House of Correction by Nicci French

She’s a murderer.

Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees – why else would his dead body be found in her shed?
So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial.

Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn’t fit in then, and she doesn’t fit in now.

That day is such a blur, she can’t remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important… She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder.

And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself.
So she must fight. Against the odds.

For her life.

Beautifully written about prejudice, loneliness and fighting spirit, this new book by Nicci French is shocking, twisty and utterly compelling.

I’m always excited when a new Nicci French hits the shelves so reading House of Correction was a must for me! I’ve long been a fan and although I did love the Frieda Klein series, I do prefer the standalone books that this husband and wife writing team put out there. To be honest when I first started reading House of Correction, I was a little underwhelmed as I hadn’t been expecting most of the “action” to be taking place in a woman’s prison (yes I know the title should have given me a clue…and the blurb!) but although the scenes set in the prison were slow moving, it was essential to the plot. It gave Tabitha that thinking space to work through what had happened leading up to her incarceration and to start investigating herself why she has been accused of murdering Stuart Rees, the neighbour found dead in her shed. So although a slow burner, it is really worth staying with Tabitha so that you get the most out of the pay off towards the end when the courtroom scenes bring everything together and we start to understand exactly what Tabitha had gone through up to that moment.

I will warn you that you probably won’t like Tabitha!! She’s difficult to take to because she doesn’t really give you much to work with! How can she not remember what happened the day of the murder? Why had she gone back to a place she hated and then not made any effort to become part of the community? She does herself no favours with the people she comes into contact with in her hometown, the prison and especially in the courtroom as she fights for her freedom against the murder charge against her. But I DID like her!! She was a product of her upbringing and her environment but I loved her honest approach and loyalty to those who deserved it. Are lonely people really lonely or are they just…alone? There is a difference and it’s wrong to assume either one without really knowing the background to anyone’s lifestyle choices. I became quite attached to Tabitha and found myself understanding her far more than I had expected to considering her determination to drive everyone away.

I loved this book and it stayed with me much longer than I had thought it would. I became quite emotionally attached to it and the themes of loneliness and identity affected me deeply. It’s beautifully crafted and expertly plotted so as to keep the reader engaged even when the slow burning plot takes its time delivering that payoff. Definitely one of my favourite books of 2020.

Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing partnership of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The couple are married and live in Suffolk. There are eleven other bestselling novels by Nicci French: The Memory Game, The Safe House, Killing Me Softly, Beneath the Skin, The Red Room, Land of the Living, Secret Smile, Catch Me When I Fall, Losing You, Until It’s Over and What To Do When Someone Dies.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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