? I don't want to imply that this isn't a good book, as multiply people before me have felt touched and moved by it, but I personally experienced it as a struggle to make it through. The premise sounded intriguing: the entire novel is told over the course of 180 minutes. During those three hours, a snowed-in school in Somerset is attacked by masked gunmen. The headmaster is wounded, the pupils are held hostage. It's a brave and touchy topic Oh dear, did I read a different novel to everyone else? I don't want to imply that this isn't a good book, as multiply people before me have felt touched and moved by it, but I personally experienced it as a struggle to make it through. The premise sounded intriguing: the entire novel is told over the course of 180 minutes. During those three hours, a snowed-in school in Somerset is attacked by masked gunmen. The headmaster is wounded, the pupils are held hostage. It's a brave and touchy topic to write about, especially considering the stories parallels to many events that have truly happened. The Columbine High School shootings come to mind, which adds an urgency to the narrative. Yes, it's fiction, but you keep reminding yourself that this could be happening for real. Because it has happened before. Lupton writes with sensibility and from a place of compassion. We witness the story from different viewpoints and experience the trauma from all possible angles: we meet the students that are trying to rehearse for their performance of Macbeth, we learn what it is like for the refugee brothers Rafi and Basi from Syria, we see the police trying to get on top of the situation while mother Beth just wants any information on her son she can get. It's tumultuous, full of panic, but underlying it all is compassion. Rosamund Lupton may write about horror, but the message she wants to get across is a positive one. We see what strength it demands from people to survive a harrowing situation like that and we get to read about acts of selflessness and pure bravery. Despite all that, I just couldn't find my way into the story. I can't pinpoint what it was, but I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters, making me feel like I was just reading names on a page (which, obviously, I was, but you get what I mean). Maybe that's similar to how one would live through a situation like that - maybe names and people become blurry, maybe you always feel a bit detached from the horror happening around you, but I don't think it was the author's intention to raise those feelings in the reader. I just didn't feel involved and therefore wasn't able to show any kind of emotional reaction to what I was reading. I was just glad when it ended. An Advanced Reading Copy was provided to me by NetGalley, for which I want to say thank you.
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  • Claire Mawdesley
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!!! I absolutely loved this book. It was beautifully written, heartwrenching, and I was frantic with worry about the kids. This book had my heart in my mouth for the majority of the time, interspersed with moments of immense pride for those brave wonderful children and their teachers.I think the most unsettling part of the book though, is how 'relevant' unfortunately, the story is in these unsettling times.I am now going to get the other books by this author read.LOVED IT!!
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  • Ruthy lavin
    January 1, 1970
    This book left me feeling underwhelmed.As a fan of Rosamund Luptons previous work, I had high hopes, particularly when I heard what the subject matter was. The modern spate of high school massacres is both terrifying and strangely compelling, and I have read quite a bit of literature about it, particularly the event in Columbine.I’ve always believed it would be a topical subject to centre a fictional story around.However, there were too many similarities to Columbine in this book, and references This book left me feeling underwhelmed.As a fan of Rosamund Luptons previous work, I had high hopes, particularly when I heard what the subject matter was. The modern spate of high school massacres is both terrifying and strangely compelling, and I have read quite a bit of literature about it, particularly the event in Columbine.I’ve always believed it would be a topical subject to centre a fictional story around.However, there were too many similarities to Columbine in this book, and references to the real event were mentioned several times. I didn’t feel any affinity with the characters, and I became confused with the constant narrative leaping.I would have loved more originality - a female shooter perhaps?? It left me wanting more.
