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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  31,676 ratings  ·  2,225 reviews
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most belove...more
Paperback, 582 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Riverhead Trade (first published 2002)
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Jun 10, 2010 karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: michelle and dana
lesbian dickens!

now that i have your attention... dana has been bugging me to write a review of this for the longest time, and now that she is on vacation and out of my path for ten minutes (seriously - the girl moved to my town just so she could stand under my window all night calling "hey!! heyyy!! write a review for fingersmith! come on, you know you want to!!")

every night.

so, now that i have a little breathing room, i will do my best.

it's true, i want her to read this. i want everyone to re...more
Jun 23, 2014 sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of Brilliantly Plotted Historical Novels
Recommended to sckenda by: karen
Sarah Waters gave me a finger fetish. Having long worshiped at the temple of the body of literature, I have never given the muse’s fingers a second thought--until this book. How do I convince you to read this brilliantly plotted novel without revealing any of the plot? The challenge taxes my ability.

After her mother is hanged by the Crown, Sue is raised by “fingersmiths” (thieves, pickpockets and fences) in the back alleys of Victorian London. Sue conspires with “Gentleman” to bilk an heiress, n...more
This totally wonderful novel does exactly what the title says, it fingers your myth, it steals up on your soul and breathes down its neck and a shudder of pleasure is felt to the ends of all your extremities, your brain will wobble, your hair will vibrate strongly, and your eyebrows will be thrust up and down like energetic trampolining children as the intricate-clockmaker plot fastens your eyes ravenously to every page - draw the curtains, do not charge the mobile phone, tell your friends you h...more
Lisa O.
I have to admit that throughout almost all of Fingersmith the main random thoughts sweeping across the desolate land of my mind were along the lines of: WTF? WHAT? WHAT DID JUST HAPPEN?

This is an intricate, ambitious, original, jaw-dropping, gut-punching, heart-wrenching plot for which I will NOT give you a synopsis. First, because I wouldn't know where to start from and second because it's better for you if you know NOTHING about it. Then you'll have my same random thoughts, as stated above.

Oct 21, 2011 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: Tommy Tomato
Shelves: booker, 1001, historical, 2011
As seen on The Readventurer

Fingersmith packs quite a few twists and surprises.

At first, after reading the book's plot summary, I expected it to be a rompish, Les Liaisons Dangereuses-like adventure. 17-year old Susan Trinder, a foster kid in a family of fingersmiths (thieves), is recruited to act as a lady's maid to equally young and wealthy Maud Lilly. Susan's role in the devious scheme is to gently push this naive and simple-minded girl into the arms of Mr. Rivers, strip Ms. Lilly of her inher...more
A friend knocked on my door one evening and I answered, looking disheveled and I think a bit frightened. She asked me what was wrong, if she had interrupted something. I said no, that I had just been reading Fingersmith and I was really stressed out because now I had to leave the house and didn't know what was going to happen next. And that is basically how this book took over my life (in a good way).

Sue is an orphan who lives in London in a house of petty thieves. A con man known as Gentleman c...more
This book is like the most filling and nutritional junk food meal I’ve ever eaten. It has so many of the hallmarks of fluffy escapist literature: breathless action, turns of fate that are positively Dickensian, romance, family drama worthy of daytime television…not to mention an ending that I would probably accuse of being “too neat” in any other novel. But here…the emotions and characters just feel so heartbreakingly honest and real. Not to mention, any ending that harkens to one of my favorite...more
Amanda Clay
While not as sexy as Tipping the Velvet, this book is a gripping read. I envy any reader their first trip through the story, because you will never guess what's going on or what's going to happen next. Perfectly plotted, brilliantly realized. Unfortunately, Sarah Waters' most recent book is rather a snore, and in her next book she's promised to abandon writing about lesbian characters all together ('cause the world of heterosexuality isn't yet well-documented. Sorry to be so bitter, but it makes...more
Wendy Darling
A superbly written novel, full of great twists and turns. You may be able to guess some of what's going on, but the author will still surprise you with daring prose and unexpected red herrings. If you've never read the author before (as I had not) I'd recommend not reading ANY reviews about the book, not even the Amazon general description. The book jacket and this should whet your appetite enough. Trust in the author to do the rest.
Mar 11, 2009 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like unexpected plot twists, Victorian & Gothic elements
Shelves: favorites
If you've read the reviews for this book below, then you know that this book is on almost everyone's "favorite" list, and for good reason. This is my #1 favorite book (a tie to Jane Eyre, which is certainly hard to beat). I read this novel several years ago and have since loaned out 3 copies to friends only to never get them back. I am, in fact, due for another copy -- because I must have one of my own on the shelves!

