Rosamund Lupton deftly explores the roles played by social media and the press in such a situation, sometimes with palpable anger, and throws in a few chilling twists, but this novel’s greatest strength is its moving depiction of the anguishes of parenthood and the wild possibilities of first love.
Three Hours intersperses scenes of breath-sucking tension with stirring meditations on human nature. It’s no coincidence that Rafi smuggled a dog-eared copy of Macbeth out of Syria, or that this “play about raw evil” happens to be what the drama students are rehearsing when the theatre goes into lockdown. But the message Lupton’s novel delivers is that only love can save us. “Love is the most powerful thing there is,” the headmaster tells Hannah, “the only thing that really matters.” Love is commemorated in all its forms: romantic, brotherly, maternal, familial, but most of all the bonds of friendship and community that make it possible for one person to lay down their own life for another.