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  • Vikki Patis
    January 1, 1970
    It's not often that I struggle to find the words to describe a book, and how it made me feel, but here I am, struggling. Rosamund Lupton is a well-known, successful author, so her brilliant writing is not a surprise, but the depth of Three Hours, how it covered everything from white supremacy to Trump to Katie bloody Hopkins, from Macbeth to teenage love to Columbine, is just unreal.I won't attempt to pick this book apart, as I don't feel I could do it justice. Many, if not most, people will It's not often that I struggle to find the words to describe a book, and how it made me feel, but here I am, struggling. Rosamund Lupton is a well-known, successful author, so her brilliant writing is not a surprise, but the depth of Three Hours, how it covered everything from white supremacy to Trump to Katie bloody Hopkins, from Macbeth to teenage love to Columbine, is just unreal.I won't attempt to pick this book apart, as I don't feel I could do it justice. Many, if not most, people will recognise the issues discussed in this book. Brexit has created a broiling pot of racism and hatred and divide. People like Trump and Katie Hopkins and the Daily Mail feed that pot, stirring it and making it go viral on social media. I have no doubt that the shocking headlines used in this book are real. The hopelessness some of the characters feel, Beth Alton in particular, is raw and cutting. The overriding feeling, though, is one of love. Of acceptance, peace, community. When one turns against a particular group within society, one turns against society as a whole. We live in a wonderfully varied society, full of different cultures and religions and traditions, and that is to be celebrated. And there is nothing more powerful than a society united against hate. Thank you to the author for writing such a powerful, poignant book.
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  • Angela Groom
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing book that I was unable to put down. Three hours by Rosamund Lupton was such a gripping read and sadly how relevant it is in the world we live in. The very best in people and the very worst in people. An Intense thriller that takes place in just three hours in a school in the UK with themes of radicalisation and refugees.The school is under siege and the main characters are Rafi and Basi who are Syrian refugee brothers who attend the isolated school that has been part of the community Amazing book that I was unable to put down. Three hours by Rosamund Lupton was such a gripping read and sadly how relevant it is in the world we live in. The very best in people and the very worst in people. An Intense thriller that takes place in just three hours in a school in the UK with themes of radicalisation and refugees.The school is under siege and the main characters are Rafi and Basi who are Syrian refugee brothers who attend the isolated school that has been part of the community since 1920Several buildings with students and teachers are spread out across the campus and their stories unfold with fear growing as the minutes tick by. The book grabs your attention right from the off with the head teacher, Matthew being shot and literally pulled from the gunman into the library. Classrooms of pupils being brave hid behind walls of books as their only secure hiding place, whilst another teacher locks her students in the theatre and tries to rehearse for a forthcoming play to try to retain some sense of normalcy.Anguished parents pray for their children to stay safe many failing to reach their child on his/her mobile phones - another teacher makes the children build a pretend clay house in the pottery room again to distract the infants from the gunman pointing an automatic weapon at the window.Excellent book that tackles lots of issues and has some great characters. At times I found myself holding my breath, sitting upright, biting my nails, and feeling emotionally stirred.A brilliant read. Thank you Net-galley and Penguin books for this ARC in return for a honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Nowadays, all schools have an emergency plan. The teachers who write that plan or discuss protocol will also fervently hope that they will never have to see it in action. In ‘Three Hours’ at a 3 – 18 liberal independent school by the Somerset coast, headmaster Matthew Marr does not only sound the ‘red alarm’ early in the school day; he is also shot and badly wounded at the outset of the novel by one of the terrorists on site.Rosumund Lupton skilfully and quickly introduces us to the central Nowadays, all schools have an emergency plan. The teachers who write that plan or discuss protocol will also fervently hope that they will never have to see it in action. In ‘Three Hours’ at a 3 – 18 liberal independent school by the Somerset coast, headmaster Matthew Marr does not only sound the ‘red alarm’ early in the school day; he is also shot and badly wounded at the outset of the novel by one of the terrorists on site.Rosumund Lupton skilfully and quickly introduces us to the central characters of the novel through the way in which they react to the terrifying situation. Hannah, sixteen-year-old girlfriend of Rumi, a Syrian refugee pupil, begins the stressful task of nursing the wounded Head whilst her boyfriend can only think of how he must rescue his little brother Basi who is a mile away