Essentially, Fingersmith is everything I could possibly want in a novel. The na...more
I had high expectations of this: firstly, the one other book I've read by the author - The Little Stranger - is one of my absolute favourites, and secondly, I'd heard/read endless positive reviews of Fingersmith prior to reading it. It's the latter point that spurred me on to finally get round to it, as the plot didn't pique my interest in the same way The Little Stranger's post-war psuedo-ghost-story did. Fingersmith is set in Victorian England, and tells the tale of two teenage girls - both ap...more
Jun 19, 2007 Adam rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like lesbian sex
Boring. Just boring. Painfully painfully boring. Are you willing to slough through 592 pages of wanna-be Victorian writing for a couple of plot twists and lesbian sex scenes?

Half the damn book was Waters narrating in excruciating detail who blushed when. Or, as she puts it, whose "face coloured" when. Note the 'u' in colored. That means that it's a classy British book and not at all a bland excuse to foist a little bit of bean-fiddling on those who are too repressed to admit that that's what the...more
"There are always novels that you envy people for not yet having read, for the pleasure they still have to come. Well, this is one. Long, dark, twisted and satisfying, it’s a fabulous piece of writing…and unforgettable experience.” Julie Myerson, Guardian

Fingersmith was my choice for book club (2008). As always, I deliberated endlessly over what to choose and wanted to pick something off my ‘to read’ shelf. Despite the book’s length, reviews had promised a page-turner and they were right.

Character is a fascinating thing, and not many authors can top Waters' ability to create character through dialogue. She also zooms in on details: the sound of a man rubbing his fingers along his unshaved chin, the pop from a fireplace that comes at just the appropriate moment--Waters can do it all. She's able to take point-of-view to a new level-- look over here, now here, now here. It's amazing.

Almost everything about this book is perfection. I love the zipper effect of the first two books be...more
DJ TweakyClean
WOW! This book is so damn good! It is one of those great books that I couldn't put down, because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but I found myself stopping to admire the writing as well. It has a rich Dickensian style, both in language and plot. The big difference being that this is a Dickensian tale of Victorian London, through the modern eyes of a feminist and lesbian. It deconstructs the darker aspects of literary England in that period, and tells the tale of two young women,...more
Krok Zero
I dunno, guys. This is...not trashier, but shallower than I expected. It is basically a bloated Elmore Leonard caper novel in Victorian clothing, with a feminist POV and a deceptively dour tone. It's not bad at all, but I was expecting something meatier. The length isn't really justified, either; after a dynamite first act it gets seriously draggy in the remaining two thirds. OTOH, the period milieu is totally convincing and the dialogue is great. But I wouldn't give this more than a shrugging h...more
Emily May
This is a Victorian murder mystery with a lesbian romance. You will probably love it, but even if you don't, it's highly unlikely you will have read anything else quite like it.
What to say about this book? Nothing, except that you must read this book if you are a big fan of gothic plot with plenty of twisted events during the narrative.

So far, this is my favorite book written by Sarah Waters.

A TV series was made based on this book: Fingersmith (2005– )


Sally Hawkins as Sue Trinder
Elaine Cassidy as Maud Lilly
Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Sucksby
Rupert Evans as Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers
Charles Dance as Uncle Lilly
David Troughton as Mr. Ibbs
Bronson Webb as John Vroom

Loved it. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much I did, after reading the first few chapters I was sure I was going to hate it, I found them utterly boring and was on the verge of quitting. Thankfully, I persevered and eventually found myself engrossed in the twisty plot, the cunning characters, and the grim setting.

-What's what: Victorian London. Dual POV (Sue and Maud). LGBT. Sue (orphan/thief/fingersmith) agrees to help Richard Rivers seduce and marry Maud, an orphan/heiress who lives...more
It's the full five stars for this wonderful novel that catches elements of Dickens and strands of the gothic tradition, weaves them together with varying viewpoints and counter-opinions, throws in a lesbian subplot (of course, it is Sarah Waters writing) and ultimately serves up one of the very best novels I have ever read.

