Review: Three Hours Late by Nicole Trope


Title: Three Hours Late

Author: Nicole Trope

Published: Allen & Unwin June 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read from May 30 to June 01, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Three Hours Late is the second heart wrenching novel by author Nicole Trope. Having been blown away by her debut, The Boy Under the Table, I had high expectations for this follow up and I wasn’t disappointed.

After Liz hugs her toddler son goodbye and watches him leave with her estranged husband for an access visit, she leans against the door and berates herself for her weaknesses. Despite finding the courage to leave her volatile husband, Liz is still reluctant to let go of the man he can be when not hurling demands, insults and punches at her. Standing there, she resolves to be stronger, when Alex returns Luke at 2 o’clock they will talk and Liz will make sure he understands their marriage is over. But Alex is late and as Liz frantically watches the time pass she begins to wonder just how far Alex will go to punish her.

I read Three Hours Late with a breathless sense of anticipation. From the moment Alex fails to return with Luke on time, the tension is unbearable as the minutes tick by.

It’s with keen insight and compassion that Trope unravels the thought process of an abused woman, laying bare Liz’s battered psyche to reveal the history of her marriage and her confusion and shame about its collapse. Though it may be politically incorrect, I have to admit my sympathy for Liz was tempered by my frustration with many of the choices she makes. Intellectually I understand how the dynamic of domestic violence develops but at the same time it is incomprehensible to me that women allow the cycle to repeat ad nauseum.

Incredibly, I actually developed some sense of empathy for Alex. His background reveals his actions perpetuate the cycle of misogyny and domestic violence that destroyed his own parents marriage. Yet Alex’s breathtaking lack of self awareness is both pitiable and infuriating. I think Trope is brave to give Alex a voice that brings some balance the horror of the situation, it is more comfortable to believe Alex is a monster than simply a troubled man drowning in emotional pain.

The narrative is also shared by members of Liz’s family, members of her domestic violence support group and the police who provide different perspectives on the issues that contribute to and perpetuate domestic violence, and its distressing consequences.

Three Hours Late is a compelling and confronting novel, probing an emotive issue with sensitivity. Though a novel skewed towards an adult audience, I think this should be compulsory reading for mature teens who could benefit enormously from Liz’s hindsight. I found Three Hours Late impossible to put down and I recommend it without hesitation.

Available to Purchase

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paula
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 14:32:42

    Great review Shelleyrae – I read “Broken” and “Sticks & Stones” by Ilsa Evans (another great Aussie female author) a couple of years back and found them to be highly emotional reads. I’m fortunate to never have been in a situation like this and I think it’s something you can’t possibly even try to understand without having been there yourself.



  2. 1girl2manybooks
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 19:14:17

    I cannot wait to read this!



  3. Heidi
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 22:36:32

    Sounds great – will have to put on the ever growing tbr list. =:>))



  4. Teddyree
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 14:25:59

    Great review Shelleyrae, I must, must read this one. Emotional and unputdownable sounds right up my alley!



  5. Trackback: Stuff on Sundays: 50 Books You Can’t Put Down | book'd out
  6. Trackback: Review: The Secrets in Silence by Nicole Trope | book'd out

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