Eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning's account of her abduction and escape, garners her instant attention and sympathy. She becomes a media darling, and in the furore that follows her accusing Susannah Wells, a middle-aged teacher and newcomer to the area, of her incarceration, the media can't get enough of the story. But is it possible that the truth could end up being a casualty as much as Ellie was?
Loosely based on the 18th century English Canning affair, this clever Australian thriller with its convincing characters and astute depiction of small-town dynamics, calls attention to the manipulation of public opinion in the age of the social media 'influencer'.
There was a mixed reaction to 'An Accusation'. Some found it 'a great read'. Others were less impressed. All agreed that the characters were believable and the plot complex, clever and well-written. A shocking crime was revealed. Some details were disturbing to at least one of our Group. The notes were useful and appreciated.
We had a good discussion about trial by social media, and the various parallels that are happening in N.Z. at the moment. Overall, however, we thought it was quite a simplistic book, and a little formulaic in terms of its plot...
"Light read" - rather a weak ending, but enjoyed by all group members.
Fascinating and thought provoking. Animated discussion.
Small group today - mixed opinions on book. Most of us felt there were too many holes in the story. After the calibre of the other books we have read over the last two years, this was disappointing.
The book was an easy read and enjoyed by all. It includes many disturbing human traits eg. jealousy, envy, greed and dishonesty. We felt that the story depicted modern concerns of the effects of social media, online commenting and opinion which is often destructive and misleading.
The characters are very well portrayed. We were all very sympathetic towards the two victims right from the beginning. The small-town dynamics were excellently reproduced. The short chapters kept the reader captured. A great read.
Generally enjoyed with scores 4 to 4.5. Unpeeling of layers and interesting characters. A good book for our times. With scary reminders of social media, fake news etc. Court of public opinion stuff sobering.
Opinions varied on this book. Some found it predictable, others enjoyed it.
Most of the group thought that the book was slow to start but once the pace picked up it was a gripping read. The characterization was convincing and the twists and turns of the plot were deftly knitted together. We were interested to note the book was based on a true story adapted to a modern Australian setting.
This was a well crafted book and we felt it was well researched - when we were made aware of the historical event. Strong characterisations of very interesting characters, and the plot had surprises which kept us interested. We recommend this book.
We all thought it was a worthwhile read, and although many may not have chosen it personally we are glad it was on our list. Great discussion and all thought there were many twists and turns to it, so it kept us guessing as to who was at fault!
Some felt the book a bit 'contrived' but all really enjoyed it. A light and pacey read which generated good discussion.
All but one of our group enjoyed this book. One thought it a bit 'dark'.
Very enjoyable, easy read. Entertaining if not particularly memorable. We would like more books of this kind!
A very interesting book with links to the Canning affair. Enjoyed by all our members and a very good discussion.
This book instigated a long and thoughtful discussion on fake news and its distribution. This included peoples' perception of 'facts', and how it is getting harder today to sometimes know what to believe. Also the effect of the media sensationalising events. A good evening!
Most of us enjoyed this book but found the storyline a bit far fetched in places. Still a good story - didn't pick the ending.
Easy read, not enjoyed by all but an interesting discussion.
This book was quite a change from those we have been reading lately and this was welcomed. However it was not universally enjoyed. The link with the English court case was cause for much discussion.
Lively discussion. A page turner, and an interesting look at social media.
Mixed opinions. Most felt this book did not engender the quality of discussion that most of our reads generally do. No one commented on the writing - most felt it a little 'limited'. Some felt that the characters were well developed enough.
Good book. Some of us predicted the story finale early on, but a good read for all.
Some of us really enjoyed it, others really didn't. Those that did thought it was an easy read, others thought the characters were terrible. A real mixed bag!
Half of us liked it and the other half had reservations, from memory!! We thought it started out well and had a very quick and therefore not so believable finish. We all liked the mother character, although none of us wanted to be in her daughter's shoes re caring for her. Everyone read the book, and the discussion was lively and brought up the damage that can be done via social media and the local interpretation and dishing out of punishment was also talked about. We Googled the original story which was interesting to everyone.
Easy read, but a bit shallow.
Plot a bit weak. A light quick read.
All 10 of us read it. Nine enjoyed it, and rated it 4 or 4.5. Comments related to it being a quick, pacey and easy read, with well developed characters. One member didn't like it, and found it unconvincing and shallow. We talked about the original case (1750s), and the Josephine Tey interpretation (1940s).The 2020s version led us to a discussion of the impact of social media. We also thought the character of Ellie Canning was shown to have talent and opportunity in spite of her difficult upbringing, and thus avoided the issue of 'victim shaming'.
An interesting read - some of us picked the ending, some didn't see it coming. The 'mother' character was quirky. The realities of how manipulative people can be, and how an accusation can easily destroy people's lives in the court of public opinion is a little scary.
An enjoyable read. Easy to pick up and difficult to put down.