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Fingersmith

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  68,017 ratings  ·  4,976 reviews
Librarian Note: Alternate cover edition for ISBN 9781860498831

Growing up as a foster child among a family of thieves, orphan Sue Trinder hopes to pay back that kindness by playing a key role in a swindle scheme devised by their leader, Gentleman, who is planning to con a fortune out of the naive Maud Lilly, but Sue's growing pity for their helpless victim could destroy the
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Paperback, 549 pages
Published 2005 by Virago Press (first published October 1st 2002)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  68,017 ratings  ·  4,976 reviews


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karen
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Paul Bryant
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Violet wells
This novel, for me all pastiche, pasteboard and mirrors, really irritated me principally because I could have read two good novels in the time it took me to wade through it.

For a start it’s way too long. It’s not like Waters is serving up any profound insights into human nature or casting her eye over a wide panorama of human life. It’s essentially a novel that traffics in pastiche (plagiarism?) and is built on two startling plot twists (and as such tailor made for the screen). Waters overwrite
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Emily May
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Steve
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pigeons and pearls. Perceptions and palpability. I’d explain in detail, but that would spoil all the fun. Instead, as elliptically as I can, I’ll hint at their relevance with vague allusions. Sue was an orphan in Victorian London, raised among thieves. Despite the fact that in the hierarchy of larceny her lot were never more than petite bourgeoisie, Sue’s existence was not as Dickensian as it might have been. Baby farmer Mrs. Sucksby seemed to take a particular shine to Sue, and more or less rai ...more
Adina
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems that Fingersmith is one of those books that people want to read but are not doing it for some reason. I say this because I have 30 friends that added the title on their TBR shelf. I was also one of them as I've bought the paperback two years ago and I only convinced myself to read it now. I do not regret finally taking the plunge and I recommend my friends to go ahead and do the same because it is worth it. If the size is a deterrent than I can tell you that it does not feel like a 500+ ...more
Cecily
A tricky book to review, partly because it didn't live up to my (possibly unfairly high) hopes and partly because I'm trying to write shorter, punchier reviews, but this was almost 600 pages long. I have failed...

Great Expectations

Waters is an award-winning historical novelist, who specialises in the Victorian period (and lesbian protagonists). This book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and her PhD thesis even covers a key subject of this book.

I was expecting something l
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Linda
Holy Crackers! What a read! I felt like Alice falling down the Rabbit Hole. This story has more twists and turns than a shopping cart caught in the wind in a Walmart parking lot. When you commit to this one, please know that it is heavy lifting at almost 600 pages. Some parts are easily predictable, while other parts leave you smarting from the surprise attack.

Many others have done an excellent job in relaying the plot design here. I won't go into that aside from saying that Sarah Waters has an
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Limonessa
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
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.

I'
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Candise
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Rosh
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wondrously-rendered, gloriously languid 19th century roman noir! Using imagery that springs to mind so vividly one would think it a memory, Sarah Waters has fashioned a glorious work of fiction.

Fair maidens and dastardly villains; country estate and insane asylum; den of thieves and literary purists; murder and mayhem in Victorian London; Sarah Waters manages to blend it all and produce one whale of a story that had me gulping it ravenously into the night, coming up for air only when it
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Tatiana
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Tommy Tomato
Shelves: historical, booker, 2011, 1001
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
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Madeline
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
“I have some knowledge of the time that may be misspent, clinging to fictions and supposing them truths.”

Sue Trinder is an orphan living a Dickensian-like life in 19th century London - her mother was hanged as a murderer when Sue was a baby, leaving Sue to be raised by Mrs. Sucksby in a "baby farm" in the slums of London. Sue grows up surrounded by thieves and pickpockets ("fingersmiths"), learning to counterfeit coins and commit petty crimes, and then one day she's offered a chance at a much bi
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Britany
My oh my- take me back to the beginning of the century! This book was simply delightful and hard to set down.

Susan Trinder is orphaned into a home for thieves, pickpockets if you will, AKA fingersmiths! She is raised poor and learns to steal, cheat, and lie her way through life with her pals- Mr Ibbs (an olden day pawn shop owner), Gentlemen, and of course who could forget Mrs. Sucksby? The mama bear of the house. Susan turns 17 and Gentlemen has come up with the con to end all cons-- taking ad
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Wendy Darling
Reread December 2016 after seeing THE HANDMAIDEN.

-------------

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 http://orangeprizeproject.blogspot.co... should whet your appetite en
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lov2laf
If you like being tortured or sit on pins and needles for an entire read, and by entire read I mean THE ENTIRE READ from the first line to the very last, then this is the book for you. And, damn, this thing is nearly 600 pages or 23 hrs if you're listening to the audiobook.

