Fingersmith by Sarah Waters


Fingersmith was a really fun book to read from beginning to the end, though I thought it almost touched the borderline of being “wordy” (being 550 pages). The first twist (probably the biggest too) left me in a state of euphoria, as I got so excited that I did not see it coming at all. I love unpredictable book!

If I have to describe the book in two words, it’d be Lesbian Dickens (stealing that from a goodreads reviewer which I totally agree with). The style of writing is in the style of those novels written by real 19th century writers, but a couple of things gave it away, like the use of swear words (very rare, do not worry) and the fact that there’s lesbian relationship. I don’t think those ever appear in real Victorian novels. But that’s one of the fun things about it I guess! (I knew about the LGBT aspect before I started reading)

If there’s one thing that I did not quite like, it was the ending. It kept me from giving this book a perfect score unfortunately.

(Spoiler ahead, highlight to read)

I just thought the author took the easy way out: Kill all the obstacles! I had a really bad feeling once one of them started dying, and true enough the rest followed.

(end of spoiler)

sarah waters

This book though has set me firm to read more Sarah Waters books (Fingersmith is my first). I am currently looking forward to read either Tipping the Velvet or the Night Watch next. Probably not this year as I try to read just one book per author per year, but we’ll see!

In term of “fun”-ness level, I think it’s comparable with the Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (also comparable in size).

Interesting fact: Fingersmith was beaten by Life of Pi for 2002 Booker Prize, and by Bel Canto (Ann Patchett) for 2002 Orange Prize (it got shortlisted for both prizes that year). I have to agree that Life of Pi is a probably better book, but I read mixed reviews for Bel Canto.

4.5 stars
(2002, 548 pp)

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17 thoughts on “Fingersmith by Sarah Waters”

  1. This is one of my favourite books so I’m so pleased you enjoyed it too. I loved the unpredictable twists – it is all so clever. I didn’t have the same problem you mention in the spoiler – I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t have time to try to predict things! I’ve tried a few of her other books and none have been quite as good, but I’ll keep reading them – she is a very talented author.

    1. Jackie, I probably read slower, so I had time to think and guess where it was going lol. Seems like people have different opinions about where Fingersmith stands on her back list. Sakura said it’s her least favorite (while it is your favorite). I should read more to know where I stand!

    1. Oh why is that?! I haven’t read her other books, but I think Fingersmith tops a lot of people’s list for Sarah Waters books, so it’s a good place to start if you want to try her :)

  2. I read this over Christmas and actually reviewed today. I agree that the ending was just a little too easy and could be accused of being a little lazy BUT it didn’t stop me from being hugely entertained.

  3. I loved this book. It was my first book by Waters as well, and since then I’ve read her entire backlist. Loved the suspense, loved the twists. I’d be curious to see how you get on with the other books, for, not to discourage you or anything, but in my opinion, they don’t hold a light to this one.

    1. anothercookie, I’m curious to see how I’d get along with her other books as well. People seem to have different opinion on which book is their favorite!

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