Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton – ARC Review

Title: Three Hours

Author: Rosamund Lupton

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Viking, Penguin Books

Publication Date: 9th January 2020

Rating: 5/5



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 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.


I read and enjoyed a book by Rosamund Lupton years ago so I jumped at the chance to read Three Hours and I’m so grateful I did because it is incredible. Poignant, emotional, honest and heart-stoppingly intense. The book covers three hours whilst a school in  England is under attack by armed assailants. There is the added aspect of a blizzard taking place at the same time which poses an additional challenge for the police trying to rescue the children.

The structure of Three Hours works beautifully. We jump between several different characters experiencing the siege in real time. This allows us to absorb different perspectives of the same events in a way that feels so immediate and intense. I felt like I was holding my breath for the entire duration of the book, like I was there with the students and teachers going through what I imagine must be one of the most terrifying ordeals a person can experience.

What I thought was especially phenomenal about Three Hours is that it showed that some people seem to possess an innate strength and bravery, but more than that, it demonstrated the less obvious and more subtle courage a person can have under extreme circumstances. This story exposes the darkness human beings are capable of and the ways vulnerable people can be indoctrinated which is of vital importance to understand more about in these troubled times. However, Three Hours also highlights that there is ultimately more goodness in the world, more love than hate, which is something I think it is important to realise because it leaves us with hope rather than despair. Three Hours is a stunningly good read which will hit readers like a punch to the gut but also inspire strength and appreciation for the lengths people will go to to protect the ones they love. Cannot recommend enough.


I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion. 


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