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I average about 3 audio books a week, so believe me, when I say this was my best listen of the year, it is not faint praise! If you love books set in England of the 1800's, books with intrigue, mystery, villany and even a slight bit of eroticism. This is the book for you also. The twists and turns are so remarkable, I actually stayed up because I had to finish. I found myself sometimes laughing and sometimes gasping at the sheer audacity of some of the characters. Just as I knew I had the game figured out, the book revealed something else that blew my theory totally away. Forget "The Crimson Petal and the White", Ms Waters knows how to write a totally spellbinding period novel that revels the ugly underside of London, and for that matter the ugly of the upperclass also, and she still managed to end the book in the most satisfactory manner. I highly recommend. Now, onto my next Sarah Waters novel! First, I must read about this author!
44 of 45 people found this review helpful
This book is broken into 3 parts. The first part follows a young orphan Susan Trendor raised in the manner of Oliver to be a thief by Mrs. Sucksby. Mrs. Sucksby treats Susan like a daughter and encourages her to go along with Gentleman's plot to defraud the rich young woman Maud Lilly by becoming Maud's maid in the great country estate where Maud is being raised by her uncle. Susan will be able to bring home 3000 pounds to her beloved Mrs. Sucksby if she helps Gentleman to woo and wed Maud. Gentleman's plan involves defrauding Maud of her fortune by having her placed in an insane asylum. The problem arises when Susan falls in love with Maud. Will she be able to carry out the plan?
The 2nd part centers on Maud after her marriage to Gentleman. We now discover some unpleasant truths about the true nature of the fraud and who is hurt by it. The 3rd part has both Maud and Susan seeking retribution for all the wrongs done against each of them.
This was an immensely listenable book even though it is long. I enjoyed the way the author described life in the truly dirt poor part of London where Susan is raised to be clever with her fingers at stealing. While Maud is raised in a great, dark, dreary, country estate in the country to be a different kind of fingersmith--a sort of secretary to her brutal and crazed uncle--in pornography.
Waters characterizes both girls as neither wan nor fragile even in the most horrific circumstances. She gives them personalities that make you cheer for them as the same time that you question some of their choices.
This book is well written with enough mystery to keep you listening long after you should get out of your car and go into the house to fix supper. I highly recommend this if you love period novels without the typical bodice rippers.
32 of 33 people found this review helpful