The Dissent of Annie Lang

Narrated by Joanna Ruiz
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Pub Date 4 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 3 Nov 2021

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"My story starts and ends at railway stations, though of course I can’t know this yet as I clamber off the boat-train at Victoria that warm May afternoon…"

Growing up in a strict religious family in the 1920s, Annie Lang is witness to disturbing events that no one will explain. Only the family dog may know the answers.

Six years on, student Annie returns from France to find her beloved brother in a mental hospital and her ally, the Sunday school teacher, vanished without trace. With the help of her childhood diary, and sister Beatrice, Annie turns detective to unearth the truth.

Her journey leads to a discovery so disturbing that she believes it will ruin all their lives, unless they can atone for the past.

Ros Franey beautifully captures that point when a child can sense, and indeed dissent against, secrets that adults think they are too young to grasp. Impulsive, brave and lovable, Annie Lang is formidable when she takes matters into her own hands.

"My story starts and ends at railway stations, though of course I can’t know this yet as I clamber off the boat-train at Victoria that warm May afternoon…"

Growing up in a strict religious family in...

A Note From the Publisher

Author Bio: Ros Franey grew up in Nottingham where this book is set. She is a maker of award-winning documentaries. Two films about the Guildford 4 and the book she co-authored, Timebomb, contributed to the quashing of their case.

This is her second novel; her first, Cry Baby, received excellent reviews. She lives in Camden, North London.

Author Bio: Ros Franey grew up in Nottingham where this book is set. She is a maker of award-winning documentaries. Two films about the Guildford 4 and the book she co-authored, Timebomb, contributed...

Advance Praise

"The stamp of real talent and a writer who has a genuine feel for her craft" - The Times

"The stamp of real talent and a writer who has a genuine feel for her craft" - The Times

Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9788728024690
PRICE £10.99 (GBP)
DURATION 9 Hours, 7 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 47 members

Featured Reviews

Things are definitely not how they seem! Annie narrates her childhood and interactions with her new religious strict step-mother, but oh what a twist comes when searching for what happened to Miss Blessing.

This dark tale really shows the repression on women and how punishment happens for not following the rules. Parts of this book broke my heart, especially the psychiatric hospital, but Annie's strong will to put things right showed through.

The first half of the book started real slow and was a bit monotonous, but once the mystery took hold I was hooked. I read the audiobook version and the narrator was engaging enough to help get thought to the faster paced part.

This book is dark and covers a lot of difficult topics and does it well!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this Audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

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Picked this up as an easy listen and I'm so glad I did. I finished the book in 2 days and wanted it to continue on!
Annie is quite precocious and I found myself grinning as she went about her day with her cheeky thoughts. But more than the enjoyment of listening to this audio book was the life lesson that Annie, her sister Beatrice, and her brother, Fred teach us. I will say that my emotions were on a roller coaster and I was quite perturbed. I wanted to jump into the book and help Annie get through a few of her predicaments.
The book did slow down a bit 2/3 of the way through but it was such a great tale that I continued on and was glad I did.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the free download of this wonderful audio-book.

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"The Dissent of Annie Lang" was an interesting read because it ended up so different from what I expected.

I really enjoyed the protagonist and thought she was quite relatable in her actions and feelings, especially since the rest of her family was just awful and manipulative most of the time.

The ending felt a little rushed and there was a plot strand left untied by the end, but overall I really enjoyed this book and I think the audiobook narrator did a great job making the characters come to life.

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In 1920s Nottingham, the Lang family are a pillar of their religious community. So young Annie believes, until a series of unexplained events occur.

Annie Lang is a wide-eyed, plucky and charming companion through this engaging book. At times, the reader will chuckle at the protagonist’s naivety, but as the mystery darkens, we really care for her and those she tries to help.

All the characters are well developed, and the dialogue is pitch perfect.

Franey writes with confidence, foreshadowing to heighten tension, and skilfully dropping hints which pass Annie by.

The audio edition is well produced, and narrator Joanna Ruiz captures the individual characters perfectly.

My thanks to NetGalley and Saga Egmont Audio for the audio ARC.

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Thank you Net Galley for an audio ARC of The Dissent of Annie Lang by Ros Franey. This audiobook was very entertaining, the narrator did a fabulous job with it. I thought the build up was too long, but I liked it anyway. She captured the heart of a child beautifully.