through the woods in the school’s Junior department. Parents gather, the police are informed; specialist units appear and yet, for some time, no one is any the wiser as to who is wreaking such havoc.Many of the children are evacuated but, still, around seventy pupils and staff remain on site trapped either in the Old School, the theatre or the pottery room in the woods whilst the two terrorists – or are there three? – seem unstoppable.The author not only manages to make this story seem horribly possible but, through it, reminds us of the everyday terror suffered by journeying refugees, of the power of the press to incite extremism, and of the extraordinary bravery of people determined to challenge hatred. The perpetrators of the terror are as believable as those trapped in the school. Lupton reminds us of recent US high school massacres through the character of DI Rose Polstein, brought on board for her expertise in this field. This device prompts the reader to recognise that, whilst a work of fiction, ‘Three Hours’ has its roots in reality.Throughout the novel, ‘Macbeth’ is referred to over and over as the pupils in the theatre are rehearsing for a school show. This allows Lupton to use quotations from a play which explores mankind’s motivation for power, for jealousy, for violence, for evil. Whilst school massacres are a relatively new phenomenon, the running references to Shakespeare’s play reminds us that these actions have long been recognised as the darker side of the human condition.A powerful, timely and engrossing read.My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Sid Nuncius
    January 1, 1970
    A lot about Three Hours was excellent. I found it very gripping and well done a lot of the time, but it did have its flaws in the end.This is the story of a school siege by initially unknown gunmen. The school is in an isolated part of north Somerset and it is snowing heavily, giving the story extra atmosphere which Rosamund Lupton does very well. It begins dramatically with the shooting of the headteacher and from there we get several points of view as it unfolds: various students including a A lot about Three Hours was excellent. I found it very gripping and well done a lot of the time, but it did have its flaws in the end.This is the story of a school siege by initially unknown gunmen. The school is in an isolated part of north Somerset and it is snowing heavily, giving the story extra atmosphere which Rosamund Lupton does very well. It begins dramatically with the shooting of the headteacher and from there we get several points of view as it unfolds: various students including a refugee from Syria with PTSD, a parent, a police officer and so on. These are all excellently handled and feel very real so that even filling in the back-stories, a device which can sometimes feel very clumsy and tired, seems natural to the narrative. Lupton also writes very well much of the time; as an example, capturing the intensity of teenage love (before the siege has begun), “A white snowflake landed on a fiery gold strand of her hair and for a moment he saw the beauty of it,” which I thought very evocative and there’s plenty more of a similar quality.For much of its length this was a five-star read for me – gripping, exciting, intelligent and thoughtful. In the last third or so, though, there began to be just a few too many unlikely contrivances for the sake of a tense plot which weakened it for me. Also, there is suddenly some rather heavy-handed political evengelising. I agree entirely with what Lupton is saying and she is making very important points, but it did feel a little clumsy and over-polemical to me.That said, Three Hours is still very good. It is very well researched, I found it hard to put down and Lupton’s thoughtful and sensitive portraits of her characters are excellent. Recommended.(My thanks to Penguin Books for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, just wow! A word of advice, do not read the heart-stopping climax of this book in bed, or like me, you just might spend that night with your heart and brain sleeplessly swirling! I found such an emotional punch in this beautifully written book, full of tender, youthful love, loyalty and incredible courage in counterpoint to the depravity of radicalisation and hate: the very best and worst of human nature. And so relevant to our unsettled times, with the provocative stirring of racial and Wow, just wow! A word of advice, do not read the heart-stopping climax of this book in bed, or like me, you just might spend that night with your heart and brain sleeplessly swirling! I found such an emotional punch in this beautifully written book, full of tender, youthful love, loyalty and incredible courage in counterpoint to the depravity of radicalisation and hate: the very best and worst of human nature. And so relevant to our unsettled times, with the provocative stirring of racial and religious hatred by tweets and newspaper columns written by presidents and politicians, and yet also so historic and deep rooted, that the ongoing rehearsals of Macbeth in the ‘safe’ theatre area of the besieged school serve, with so many appropriate quotations, to underline how far back such prejudice and induced hysteria can be traced. Even the weather has its place in racking up the tension as an increasingly severe snow storm makes rescue ever more implausible. A race against time that had me breathless and truly moved. Very highly recommended.
