Evie Braithwaite's Reviews > Fingersmith

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
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really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, romance, mystery, lgbt

Fingersmith´s magic lies within its plot, so I won´t share too much with the risk of ruining the joy of being shocked by the array of twists and turns. What I will say, is that it´s set in authentic Victorian England and manages to incorporate every possible trope of the era that we know and love. However, Waters does so in a way that´s both fresh and startling.

Susan Trinder is raised in a den of thieves and learns how to master the art of pick-pocketing, cheating and lying her way through life. One of their frequent visitors who goes by the name Gentleman ropes Sue into perpetrating one of his money-making schemes – to make a wealthy man’s niece, Maud Lilly, fall in love with him so he can relieve her of her fortune once married. Susan is soon employed as the Lady´s maid and Waters takes us on a literary adventure full of complicated characters befitting of the Dickens era. We have scheming pickpockets, thieves, and con men, drunken insane asylum nurses and multifaceted booksellers, the innately mad and the suffering. The Victorian era never fails to fascinate me. Waters perfectly illustrates the marginalised, liminal members of society and reveals the depravity that occurs behind closed doors.

Waters is an incredible storyteller. I abhor long chapters, so it did take some time for me to fully engage with the novel. Like Dickens, the build-up is rather slow. Re-reading the events from Maud´s perspective in part 2 felt long and tedious at times. Besides revealing the intricacies of Gentleman’s scheme, it didn’t necessarily bring anything new to the plot. Nonetheless, I’m glad I stuck with it. Waters suddenly hits us with a twist and the mystery within the narrative kept me hooked. The exploration of romantic female relationships is something no contemporary Victorian author would have dared to do. It was so refreshing to read.

Fingersmith was an enjoyable book and despite including all the conventions of a Victorian novel, I haven´t read anything else quite like it.
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Reading Progress

August 22, 2018 – Shelved (ebook Edition)
August 22, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read (ebook Edition)
May 2, 2019 – Started Reading
May 2, 2019 – Shelved
May 2, 2019 –
page 44
May 5, 2019 –
page 332
May 9, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
May 9, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
May 9, 2019 – Shelved as: romance
May 9, 2019 – Shelved as: mystery
May 9, 2019 – Shelved as: lgbt
May 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

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