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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  97,241 ratings  ·  6,322 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.

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ebook, 592 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Riverhead Books
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Julie I would not say it lightens up. If anything, it gets a bit more twisted. But you're definitely at the most upsetting part in terms of how people treat…moreI would not say it lightens up. If anything, it gets a bit more twisted. But you're definitely at the most upsetting part in terms of how people treat each-other physically....(less)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  97,241 ratings  ·  6,322 reviews

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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
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
Paul Bryant
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
Emily May
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, historical
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. ...more
This book is so unexpected and I love it.

Fingersmith is a Victorian heist novel. But the heist is just the tip of the iceberg. Sue Trinder is a fingersmith—a thief, drawn into a complex plot to steal the immense fortune of a girl named Maud. A mysterious man called simply Gentleman plans to marry Maud, lock her up, and run off with the money. Sue is to act as her new maid. But everyone is being played. Their plot goes awry. And then the story really picks up, subtle clues building to a shatterin
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a remarkably compelling and atmospheric gothic tale , A real treat for lovers of this genre or for readers who enjoy well written historical fiction with vivid and interesting characters and an errie sense of time and place. This is what 5 Stars books are made of for me.

I loved this book and can’t believe I hadn’t read this one until now but boy was it worth waiting for. Such a page turner and those twists and turns really kept me on my toes from start to finish. I picked this one up
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
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
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
Helene Jeppesen
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.

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
Giorgia ~ Reads
3.5 stars

I’ve been reading this book for a long time.

I suppose that starting sentence is not the best way to advertise it but it was long and wordy and it dragged sometimes. My main complaint is that there was a lot of repetition. At some point we have a different perspective to the same plot and it could have been good but after awhile it just read a bit tedious. It wasn’t done badly but I suppose it’s just one of those things where I subjectively would have preferred a different approach.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Kate Quinn
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book will probably make my year-end Top 10 list. A taut, atmospheric thriller with more twists and turns than a Whitechapel alley, plunging into the seamy underbelly of Victorian London. At first absolutely no one is likeable in this tale, certainly not protagonist Sue, a young thief who enters into a queasy scheme to help a con man marry an heiress and then lock her up in a mad-house to claim her fortune. Everyone has a secret and nothing is what it seems: not Sue, not her unscrupulous par ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Part 1 = Amazing. Part 2 and 3 = Is this book over yet?!
Elle (ellexamines)
The Fingersmith is a book about double-crossing, and the tension of double-crossing when you find someone you love.

There are three seperate incredibly wild twists that instantly change the entire fabric of the book, or at least that’s how it feels. We get new glimpses at character, entirely new viewpoints on the world of this story, and moreover, an entirely new vision on the story. The turnarounds are so fast and consistently held my interest. The writing is good, solid, and keeps you invested
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Tommy Tomato
Shelves: booker, 1001, 2011, historical
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
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
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
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 should whet your appetite en
✘✘ 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
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-loved
From the first chapter, I knew that I not only loved this book, but that it was going to be one of my favourites, one of those that feels like it has imprinted itself on you. I simply adored everything about it. It's a book that I want to press everyone to read, because I think it's a perfect book -- even though realistically I realise that my idea of a perfect book may not be your idea of a perfect book.

This is divided into three parts, all wonderful, though the third was my favourite.
I don't
4.5/5. I feel like the best way to describe this book is twisted. The moment you think you have it all figured out, Sarah Waters is like "nope… you don't." I like that the blurb tells only the very basic foundations of this novel, so you know very little going into it and get swept along with the story. And that story is quite dark, very Victorian and grimy, but also fun in a way and even (dare I say it?) pretty sexy. You can tell Sarah Waters really enjoys the act of storytelling, of setting a ...more
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
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars. I love Sarah Waters!!! :-)
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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.

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