Cover Image: Three Hours

Three Hours

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Member Reviews

This was a really  great read, enjoyed it thoroughly, great storyline and loads of twists and turns , highly recommend this book x
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Now I'm not entirely sure how to rate this book.
I had seen all the 5 star reviews and how hyped up this book had been and after reading the blurb I was immediately interested in reading it.
Some things really worked for me and a few things detracted from my overall enjoyment and final thoughts on the book.
Realising that it is set in the UK and not the US, as you might expect, was a brilliant idea and on the whole Three Hours is really well written.
This book had me gripped and much of it felt like it could easily take place in real life. It definitely feels relevant to what is going on in the world right now and it is particularly immersive for the reader.
Basi and Rafi will no doubt be the two characters who have the biggest impacts on the reader and everything about them from the way in which they interact with others, to their back stories, to the characterisation in general, was incredibly well done.
There are a lot of different characters to keep track of, particularly peripheral characters and those that we don't find out a great deal about, compared to others. So that can take a bit of getting used to.
There were also several bits of literal word for word repetition where I started to wonder if I'd accidentally jumped back a few pages and that definitely took away from the story for me.
Having just read those lines, it actually began to annoy me a bit seeing the exact same words/lines a few pages later.
I was happy with how it ended but the way in which the gunmen were dealt with at the end was so quick that you could almost blink and miss it, which was a little frustrating given how much we have invested in what is going on by the end.
That said, I would certainly be interested in reading more from this author and I would still recommend reading Three Hours..
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Lupton’s Three Hours is one of those wonderful things: a tense, compelling and atmospheric thriller that’s also literary. It’s superbly well written and well plotted, psychologically insightful and very moving.

The story unfolds over three hours as two gunmen hold an isolated school under siege, in a wood, on a bitingly cold morning. We follow the action through the perspectives of various students, teachers, police and parents. With groups of students and teachers taking cover in different classrooms and buildings, a snowstorm reducing visibility to arms-length, and with the possibility of a third gunman lurking, police cannot rush in. Instead, they stay in close contact with the teachers and students — while learning as much as possible about who the shooters are and what’s motivated the attack — as they plan a tactical intervention.

The novel tackles a range of serious themes, from racism, islamophobia and radicalization, to mental health, love and courage. It addresses the role of right-wing politicians and the media in fueling intolerance. At times it is very painful to read, especially regarding the plight of refugees. I think some of the images from the novel will stay in my head for a long time.

The kindness of teenagers
This is balanced by the uplifting and beautiful courage of many of the students (and teachers). Anne Enright recently wrote in The Guardian, “Disaster brings out the best in children.” She was writing about how her teenagers have behaved during the pandemic, but I happened across the article while reading Three Hours and the parallels were inescapable.

"I did not expect the communality our teenagers began to make at home. The young people started, not to do the dishes, certainly, but to entertain, distract and reassure. They tried, more or less, to make things better for the people around them.… Teenagers get a bad press because, like toddlers, they don’t want to do what they are told. Not enough is said about how kind they are – usually to each other – how unguarded in their affections and hopes. […]Teenagers can be cynical or anxious, they can be wry, but they also have natural belief in a better world, they are wired for ardency. In another kind of global disaster, this is the age group that marches off to war. And it makes me very fierce to think what the world does with this readiness, this idealism, over time." (Source: Anne Enright in The Guardian, 13 June 2020)

What is terrifying and heart-breaking is that it is this very readiness and idealism that are abused by the adults who radicalize young people.

I’d warmly recommend this novel to anyone, but it would be particularly good for book groups. And I’d strongly recommend it for teenagers, even though it’s not a YA novel.
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Scarily realistic and utterly compelling.

A quiet snowy morning descends into terror as a school is under siege by two gun men. The much loved and respected headteacher has been shot, his teenage students working desperately to keep him alive. Younger children cower under desks. A refugee who thought he'd left bombs and guns behind him tries to save both his girlfriend and little brother. On the outside parents and police wait. All wondering who is doing this and why...and when will they make their move.

Masterfully written, this kept me on the edge of my seat. The story unfolds slowly but kept me engaged throughout. As well as been a great book for adults I'd recommend it for YA readers as well.
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What an incredible read. Three hours is not very long when you are going about your normal day to day life but in this book as the tension and fear builds it seems like a lifetime. Good and evil, prejudice and hate battle with love and acceptance. Who will triumph? Who will win? I would recommend this as a must read.
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A very powerful and moving story. I think it is a must for all young adult readers re the dangers of complacency and the very real threat of extremism. I raced through this all best not quite in 3 hours

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review
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This is a book that I knew I'd enjoy, even though I generally am not one to enjoy hyped books. Mostly, it's due to Lupton's command of her narrative -- the school shooting story is one that's been done to no end, but she wrote it with such depth that it was enjoyable to sit through.