It lost out to Life Of Pi for the Booker Prize, and such is the quality of Fingersmith, that Life Of Pi has jumped up my reading list. If it's better than this... well... we s...more
Part 1 = Amazing. Part 2 and 3 = Is this book over yet?!
Gloria Mundi
This book is fantastic. It has that rare combination of gorgeously rich language and a complex engaging plot full to the brim of diabolical schemes, villains, thieves, madhouses, violence, lesbians, murder, love, betrayal and the kind of twists that will make your head spin.

It is a story of two girls, Sue and Maud, whose destinies are indelibly linked, though layer upon layer upon layer of deceit will need to be stripped away before it is revealed exactly what that link is.

Sue has been brought...more
A den of thieves, a creepy manse, evil masters, damsels in distress, evil machinations by an evil mastermind. You will never guess who. In fact, you'll never guess what will happen until it happens. It's Dickensian with Gothic overtones. 19th century London? It must be Dickensian, and some of it is. Orphaned children trained in all of the arts of swindling and living in the thiefmaster's house, that's Dickens. So is the child, raised as a thief but is later found out to be the child of a highbor...more
I'm a bit surprised at just how many positive reviews Fingersmith has recieved here. Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed reading it. I didn't have to push myself to get through any part of the novel. But, I felt like the first plot twist was so completely out-of-the-blue that I was actually angry at Waters for it. The rest seemed to flow more smoothly, almost to the point of predicability, had I given myself time to predict before finishing the book.
I also felt like the characters were more flat than...more
Mirah W
Considering the number of very praiseworthy reviews I was surprised to find myself pretty bored with this book. There are three one and three by one character (Sue), part two by another (Maud). Part 1 was pretty interesting...the plot develops, plans are hatched, and the relationships between characters develop. But, most of Part 2 is just Part 1 all over again but from a different perspective. I was so bored by the repetitiveness. There was some new information, but not enough in...more
Well this was really disappointing. It would probably have gotten three stars if I hadn't heard so many good things about it before I started reading, but it let me down so much I can't bear to give it more than two. People keep saying this is like Dickens - but it now seems obvious to me those people say it simply because they haven't read other Victorian novelists, the only things this and Dickens have in common is the setting and the slightly ridiculous plot - although, by and large, Dickens...more
It's hard to see this book as primarily a work of historical fiction when everybody considers Sarah Waters to be a lesbian writer. Have to confess, I have a tendency to turn my nose up at books that are toted as "modern feminist writing" or whatever, which is bad of me. Never judge a book by its cover, etc. But I remembered reading a few passages from it in a seminar, early in the spring semester, and wanting to see how it fit into a longer novel. Also, Sarah Waters is Welsh, which helps.

I don't...more
I read The Little Stranger last year and was left feeling rather cold. I had massively high expectations from the book and although it was fantastically written and definitely grasped my attention and held it until the end, I was unsatisfied with the ending and a few sections of the book left me a bit bewildered.

When I vocalised this, quite a few people told me to read Fingersmith and other works, and not to give up! I am SO glad I did because this is the first 5* I have given a book on here!

This was a lot of fun. And a lot of frustration.

The good: thieves in Victorian London! Deception, treachery, betrayal, swindling, stealing, and M. Night Shyamalan twists (which were both good and bad, but mostly good here). Roguish villains, wicked ladies, and a hot f/f relationship. Take your pick. All of that was entertaining as hell.

The not-so-good: the pacing was just way, way too slow. Endless, redundant details and internal dialogue composed of things like "Oh! Maud!" and "Oh! Susan! Oh, h...more
Sarah Waters is a genius. A twisty, little genius. She has this ability to lead you along a story, where you are all comfortable with how it's going, and how it got there. But then she completely spins you around without warning. Everything you relied on is wrong, and yet makes complete sense just like the story you believed in the first place. And you feel so goddamn stupid that you never, ever saw it coming. But it's okay, you'll pay attention now, you've worked out her ruse. Then BAM! She doe...more
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Sarah Waters is a British novelist. She is best known for her first novel, Tipping the Velvet, as well the novels that followed, including Affinity, Fingersmith, and The Night Watch.

Waters attended university, earning degrees in English literature. Before writing novels Waters worked as an academic, earning a doctorate and teaching. Waters went directly from her doctoral thesis to her first novel....more
More about Sarah Waters...
Tipping the Velvet The Little Stranger Affinity The Night Watch The Paying Guests

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“We have a name for your disease. We call it a hyper-aesthetic one. You have been encouraged to over-indulge yourself in literature; and have inflamed your organs of fancy.” 87 likes
“It's a curious, wanting thing.” 50 likes
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