Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
At the heart of this old-fashioned thriller is Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth and raised by Mrs Sucksby in her thieves’ den in a slum in mid-nineteenth century London. Sue, a petty thief – or “fingersmith” – herself, is nonetheless likeable. Along comes Gentleman, a suave con man and sometime member of this ragtag “family,” with a proposal for Sue that’s impossible to resist: secure a position as lady’s maid to Maud Lilly, a young heiress living out in the country with her eccentric uncle, help Gentlemen woo her, and in the end steal away with her fortune and dispose of the heiress in a lunatic asylum.
As the pages turn, however, the question is raised again and again: who’s really screwing whom? And who, in the end, will get the Lilly fortune?
Dark and mesmerizing, this story has it all: murder, baby-selling, swindling, escapes, lunatics, hangings, forbidden pleasures, and a sprawling, isolated, decaying mansion. Completely engrossing and entertaining, the scenes, settings, and characters spring to life from the pages. I could hear the conversations, feel the damp chill of the air, and see the colors, shadows and shapes rendered by Ms Waters.
This is the second book by Sarah Waters I’ve read, the first being Tipping the Velvet. She is absolutely one of my new favorite authors; I’m only sorry it took me this long to discover her fabulous work. I’m adding the rest of her books to my to-read list – she’s some story teller.