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  • Karen Mace
    January 1, 1970
    The subject of school shootings is always an emotive one and in this dramatic story, we get to see the horror of an active shooting at a school in the UK play out from the perspective of a variety of characters inside and out of the situation which lends itself nicely to exploring a number of issues - the heroic actions of those trying to save a life, those doing all they can to distract younger children from what is going on outside a classroom door, and the desperation of those on the outside The subject of school shootings is always an emotive one and in this dramatic story, we get to see the horror of an active shooting at a school in the UK play out from the perspective of a variety of characters inside and out of the situation which lends itself nicely to exploring a number of issues - the heroic actions of those trying to save a life, those doing all they can to distract younger children from what is going on outside a classroom door, and the desperation of those on the outside who are trying to figure out who is behind the shooting, and the helplessness felt by the parents as they wait for news.What I liked about this book was the pace of it all - little snapshots of different situations over the three hours that gave you an overview of the scene as it played out. My only gripe was that because those inside the school were doing such a great job of staying calm to distract the children and trying to carry on as normal, it impacted on the tension for me as there were very rarely any moments where I felt they were all in danger, although that did change when it became very edgy as time ticked on and they all began to wonder how they could try and make an escape.The role of social media was also cleverly used throughout the book - the rumours and speculation all played out through the media which added to the panic created especially for those watching on outside just waiting for news. And one of the most powerful things for me was the reaction of one of the mothers' when she finds out her son is one of the shooters - the disbelief and reluctance to think of her 'little boy' as being capable of doing such a thing, which just goes to show that so much can be hidden from those closest to you.A dramatic and enjoyable read!
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  • Saarah Niña
    January 1, 1970
    Three Hours sets courage, bravery and selflessness up against terror. The kind of terror that silences, has you up at night, plagues your nightmares. The kind of terror that makes, and lives in, the news.This could be real.That was my first thought after reading a chapter. I went to a school like the one Three Hours is set in. I loved the theatre at my school. The theatre, in Three Hours, proves to be the only safe haven away from the man with a gun.This could end badly. No one will come out of Three Hours sets courage, bravery and selflessness up against terror. The kind of terror that silences, has you up at night, plagues your nightmares. The kind of terror that makes, and lives in, the news.This could be real.That was my first thought after reading a chapter. I went to a school like the one Three Hours is set in. I loved the theatre at my school. The theatre, in Three Hours, proves to be the only safe haven away from the man with a gun.This could end badly. No one will come out of this alive. Those were my other persistent thoughts. Warning me from what was coming. The odds were stacked too highly against the victims: the students and teachers hiding in classrooms.Aside from that, with the detective's discussion of the psychology of the shooters, the attitudes and thoughts about radicalism interested me. The horrors that no sane person can understand, how does someone become a monster? I liked that the refugee students were contrasted against the radicals. It was true to life: when such attacks happen, communities - thankfully - come out stronger.This was a story that lives and plays out in headlines, globally, 'far-right attacks' 'rise of shootings -schools arrange lock-down protocols' ''Islamophobia' 'racism' 'terrorist immigrants'. It lives in attitudes. Terror breeds terror. The story magnified the horror, but also the good that goes on in spite of it.Rosamund Lupton is incredibly gifted. This is not just unforgettable: it's maddening, in the way that all good books are. How can a class of youngsters go on with their day so easily, performing a play of all things? On a day that could so easily be their last? There was a strength in the characters of the students but a fragility in their youthfulness, their ignorance. I think my heart was in my throat the whole time I was reading this book.We see the horrors intensify from all possible angles- teachers, parents, police, agents, detectives. All seeking to undeerstand before it's too late, before the time is up.Lupton has a knack for drawing out a wide range of emotions right from the get-go. We feel the same. We are taken into the classroom, hiding in the library, performing in the theatre... We are there in spirit. All too real, it's terrifying and terrific.Trigger warnings: Lives threatened, school shootings discussed and contributes to the main plot, PTSD and war flashbacks.I received this book from the publishers, in exchange for honest thoughts. A review was not required. All opinions are mine and completely honest.
