A quieter book than Toibin's acclaimed The Master, with the polar opposite of Henry James as the lead character--an exasperatingly passive young womanA quieter book than Toibin's acclaimed The Master, with the polar opposite of Henry James as the lead character--an exasperatingly passive young woman named Eilis, who dreams of nothing more than a steady bookkeeping job. I liked it more than that description might suggest--it's beautifully written, and I liked Eilis even though I did want to shake her sometimes. But very slight. It's a little like a lesser Alice Munro story writ large. ...more
**spoiler alert** It's no Fingersmith. Let's get that out of the way right away, because that's Sarah Waters's best-known and probably best-loved book**spoiler alert** It's no Fingersmith. Let's get that out of the way right away, because that's Sarah Waters's best-known and probably best-loved book (I actually prefer Affinity, but I'm weird that way).
Having said that, if you've liked and enjoyed Sarah Waters's books before, I think you will like this one. I loved it. It's a little slow getting started--the vaunted ghost doesn't appear until about a third of the way through the book--but it's very absorbing and I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. I thought Waters did a great job creating a creepy atmosphere--I thought her descriptions of the house, which is almost a character itself, were particularly well-done--and I thought Caroline and Faraday were quite well-characterized. The characterization of Faraday has to be quite subtle, because the book is framed as a story he's telling about other people, and I really admired the skill with which Waters handled this.
I've seen some complaints that the book isn't creepy enough, but I thought it was extremely creepy--maybe because I was reading it late at night with only a lamp for light--but it was creepy enough that it invaded my dreams last night. And the last chapter! I don't want to be too spoilery, but the last few paragraphs made me want to reread and reevaluate the events of the rest of the book.
I don't think it's as twisty as Fingersmith, and I still think the story of Affinity was more original. But I still really liked this book and would highly recommend it....more