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With thanks to NetGalley for a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Oo this was a great listen. It’s quite an emotional read but really very addictive and very hard to stop listening to. I could often be found sneaking away to a quiet corner to listen to just a few more minutes! Set in the early 20th century and spanning a number of decades, it is beautifully read with a perfectly set northern accent. We hear the story from the point of view of a young Annie Lang, told across a number of important periods of her life. The narration of the childhood Annie is spot on, not too annoying but with just the right amount of intonation that you would expect from a young child. The plot line explores ministerial church at the turn of the century and paints a fairly bleak but probably fair picture. I really feel for Annie and her companions of the time, what a tense environment they lived in. Sometimes I did feel her view point was a little forward for her generation but that doesn’t detract from the story. All in all a great story, told very well in audio format and perfect for all historical fiction fans.

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The Dissent of Annie Lang by Ros Franey, narrated by Joanna Ruiz

Right away, due to the excellent narration by Joanna Ruiz, I felt like I knew Annie Lang. Creative, precocious, smart, inquisitive, persistent, impulsive, and loyal, Annie Lang gives the impression of having been fueled by too much sugar and caffeine, such is her energy level, running thoughts and worries. She has so much to say that she can't get the words out fast enough, all the while having to restrain herself constantly because of the obvious displeasure of adults around her. Is it a wonder she bubbles over after an hour, day, week of trying to act the way that is expected of her?

Much of Annie's early life is clouded in mystery because she was too young to be told what was happening. Who is to blame her for wanting to know why her mother died when Annie was six? And who is to blame her for feeling like she has to hide her very self under covers because her new step mother seems to hate her with a vengeance? Annie tries so hard to not displease but she's always in trouble for saying and doing things that shouldn't even be considered wrong unless you belong to The Mission faith.

The family belongs to a very strict religious group that was founded by Annie's grandfather. What better way for her witch of a step mother to lord all things over her than to use the bible to browbeat and punish Annie. Yes, Annie may be rambunctious and curious but her step mother would like to stamp the life out of Annie, it seems. Step mother may have been able to keep Annie quiet (mostly) but she wasn't make Annie forget all what she saw and heard. Once Annie is able to go away to school, she is able to come home at sixteen and break through the barriers her step mother put in place, to find out some very dark secrets.

This story has a very slow buildup to the action at the end. The sense of repression is so real and strong, not just from the church and the step mother but also from the asylum where Annie's mad brother Fred has been sent. And Annie's sister Bea has changed. Once Bea was determined to be a missionary working in a needy country but now she seems to have lost that zeal. Both Fred and Bea know things they won't reveal to Annie and Annie is determined to find out those things.

Despite having questions about some things that happened in the past, I thought the ending fits this story so well. The psychological drama that infused this historical fiction had me on the edge of my seat. It's not a thriller and it's not fast moving but I wanted to know what had happened in the past and what was happening in the present, as much as Annie did. The story has us right inside of Annie's head, I never doubted this girl, and I was always on her side.

Thank you to Saga Egmont Audio and NetGalley for this ARC.

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Fantastic narrating in this layered novel. You become more & more invested in Annie’s life & quest as the story progresses & the author keeps you on the edge of your seat till the final page. Well worth investing the time to listen to.

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I enjoyed this and went into it having no idea what it was about. Annie herself tells this from a past and present narrative and she was a delightful. She was sweet and honest to a fault. The author held me in suspense while I tried to figure out why girls had gone missing.
I felt like the novel was about religion and the limitations of women during this time. I wonder if the author had a bad experience with the church or maybe people in authority?
It was well done and I highly recommend listening to this one. I chose to listen to this book on audio and loved Joanna Ruiz narrating this one. It’s 9 hours and 7 minutes long.
Thanks Saga Egmont Audio via Netgalley.

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The Dissent of Annie Lang was a fascinating visit to the interbellum years outside of London. Who is Annie Lang, and from what does she dissent? Interestingly, though Annie Lang is a fictional character living a century ago, raised in a Pentecostal type Christian sect, she’s not all that unlike many young people, especially women, brought up in conservative environments currently flourishing everywhere. Rules are strict, questions are muted, and pondering apparent contradictions gets you nowhere but in trouble. The story bounces back and forth between 1926 and 1932, and listening to the audio, I found the time jumps at times disconcerting, especially since the “older” Annie, who supposedly has been away from her family studying in France for a semester, sometimes seems no more astute than her younger self. Good doesn’t literally triumph over evil in this sensitively conveyed tale; the book ends in a draw, with both sides more or less acknowledging each other and agreeing to stand-down, at least for the time being. All of this sounds rather sterile, but I liked Annie. I came to care for her sister and her brother and the friend Annie wants so desperately to help, and even though I thought the ending a trifle abrupt, I believe the characters will stay in my mind for a while.

