Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

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.

Other reviews:



Rhapsody In Books

S. Krishna’s Books

Shelf Love

things mean a lot

Did I miss yours?



Filed under GLBT 2010, Historical Fiction, New Authors 2010, Notable Books, Review

23 responses to “Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

  1. I KNEW you would like this one :) Thanks for the link to my review.

  2. selena

    I feel like I’m one of the only bloggers who hasn’t read a Waters novel yet. It’s definitely on my list for 2010! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much that you’re already starting on another! (:

  3. I read Fingersmith quite a while back and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading your review on The Little Stranger – I haven’t read it yet and am curious to see if it lives up to your expectations.

  4. Wasn’t it just amazing??? I bet you do have one regret though…that you got it from the library and can’t keep it :p

  5. I just read this this week and posted my review yesterday! I loved it too and want to work my way through all of Waters’s books. (I’ve only read The Little Stranger, which is also excellent.)

  6. I reviewed this book in January I think. I was already an obsessed fan of Waters, so this just sent me way over the top. It doesn’t get any better than this in fiction. For grins you should check out the BBC version of the story…it isn’t half bad.

  7. The minute I finished Fingersmith, I ordered all of Water’s other books, AND the movie for Fingersmith off of Netflix (which was fun, but too long). It was just amazing!

  8. I agree with Jill, the film (miniseries, I guess) of Fingersmith dragged a little bit, though I wasn’t sure whether it was actually too long, or just too faithful to the book.

  9. I loved Fingersmith. I resisted reading it for ages, pushing away the copies friends were trying to lend out but then I finally yielded and couldn’t put it down!

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  11. I am so glad you loved it, Gavin! I haven’t read The Little Stranger yet, but I did read all the others and they were each wonderful in its own way.

    • I did love Fingersmith, and I’m actually glad I waited a while to read it. I think it gave me a clearer feel for the book and for Wat ers writing, not have my head filled with other people’s thoughts about it. I’ve started The Little Stranger…

  12. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! Kelly and I read it late last year and I liked it, too. I also enjoyed Affinity and I recently acquired The Night Watch and I’m excited about reading that one, too!

  13. Aarti – I’ve started reading The Little Stranger and am again impressed by Waters’ ability to create a very distinct time and place with her writing.

  14. Ti

    I haven’t read any of her books. I hope to read Fingersmith this year though.

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