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  • Beadyjan
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to love this book but I found it really confusing, in the first few chapters it took ages to work out who was who and where everyone was. The book is set over a very short period just a few hours, in which a lot is going on and that makes it feel a bit rushed and frantic. As the drama of a school under seizure unfolds so do the backstories of some of the pupils and teachers.The tension and terror of the kids held in the school, their teachers trying to cope and do their best for I really wanted to love this book but I found it really confusing, in the first few chapters it took ages to work out who was who and where everyone was. The book is set over a very short period just a few hours, in which a lot is going on and that makes it feel a bit rushed and frantic. As the drama of a school under seizure unfolds so do the backstories of some of the pupils and teachers.The tension and terror of the kids held in the school, their teachers trying to cope and do their best for them and the parents waiting fearfully for it all to end is palpable.This is a very current book with themes of racial hatred, Islamophobia and violence. The subject is well handled but overall for me, there are just too many characters to get my head around in such a short space of time and the writing seemed a little rushed.
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  • Kelly Van Damme
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow on the tour
  • Sonny Side Books
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, wow, wow!!!When I first saw the blurb for this book, I wanted to get my hands on it but I wasnt prepared for the feelings of anxiety I would experience as I read it.This book had me hooked straight away and it felt like I was there. The characters are fantastic, the pace of the book perfect, the story itself was amazing.I loved how the book not only focuses on one theme and plot line of the school shooting, but on the life and experiences of two Syrian refugees. It's a book that is so Wow, wow, wow!!!When I first saw the blurb for this book, I wanted to get my hands on it but I wasnt prepared for the feelings of anxiety I would experience as I read it.This book had me hooked straight away and it felt like I was there. The characters are fantastic, the pace of the book perfect, the story itself was amazing.I loved how the book not only focuses on one theme and plot line of the school shooting, but on the life and experiences of two Syrian refugees. It's a book that is so relevant and eye opening, that because of the subject matter it almost shouldn't be enjoyable but it is. Its heart breakingly sad that none of what you read in this book is far fetched, but it's beautiful to see human compassion, love, faith, trust and friendship matter so much also.I adored this book. An utter triumph.Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK for sending me this book
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  • Sheila
    January 1, 1970
    Good versus evil. The novel had an emotive plot. I think Dunblane in 1996 was the last school shooting in the UK. In the USA I discovered re-Google that there had been eight school shootings this year already with four killed and 17 wounded including two incidents in the past week. I recall the horror of the Columbine massacre, and since Sandy Hook in 2012 140 have died in school shootings. Years ago I read “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult. I couldn’t wait to read this book, but I thought it Good versus evil. The novel had an emotive plot. I think Dunblane in 1996 was the last school shooting in the UK. In the USA I discovered re-Google that there had been eight school shootings this year already with four killed and 17 wounded including two incidents in the past week. I recall the horror of the Columbine massacre, and since Sandy Hook in 2012 140 have died in school shootings. Years ago I read “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult. I couldn’t wait to read this book, but I thought it fell short despite being a fan of this author. Disappointed. A rural English village during a snowstorm. A shot in the wood. I caught myself holding my breath at first, with the tension when suddenly the momentum dipped into tranquillity and life proceeded as if on a normal day. The plot sagged hopelessly at this point. The children seemed calm and unfazed at lockdown despite their Headmaster shot. Nobody is screaming, panicking or hysterical. The children are vaguely uneasy but make models and rehearse for their performance of Macbeth. It hardly seemed credible. Intermittently, there’s the sound of the unknown, ominous footsteps pacing the corridors, which caused a whisper of tension. The snowy weather conditions worsened. As high-profile national news, many factions became involved, and there were some topical issues thrashed out. The plot jumped haphazardly from person to person, group or an official faction of assistance. I found this confusing with the need to backtrack constantly. Nothing vital seemed to happen for ages. A poor advert for mobiles which ran out of charge or unanswered and useless in keeping frantic parents assured. More useful to the perpetrators proving the dangers of technology in the wrong hands. I found it longwinded, slow and with a predictable ending. I didn’t find myself fully connected with any of the characters. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK.
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