Sunday, 28 September 2008

Fingersmith - Sarah Waters

This book was exhausting. It kept me turning its pages frenetically, impatiently, just to know what happens to its heroines.
I loved it because it never let go, and shot one plot twist after the other, keeping me always in tension, waiting for the next surprise.
I hated it for the same reasons. For making me suffer with and for its heroines, waiting for an happy resolution to arrive, which instead kept eluding them, finding endless ways of slipping away. It was an emotional roller coaster. And to this day, I'm still not sure if I enjoyed it more than I hated it for that. One day I basically did nothing but reading it, and I didn't put it down till I finished it. Was I satisfied at the end? I don't know! It was a great piece of storytelling and it must have been pretty well-crafted to manage to keep my attention for so long. Still, at the end I was like, is this it? Can I have some more, please?

I can't tell you much about the plot, for obvious reasons. If Angela's Ashes had no plot, this is all about it. I can't tell you much about the writing style either, because, to be honest, I didn't stop enough to notice it, so much I was gripped by the story.
I can tell you it's set in Victorian London. 1862, to be precise. And it's about two young women, whose destinies interlock at some point in their lives.
Sue is an orphan, her mother was hanged for murder, and grows up among petty thieves.
Maud is also an orphan, but grows up in a dark mansion in the countryside, brought up as a secretary for her uncle.
When Sue accepts to take part to a fraud that will make her richer than she has ever imagined, she becomes involved in a series of events that bring up old secrets, treachery and lies. But also unexpected love and desire.

The first book by Sarah Waters I read is Tipping the Velvet. It was also set in Victorian London but it was much more daring and decadent in its portrait of lesbian love. I loved it, but I can see why it's not for everyone. Fingersmith instead, seems to be more suitable for a broader audience. It's far more focused on the fast-paced action and on its unravelling of hidden truths, than on the romance side of the story. I wouldn't have minded, though, if the romance had been developed a bit more. Actually, that's the main issue I have with it. But other than that, an absolute winner. If you want gripping historical drama to keep you awake at night, try this.

Other blog reviews:
Books I done read
Among the Jumbled Heap
A work in progress
Dear Reader
Tammy's Book Nook

Did you review it too? let me know and I'll add it here.


Nymeth said...

This is another one of those books I keep seeing around but knew nothing about - probably because most people don't want to give too much away. You made me curious, even if you couldn't say much about it. A gripping historical drama sounds great to me.

valentina said...

yes, it definitely is all about knowing what happens, and it really kept me interested all the time,but it was such a tour de force :P