Three Hours

I think we have all collectively held our breath across the globe when we have heard of an active shooter situation at a school. It’s truly terrifying to think of this learning environment that’s meant to be safe and fun invaded in this way, and as parents we have felt our hearts go out to those students who have survived these attacks and mourned with those communities who have lost children or teachers in this horrific way.

Three Hours is an intimate telling of a school under siege from shooters. It gives us a detailed account of how the shocking events unfold, not only from the point of view of the students and teachers trapped inside the school, but also by showing us insight into the thoughts of the shooter, the behind the scenes workings of the police and security agencies and, perhaps most devastating, the feelings of the mom of one of the shooters.

As the story played out and I met the characters I was transfixed; first the injured principal being cared for by a courageous teenager barricaded in the library with a few peers, then the brave refugee who sets out to save his traumatized younger brother, a teacher determined to keep her students occupied with rehearsing a school play despite what’s taking place elsewhere in the school, a police psychologist tasked with helping to identify the gunman and a mom wondering where she went wrong and why she didn’t spot the warning signs.

The siege lasts three hours, and you will feel every minute of those three hours as if you were there. Ticking by slowly for those trapped, some blissfully unaware even of the danger faced, while racing faster for those trying to unravel the mystery and save the students and teachers. I couldn’t put Three Hours down until I had found out how it ends, and when I read the last page I breathed out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is available from bookstores and online retailers for a recommended retail price of R320.

Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing this riveting read with me.

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