There's so much description through minimal writing which makes the story very atmospheric. There was a scary moment where it clicked for me that this book was set in a school in England rather than in the US where you would expect it. The whole book shares this idea that you think you'd be prepared, yet when the moment arrives, your fight or flight instincts kick in. The parents proved that fear can bring out your worst (honest) opinions regarding race, religion and misogyny. It was definitely an insightful novel.

A couple of things made Three Hours a little difficult to read. Firstly, there were quite a lot of characters spread out across quite a few different buildings so it was difficult at times to keep track of who was where and what they were doing. I also found that the book got a little slow around the 50%-75% mark, almost a little repetitive. I felt like I knew the logistics and just wanted to get to the ending, so it fell a little flat there. Nonetheless, it was generally a fast-paced and tense book.

Basi and Rafi's relationship was quite possibly my favourite thing about this book -- I'm sure that applies to most readers! Basi's wellbeing was the main thing I could think about the entire time while reading and the use of their relationship to explore a PTSD narrative was done really well. I was highly stressed by the ending; that was the moment where my heart was racing most and I needed answers. So, overall, Lupton did an amazing job with Three Hours and I'd definitely read more of her work!

Trigger warnings: school shooting, refugees seeking asylum, mental health, disbelief of mental health, PTSD, racism/Islamophobia, radicalisation, terrorism, gun violence, hostage situation, mention of rape fantasies.

Thank you to Netgalley, Rosamund Lupton and Viking Books for providing me with an e-copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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'Three Hours' by Rosamund Lupton uses multiple perspectives to tell the story of a siege taking place in a liberal school near the coast. As the story unfolds it becomes clear why the gun men are there, and what they hope to achieve, but the focus is on the reactions of the children, teachers, police, and parents all brought together to try to prevent this atrocity.

For me, this book deserves far more attention and plaudits than it has yet achieved. Lupton has clearly spent a lot of time researching this topic, as well as contemporary issues that might influence events. It is emotionally wrought, and at times a hard read (sometimes I wondered why I was doing it to myself), but very rewarding. The use of multiple perspectives is a brilliant device and allows for lots of twists and turns in the story telling. It could easily be on a literary novel shelf, as well as among the thrillers.
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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A school under siege, a police psychologist trying to find out who is behind it all before it's too late. With the story told from the viewpoint of the students and teachers holed up inside the school, wondering whether they are living out their last hours, and also from the psychologist, under pressure to create an accurate profile to find out who the culprit is still lurking around the school grounds, this is a tense thriller which keeps you reading right to the end.
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Quick read but a gripping story. This author has a talent for keeping your attention throughout. It is a harrowing story but touched in parts with love and hope.
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A shot headmaster and a school held hostage by unknown gunmen.
The story is told from multiple POVs from teachers, pupils, parents and police over a 3 hour time frame and had me holding my breath all the way through.
The book explores love, hate, loyalty, radicalisation, white supremacy and the plight of refugees. 
Rosamund Lupton brings all the characters to life, especially brothers Rafi and Basi. Their back story about fleeing Aleppo as refugees was thought provoking and brought me to tears. 
I could not read this book quick enough and highly recommend it to all.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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In short, ’Three Hours’ is the story of a rural Somerset school under siege from multiple gunmen. It’s told from the point of view of the staff, pupils and parents over a three hour period. 

I hate to say it… I didn’t love this one! My expectations were high before starting because I’d seen multiple five star reviews, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to the hype for me.

I love that the story was told from multiple points of view, and the style of writing changed subtly depending on who was talking. However, I thought there was perhaps one too many perspectives. For instance, I think it would have been better to read about ONE pupil’s experience, rather than multiple. I also think the opportunity to hear from the gunmen’s point of view was wasted. 

I think aspects of the story were totally unrealistic… There’s multiple gunmen in the school grounds, and the teachers encourage the children to carry on rehearsing the school play? I guess you can argue that it’s a distraction, but I think if I was in a life-threatening situation like this, I would be hiding and keeping as silent as possible. 

Finally, I thought the ending was predictable and a bit of an anti-climax! 

