Book Reviews: Fingersmith

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

by Sarah Waters

Before reading this all I really knew about it was it is set during the Victorian era in England and there are lots of unexpected twists. That being said, I'm not going to give any of those twists away. Here's the basic premise, without any spoilers.

Sue Trinder is a young woman orphaned at birth. She is raised in a family of thieves (a tongue-in-cheek reference to Oliver Twist) and is convinced by "The Gentleman" to assist in swindling a young heiress out of her fortune. She moves to the country house to act as a maid to Maud, the young woman. From there you can't really say anything else without giving something away.

The book comes full circle and I love that. I also thought Waters did an amazing job describing a mental institution during that time period. It took almost nothing to have a woman committed at that time and that's terrifying!

I will say that I enjoyed the book. I think this is one of those unfortunate times when the hype had an effect on my experience. I've read so many excellent reviews of this that it would be hard for any book to live up to my expectations. It was really good and I enjoyed reading it, but I think I knew a bit too much going in to it. I've loved Sarah Waters' work so far and will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

Here's two other great reviews of the book...

You've Gotta Read This

Park Benches and Book Ends

p.s. I watched the BBC miniseries of this book after reading it and was really impressed. They did a fantastic job and I would highly recommend it.


Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

This book sounds pretty interesting -- I especially like the idea of how in depth and descriptive the author gets with the mental institution during that time period. For some reason, that always interests me! I get sucked into the hype sometimes too-and sometimes I refuse to watch a movie until months (if not a full year!) has gone by before I watch it! Sometimes it goes for a book, too, and it's affecting my decision to read The Passage, too!

Becky Hill said...

I just finished Waters Little Stranger and loved this book too. It was really creepy. It is about a family who lives in an old English estate that has been in their family for many, many years. The family has been reduced to a mother, son who has returned with injuries from the war and a daughter. A local doctor befriends the family-the doctor's mother previously worked at the estate. With the crumbling home all around them and several mysterious "going-ons" it is a great read. I couldn't put it down. Next up for me will be Water's Night Watch. I will also put Fingersmith on my list due to your recommendation!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Coffee - I feel the same way about The Passage. I just started it today and it's great so far, but I think my expectations are really high because of all the great reviews.

Becky - I loved Little Stranger. It was my first Waters and it made me want to read more. So perfectly creepy!

Jenners said...

I totally loved this when I read it ... but now, thinking back, it probably wasn't as good as I thought it was. But I just loved being fooled and twisted around like that ... and that is the appeal of this book, for sure.