On the final line of the last page I felt like I emerged from a bunker since sinister doom was around the corner at every turn.

What saves it, though, is that the book is brilliant and well-crafted. The prose is rich, every cha
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✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Part I of the book and its Oh My Bloody Shrimping Twist of Flabbergastation (OMBSToF™) were pretty fishing cool. I mean, Victorian mystery + thieves and cons + lesbian heroines + um, you know, that, um, twist =



Yes, thisdoes mean I almost nearly enjoyed the beginning of the story.

Part II was pretty good at first, but then it all started getting somewhat sort of moderately boring after Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler (not the character’s real name) did spoiler spoiler spoiler and ended up being spoiler
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Hugh
This was my first experience of reading Waters - I had been deterred by having seen some of the rather silly TV adaptation of Tipping the Velvet, but when this was chosen as a group read by the 21st Century Literature group I thought I should give it a chance.

Waters has clearly steeped herself in Victorian literature, and on one level this is a classic Victorian potboiler full of outlandish plot twists, coloured by the kind of period detail familiar from the likes of Dickens and Hardy.

The plot
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Daniella
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Part 1 = Amazing. Part 2 and 3 = Is this book over yet?!
Helene Jeppesen
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars.
I don't like to use this word but this book was definitely a "mind-fuck". I went into it not knowing much about it other than that Sarah Waters has written it, a lot of people have recommended it and I had previously read "Tipping the Velvet" by Sarah Waters, so I wanted to read more by her.
I LOVE that I didn't know what was coming because that made the reading experience so much more intense. I was in awe at several points in the book and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out
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Adam
Jun 19, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Catie
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
Jo (A follower of wizards)
I do love a bit of Sarah Waters, and I'm pretty sad that this book has ended. Despite the fact that this book consists of over 500 pages, I can say, that it certainly doesn't feel like a slog when reading it. For me, reading Fingersmith, was like unwrapping a gift, but you have absolutely no idea what is actually inside. I had guessed what the novel was based on, hence the title, but it was so much more than that.

I just love the fact the book is set in Victorian England. Novels set in this era r
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Elaine
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: like-it-like-it
I am always a little scared of books that have been nominated for The Booker Prize or the Orange Prize because I always feel that they are books that I “should” read and enjoy but worry that they are going to be too “intellectual” for me and way over my head, so it was with some trepidation that I picked up this book and yet, when it comes down to brass tacks, I absolutely loved this read and feel quite bereft now that I have got to the end of it.

Set in mid 19th century London and its surroundi
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Margitte
The novel is a three part tale, written as a postmodern feminist rendition of a Victorian melodrama in its Gothic, Dickensian(Oliver Twist) splendor, with ample touches of the decadent extravagance of the Greek gods Priapus and Venus, as well as the somewhat toned-down values of Brontë and Poe. Greed, treachery, love, and moral ambiguities splashes the otherwise all too familiar theme of Gothic terror, intrigue and madness with some unique plot points and introduces an alternative version of lov ...more
Ellen Gail
'Be careful I don't grow tired of this scheme. I shan't be kind to you, then.'
'And is this kindness?' I say.
We have moved, at last, into shadow, and I see his look: it is honest, amused, amazed. He says: 'This is dreadful villainy...When did I ever call it anything else?'


Five stars! All those plot twists had me like:



An excellent choice of a buddy-read with Chloe, who loved it as much as me!

Dreamy and surprising, lush and tense, Fingersmith is everything a historical mystery should be. I went i
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Chrissie
ETA: No, this damn book IS worth four stars. I woke up early this morning worrying about my rating! Here is why I must give it four stars: I came to care deeply for three people: Susan, Maud and Mrs. Sucksby. Wait till you find out who exactly the last one is! They moved from being cardboard evil characters to people I felt compassion for. Yes all three of them. And look at all the other good things I have listed below!


***************************

By the book's end I was extremely impressed! By w
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Amanda Clay
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert Vanneste
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a reread so yes I liked this book . I haven't read all of Sarah Waters books but Fingersmith is my favorite of Affinity , Tipping The Velvet and The Little Stranger . It is easy to become immersed in the story and Waters is very descriptive . An easy read .
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5,702 followers
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.
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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.” 142 likes
“I felt that thread that had come between us, tugging, tugging at my heart - so hard, it hurt me. A hundred times I almost rose, almost went in to her; a hundred times I thought, Go to her! Why are you waiting? Go back to her side! But every time, I thought of what would happen if I did. I knew that I couldn't lie beside her, without wanting to touch her. I couldn't have felt her breath upon my mouth, without wanting to kiss her. And I couldn't have kissed her, without wanting to save her.” 98 likes
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