Q&A review: Fingersmith

45162Title: Fingersmith
Author: Sarah Waters
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, adult fiction

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.
One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.
With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals

Never trust a book jacket.

This book is not what it seems.

But that's half the fun!

Since I don't want to give anything away about the plot, I'm going to do a Q&A style review instead of the usual.

Q: Describe the book in six words or less.

Dickensian mystery with a twist

Q: What genre is this book?

Mostly historical fiction and mystery, although it is also very (melo)dramatic and horrifying at times.
It's also LGBTQ fiction, which is one of the twists, but if you've read any other reviews you probably knew that already.

Q: Fast paced or slow?

There are lots of twists and red herrings, so the story keeps moving, but the actual story doesn't actually have that much action. The mystery and the layers that keep revealing themselves keep things interesting, and you constantly have to re-evaluate what you think you know.

Q: Writing style?

This book is incredibly well-written. You know how sometimes authors try and write in a certain style but it doesn't come off as natural? That's definitely not the case here. I felt like the writing and the dialogue fit the time period incredibly well - it was almost like reading a more mysterious version of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Short Fiction, which was written in 1892!

Q: So why only 3 stars?

I really liked the writing style and the shades-of-gray characters. I felt like the twists and revelations resolved themselves really well, but there were a lot of points in the book where I was just waiting for something to happen. I was frankly bored with the story towards the middle, but I really wanted to see how it ended so I pushed through. I'm glad I did, but I can't say the brilliant ending made up for the part in the middle. I think other people might find the whole book intriguing, though, so I'd still recommend it!

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