My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Your heart - as you call it - and hers are alike, afterall: they are like mine, like everyone's. They resemble nothing so much as those meters you will find on gas-pipes: they only perk up and start pumping when you drop coins in."
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a gripping novel of deception and greed set in 19th Century London, and tells the story of two orphans: Sue, a thief, and Maud, a lady. With seemingly nothing else in common, the two become entwined in an elaborate get-rich-quick scheme, with shocking and heart-wrenching results. Yet this is to be expected in a world where everyone harbours a secret and deceit is the name of the game.
There is not a dull moment in this story, and not even the smallest of details becomes a bore - everything about this novel simply works. The descriptions of life in a madhouse I found to be particularly fascinating, but it is the characters in this story that makes it so enjoyable. Waters has developed wonderfully intriguing and complicated personalities, some with good hearts but all with dark intentions, and with whom I either fell in love (Sue and Maud) or passionately despised (Gentleman and Mrs Suckesby).
Fingersmith is a long and detailed novel and some may be intimidated by its size, but Waters has paced the story perfectly and it reads so well that it doesn't feel half as long as it actually is. Plus it's exciting and addictive: Just when I thought I'd figured it out and knew what would happen next Waters would prove that I, too, had been deceived.
I L-O-V-E-D it! It would be a surprise to me if anyone who takes the time to read it does not end up loving it too.