On release, this gripping Gothic page-turner was nominated for the Orange
Prize and the Man Booker Prize and critics responded with enthusiastic
and unanimous exaltation: "a marvelous novel," (Kirkus
"twisted, and satisfying...a fabulous piece of writing," (the
); "superb storytelling," (USA Today
just to name a few.
So what is it that sparked such generous praise for the third novel by
a British author best known for dark lesbian drama set in the underworld
of Victorian London? Well, with enough plot twists to give the best thriller
writer whiplash, a sumptuous and generous use of language that effortlessly
combines the erotic and the suspenseful, and gritty and complex characterization,
Waters has woven a story that one simply can't put down. Set in the 1860s,
Fingersmith opens with seventeen-year-old Susan Trinder narrating.
Sue, orphaned when her mother was hanged for murder and raised by Mrs.
Sucksby and Mr. Ibbs a baby broker and fencer of stolen goods respectively
is recruited by the dashing con-man Richard "Gentleman"
Rivers to help him marry the innocent heiress Maud Lily. Once that is
done, he plans to throw Maud in the asylum and steal all her money. As
with all good plans, Gentleman's are set to go asunder. Pick up Fingersmith
and be riveted by Gothic atmosphere, madness, passion, crime, and duplicity,
woven amongst the most tantalizing of plots. Georgie, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the New York Times Notable Book Tipping the Velvet and the award-winning Affinity: a spellbinding, twisting tale of a great swindle, of fortunes and hearts won and lost, set in Victorian London among a family of thieves.
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.
One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives-Gentleman, a somewhat elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud's vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be left to live out her days in a mental hospital. With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways. . . . But no one and nothing is as it seems in this > Dickensian novel of thrills and surprises.
The New York Times Book Review has called Sarah Waters a writer of "consummate skill" and The Seattle Times has praised her work as "gripping, astute fiction that feeds the mind and the senses." Fingersmith marks a major leap forward in this young and brilliant career.
In Victorian England, an orphan girl is sent to a country estate to work for and ultimately woo its young heiress, on behalf of a mysterious benefactor known as Gentleman.
From the author of the New York Times Notable Book Tipping the Velvet comes a spellbinding, twisting tale of a great swindle, of fortunes and hearts won and lost, set in Victorian London among a family of thieves.
About the Author
Sarah Waters is the author of the novels Tipping the Velvet and Affinity, for which she won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Ferro-Grumley Award, and an American Library Association Award.