Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Rating: 5/5 stars
“When I feel his mouth upon my wrist, I flinch. ‘Now, now’ he says. ‘Be good for a moment. Excuse my whiskers. Imagine my mouth hers.'”
Sue is an orphan living in the home of Mrs. Sucksby, a petty thief of watches, purses, and children. Although Mrs. Sucksby treats her well, Sue gets sent off to be a maid to the lady Miss Lilly. She becomes part of an elaborate scheme of the orphanage with a plan to steal Miss Lilly’s fortune. As Sue becomes more comfortable serving, bathing, and feeding Miss Lilly, the two young women find themselves struggling to be truthful with one another.
To be honest, I prioritized this book on my TBR because one Goodreads review said “lesbian Dickens!”. I wish I had coined the phrase first because it certainly fits this book. This was such a lovely and captivating story and the writing is absolutely beautiful. Sarah Waters leaves out no detail when describing Miss Lilly’s extravagant mansion, but does so without boring the reader.
I felt like I was slowly becoming one of Sue’s close friends throughout this book. I was angry when she was wronged and was giddy when she was fighting her oppressors. Throughout my time as a reader I have yet to come across another character like Sue (and doubt I’ll find one soon). Although the book was not told entirely from her POV, her character development had the most depth and thus she became easy to love.
I’m looking forward to reading more books by Sarah Waters (perhaps Tipping the Velvet next?).