Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Riverhead Books, New York, 2002
Borrowed from the library.
Susan Trinder, orphaned when her mother is hanged for murder, then left with Mrs Sucksby, a baby-seller, is raised in a house of thieves. Trained to be a pick-pocket, a fingersmith, Susan’s life changes when Richard Rivers arrives and makes her a deal that, if successful, will make them all rich. Thus begins a tale of love and deception so full of twists and changes it will make your head spin. Is this novel a mystery? A ghost story? A romance?
The room was a dark one, like all the rooms there. Its walls were panelled all over in an old dark wood and its floor- which was bare, except for a couple of trifling Turkey carpets, that were here and there worn to the weave- was also black. There were some great heavy tables about and one or two hard sofas. There was a painting of a brown hill and a vase full of dead leaves, and a dead snake in a glass case with a white egg in its mouth. The windows showed the grey sky and bare wet branches. The window panes were small and leaded and rattled in their frames. Page 69
To quote or say any more is to give away too much. Waters is a master story-teller, giving her readers damp, smoke-filled images of Victorian London, creating a sense of the strict divisions between classes in the Manor houses of the country side. She is brilliant at dialogue, between thieves, men and women, cooks, masters, maids and mistresses. Each one of the characters in this great, elegant old-fashioned novel became real for me. And Waters given her readers two wonderful female protagonists, each different, each strong, each unforgettable. I ended up admiring and loving both of them.
I admit it. I waited way too long before reading Waters, but I’ll make up for it now. I just picked up The Little Stranger from the library and will start it in the next couple of days.
Did I miss yours?