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I loved this audiobook, and I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it. As it went on, I loved it more and more and I really liked Annie, the main character of the story. Annie is such a sweet soul, but she has a hard life. The story is told from the olden days, and life then was much different to how it is now, so sometimes it was hard to read about the type of things that Annie had to endure. I was quite surprised at what happened with her father, but I liked the way Annie handled it at the end! She is so strong and powerful and I just loved her! I highly recommend this book, as the narrator was great, the story was great and the characters were well portrayed, even if some of them were annoying. The book made me appreciate my life more and all the luxuries that myself and my family have, as well as us all having each other. Interesting and fantastic book!

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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A well executed dual timeline historical fiction with a dash of mystery.

We meet Annie Lang as a young woman just returned home to the UK from an extended stay in France. Upon her return she learns that her brother has been put into an asylum for undisclosed mental health issues and her former beloved Sunday school teacher has disappeared without a trace. Annie is suspicious of the claims her family makes and wants to get to the heart of the matter. In the course of her fact-finding mission, other family secrets emerge, leading to some unexpected turns.

The second timeline shows Annie's diary entries as a young child who loses her mother and then has to contend with a cold and oppressive stepmother who only sees her flaws. Growing up in a strict religious community, she is brought up to believe in the doctrines of her church, but struggles with her faith due to her mother's early death. This leads her to question other narratives her family tells and facilitates her development into an independent, slightly headstrong girl that tries hard to fulfill her own wishes within the confines of her position.

The characters are well drawn, if a bit stereotypical at times (looking at you, evil stepmother), the voice of Annie well realised, both as a child and a young woman. I enjoyed watching her grow into an independent thinker that keeps her own council.
The novel explores ideas of morality, faith, sexual abuse and the inherent misogyny that governs the ways society judges victims over perpetrators, a theme unfortunately still very timely, even though here it is explored within the 1920s in a religious community.

I listened to this on audio, and the narrator Joanna Ruiz deftly inhabits Annie at both ages with nuanced changes to her tone and inflections that distinguish between child and young woman.

Thanks to Saga Egmont Audio and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The dissent of Annie Lang - Ros Franey

I loved the narrator and narrative respectively. This lady’s voice reminded me very much of Victoria Wood and so I was imaging the story being told by her.

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I’m not usually keen on stories where the narrative point is from a child. There are exceptions and The Dissent of Annie Lang is one. The narration is superb, with Joanna Ruiz capturing the flat Midland accent and the story is clearly set in and around Nottingham. The sense of location is strong and, for me, added to the detail making it even more immersive.

The pace is even throughout. It’s a slow burn of a tale as the listener is introduced to life in and members of Annie’s family. She’s shrewd, perceptive and humorous. She sees through many adult guile’s and in her own way, makes fools of some. Her father is widowed and suddenly a member of a religious sect becomes the stepmother from hell. She’s unkind, controlling and life is very different. Annie’s brother Fred is unwell and her sister Beatrice changes as secrets begging to emerge.

This isn’t dramatic, but there are moments where it’s intense and certainly Annie is a strongly drawn character with whom it’s easy to have empathy. Ros Frances succeeds in creating an emotional connection by the way she writes and overall, I really enjoyed this.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley

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After the death of her mother, Annie struggles to find her place as the youngest child in a very strict and religious family. When Annie’s beloved Sunday school teacher goes missing, she starts to dig around. With both religious and historical constraints Annie dangerously begins to uncover disturbing things.
This book was a slow burn and did take a bit to get going but it was very enjoyable.
**huge thanks to NetGalley for the ARC

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In a Nutshell: An interesting slow-burn historical lit-fic with a strong heroine, dark themes, and a multitude of points to ponder upon.

1920s Nottingham. Annie Lang is the youngest child of a strict religious family. Her grandfather is the founding patriarch of a rigid Christian sect. After her mother’s death, Annie finds herself saddled with a father who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care, and a stepmother who is draconian in her religious beliefs. She finds herself witness to many confusing and disturbing events, but she’s too young to understand exactly what’s happening.
Six years on, when she returns from France, she finds that her dear elder brother is locked away in a mental asylum and her loving Sunday school teacher, who was also her friend, has vanished without a trace. Using her childhood diary and her elder sister Beatrice, Annie becomes determined to discover the truth.
The story comes to us in the first person perspective of Annie over multiple timelines, with the present part of the story being set in 1932.