‘Three Hours’ tackles incredibly relevant subject matters including terrorism, radicalisation and even the refugee crisis. However, I don’t think it will be a book that I’ll still be thinking about a year from now.
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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.
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Three hours is an incredibly compelling and intelligent tense thriller that kept me hooked from the start. I have no hesitation in giving it five stars and would give it six if I could. 
The novel takes place on a snowy day in a school in Somerset where a number of gunmen have occupied the building. How many gunmen are there and what is their motive for attacking the school?
The story moves in small sections across the different groups of people affected by the incident in the three hour timeframe. The psychologist trying to understand the gunmen’s motive, the IT expert trying to break into their computer and groups of children in different parts of the school. Two of the children, Rafi and Basi, are Syrian refugees who have escaped a war zone and made a treacherous journey to end up in England. The author builds up the tension to an almost unbearable level.

The school is a microcosm of our England and captures the problems we face with intolerance sometimes encouraged by far right politicians and misleading newspaper stories. 

A brilliant novel, elegant in its prose and strong in its message of love, friendship and community to overcome hate and intolerance. A great thriller, but really it’s much more than that. Highly recommended.
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Wow wow wow, I could sing the high praises of this book for ever. Such a tightly knit story, taking place over the three hours that a school is being held under siege by masked gunmen. Opening with a bullet, and moving between different key characters, Three Hours doesn't waste a word. It feels so current and now, and unfortunately all too likely to be real. If you like your crime thrillers to keep you on the edge of your seat, desperate to turn the page but nervous to find out what's going to happen - this is it. It deserves all of the praise that I have seen being heaped on it, go and read it!
Thank you so much for giving me the chance to read it
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A progressive rural school with refugee pupils is taken hostage by student gunmen, full of hate. 
Drawing on tragedies such as the Columbine massacre and the wider societal anti-Muslim rhetoric, Lupton turns a lens on how this happened and the bravery of a school that fights back.
Although the focus is narrow - the three hours as the events unfold - the pace is fast and the characters distinctive and compelling.
They include the loving headmaster, Muslim refugee brothers, and the school drama group whose performance of Macbeth is a compelling backdrop to the tragedy unfolding.
Lupton focuses on hope, bravery and redemption as much as hate.
Thoroughly recommended: fast-paced, raw and full of emotion.
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Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is an intense, nail-biting thriller, one which I could not put down until I leafed through the last page.

In rural Somerset, in the middle of a blizzard, a school is under siege. As the title suggests, the book renders a blow-by-blow account of those harrowing three hours from the perspectives of the people at the heart of it.

From the injured headmaster, to the teenage students frightened and angry at this onslaught on themselves, to the courageous teacher who is doing her best to protect the toddlers under her charge, to the sixteen-year-old Syrian refugee boy determined to protect his little brother from being terrorized in peaceful England, to the anguished parents waiting for some news of their trapped children with bated breath, and finally to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen and figure out a way to stop them, Three Hours presents the point of view of each and every player, barring the gunmen themselves. Their psyche, instead, is pieced together by sifting through the trail of evidence they leave behind. As a result, I had a complete picture of how the events unfolded.

Each voice is remarkably distinct. I had no difficulty in distinguishing between the characters.

Notably, the narrative is not linear. It jumps back and forth between the start of the siege and the middle of the siege. Sometimes, it goes even backward giving us a glimpse of an important event that set the things in motion. However, the transition between the timelines is seamless. 

The book is fast-paced and maintains the same momentum till the last page. Further, it is vividly descriptive. I could see the action unfolding before my eyes and feel the children's fear.

Despite being fast-paced, Three Hours poignantly lays bare the fractures in the society that have emerged because of the arrival of the Muslim refugees. Even during the siege, in absence of any concrete information, some of the anxious parents immediately suspect the Syrian brothers as the orchestrators. 

Although the book is set in England, this could easily happen anywhere in the world since the intolerance towards the refugees (and their difficulty in acclimatizing with the culture of their host country) is being seen all across the world. 

Lupton kept me spellbound. The book is rich in imagery but does not contain any fluffy words. Consequently, I finished the book in a day. I had no choice. I could not focus on any other task until I knew the children were safe. Speaking of safety, at 93% (Kindle version) my heart lurched into my mouth. You need to read the book to know why.

To conclude, Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is a brilliant thriller taut with suspense, brimming with action, and peopled with relatable characters.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC via Netgalley.
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Unfortunately, I have not been able to read and review this book.

After losing and replacing my broken Kindle and getting a new phone I was unable to download the title again for review as it was no longer available on Netgalley. 

I’m really sorry about this and hope that it won’t affect you allowing me to read and review your titles in the future.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. 
Natalie.
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Having read the author’s other books I thought I would enjoy this one and I was not disappointed. What a scary and compelling story. 
It was so believable and the characters well portrayed 
I finished it in one day 
Thanks to Netgalley for a digital copy of this book
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