Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.
Three Hours is a beautifully written, relevant and intense read that perfectly sums up the problems facing communities in England today. Set in a Somerset school and addressing important issues (which I won’t list here as it may give away some important parts of the plot), this book feels so incredibly relevant and, because of this, utterly terrifying.
Rosamund Lupton captures the fear, desperation and intensity of a mass school shotting perfectly – from both the kids trapped inside and the parents anxiously awaiting news outside. We see a very realistic depiction of how parents might start to blame certain groups of people, out of sheer panic and worry, and this really demonstrates the way that high pressure situations can affect people – especially when children are involved.
The plot is tense and gripping without being over-dramatic. We follow parents, kids and the police as they try to ensure the pupils and teachers are safe, understanding their dedication to trying to help them and stop the evil that is threatening all of their lives. The references to two of the pupil’s previous experiences living in war-torn Aleppo really struck home for me and made me feel incredibly emotional. I loved the way this highlights further the awful refugee crisis that seems to be getting a lot less airtime nowadays, but which is still such an issue and affecting so many people.
I’ve read a few other books by Rosamund Lupton and really enjoyed them, so I was thrilled that Three Hours entranced me so much too – it’s definitely a highly recommended read which will leave you thinking about it long after you’ve finished the last page.
Many thanks to Viking Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and inviting me onto the blog tour.