REVIEW: HOUSE OF CORRECTION, BY NICCI FRENCH

Tabitha is not a murderer.

When a body is discovered in Okeham, England, Tabitha is shocked to find herself being placed in handcuffs. It must be a mistake. She’d only recently moved back to her childhood hometown, not even getting a chance to reacquaint herself with the neighbors. How could she possibly be a murder suspect?

She knows she’s not.

As Tabitha is shepherded through the system, her entire life is picked apart and scrutinized —her history of depression and medications, her decision to move back to a town she supposedly hated . . . and of course, her past relationship with the victim, her former teacher. But most unsettling, Tabitha’s own memories of that day are a complete blur.

She thinks she’s not.

From the isolation of the correctional facility, Tabitha dissects every piece of evidence, every testimony she can get her hands on, matching them against her own recollections. But as dark, long-buried memories from her childhood come to light, Tabitha begins to question if she knows what kind of person she is after all. The world is convinced she’s a killer. Tabitha needs to prove them all wrong.

But what if she’s only lying to herself?

As House of Correction opens, we meet our protagonist, Tabitha Hardy, a young woman who is on remand in prison for the murder of a man who some might describe as her abuser. But Tabitha is not quite sure she would label him that way. Their relationship was complicated, and because she was very young when they had this connection, she is not exactly sure of how to define it.

But in some ways, these complications make her more culpable in the murder.

Tabitha decides almost immediately to represent herself in court. We watch her as she tries to sort through the events of the day in question, taking notes and making her own deductions about what has happened. But what, if anything, has she failed to remember?

I liked Tabitha and found myself rooting for her, even though I suspected that she might not be as innocent as she claims to be.

What will we discover as the trial progresses, and what further secrets might be revealed? I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. An enticing read that earned 4.5 stars.

***

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