There are multiple Annie Langs in the book and each of them dissents in their own way, whether major or minor. But the title mainly refers to the narrator of the story, little Annie who seems to mature before our very eyes. Annie’s story begins and ends at a train station. And in between these two points is revealed her journey of self-realisation and gutsiness. Most of the remaining characters pale in comparison to this eponymous heroine. She is outspoken, curious, courageous, impusive, loyal, and determined. She also knows when to toe the line and when to speak her mind. Annie’s dissent isn’t necessarily bombastic; many times, her rebellion is subtle and passes unnoticed by everyone except us readers. I love a character who knows how to pick her battles because usually, we get stuck with female characters who are doormats for most of the story, or with those who are aggressive about every single thing. There’s no in-between.
This book provides an interesting glimpse into the religious repression of female voices and the predominant patriarchy in most sects that is never questioned. It’s a dark narrative even when voiced from a child’s perspective, and contains many hard-hitting themes throughout. I appreciate how the story questioned why men escape unscathed from scandal and gossip while women are castigated for the same offence. Such two-faced behaviour of religious zealots is hardly ever questioned in real life. It was hence gratifying to see it in writing.
I usually keep the genre and target age group of a book in mind to see if the book does justice to its intended readers’ expectations. But for this startling story, it is tough to categorise the genre; it has shades of psychological drama, mystery thriller, literary fiction, historical fiction, religious fiction, and bildungsroman. But whichever way I look at it, I find myself a mostly satisfied reader. Many might find the pace of the story slow, especially in the first half. But a literary fiction is usually as a slow-burn, and the content raised enough curiosity in me to persevere even through the unhurried tempo. (The fact that I heard this and didn’t read it helped a lot.)
There are some unanswered questions about the past events. And these are primarily because we hear of the past and present only through young Annie’s voice. So whatever she doesn’t know, we don’t know. While this makes writing sense, it leaves readers dissatisfied and wanting to learn more about what happened. I would have loved to get to know more about some of the other characters. I would also have loved to know what happened after the last scene. Then again, the title does tell us that the story is about the dissent of Annie Lang. And it reveals to us only whatever she is aware of. And it stops at her final act of dissent.
All in all, I enjoyed this book tremendously, even though it left me with almost as many questions as answers. Recommended mainly to lit-fic or psychological-historical fiction fans.

The audiobook clocks at a little more than 9 hrs and is narrated by Joanna Ruiz. And what a brilliant narration it was! Whether Annie was 8 or 16 or 24, her voice was portrayed with a timbre suitable to that age. Joanna brought the titular character to life in a way that never leaves you in doubt about her feelings. Of course, there are two timelines to follow in the book. So if you get confused easily between audio timelines, it might suit you to read it than listen to it. But keeping in mind the fabulous narration and the slower pace of the story, I would certainly recommend the audio version as a better choice for this book.

My thanks to Saga Egmont Audio and NetGalley for the ALC of “The Dissent of Annie Lang”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the audiobook.

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I really enjoyed The Dissent of Annie Lang. It was a bit of a slow burn at first but just the right amount of tension throughout. I think the book really struck a chord with me as the storyline was something which really could have happened in earlier times, and really is quite shocking. This was the audio version, the narrator did a wonderful job in capturing Annie’s spirit.

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I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem of a novel. Coming of age stories are one of my favorite books and this was no exception. I loved Annie, the main character! The story follows Annie through several timelines and when listening to it, I really needed to pay attention because it could be a little confusing. My only criticism of the novel was that Annie was pretty naive, even as an adult and it seemed a little unrealistic, but I loved and sympathized with Annie, so I forgave her for it. The narrator of this audiobook, Joanna Ruiz, was amazing! I never listened to a book that she narrated before, so it was a pleasant surprise. She was able to bring Annie alive as both a child and young adult. If my mind drifted at the beginning of a chapter and I missed the timeline date, I could often tell by the small changes in her voice and inflections between the young Annie and the adult Annie. I will certainly be on the lookout for this narrator and the author for other works.

Thank you to NetGalley and Saga Egmon Audio for an Arc of this audiobook.

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