Young Sue Trinder, a denizen of back-alley 1860's London, considers herself most fortunate, raised by the likes of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer" who oversees a dilapidated house of "fingersmiths" (pickpockets) and assorted petty criminals. After all, hasn't Mrs. Sucksby raised Sue as if she were her own daughter? So when Gentleman, a dapper con-artist, appears in the damp and murky kitchen of the house on Lant Street requesting Sue's assistance in a swindle with great potential, who can refuse?
Mrs. Sucksby appreciates this opportunity for Sue to make her fortune (half of which will go to Mrs. Sucksby) and seventeen-year-old Sue agrees with a heavy heart, reluctant to leave the only security she's ever known. After rigorous practice as a "lady's maid", Sue leaves London with Gentleman bound for the quiet countryside, well-rehearsed for her entry into polite society. Her assignment is to please Gentleman's "mark", the heiress Miss Maud Lilly, and gain her confidence.
As with Water's previous novel, AFFINITY, the reader settles willingly upon a spider web as skillful and innovative as any this author has written. Everything seems obvious on the surface, and yet nothing is ever as it first appears. With a firm grip, Waters draws her readers into unimaginable situations, through frightful experiences and harrowing ordeals, only to surface inside-out at the turn of a page. The original shock is delivered at the beginning of the second half of the novel, but from then on, beware. Peopled with villainous "gentlemen", cruel servants and warped intentions, this is a dangerous world, to be navigated with utmost caution, ready to scream bloody murder. And only Sarah Waters can deliver you safely. Luan Gaines.
Back in the days when I treated myself regularly from the Quality Paperback Book Club monthly mailings, I got Sarah Waters' Fingersmith for my shelves - and it's one of my all-time favorites. The word inevitably used to describe this book is "Dickensian," and for good reason. Set among a gang of London pickpockets, or "fingersmiths," characters like Gentleman the society thief and Mrs. Sucksby the baby farmer bring to mind Oliver Twist, … more
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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