This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. A novel set in the criminal underbelly of Victorian England. A “fingersmith” is a pick-pocket. which naturally conjures up images of “Oliver Twist”. Indeed we first see one of the novel’s two heroines, Sue, at a play of “Oliver Twist” in London’s West End, she screams when the cruel Bill Sykes kills Nancy. Our tale is the tale of an orphan girl brought up in a den of thieves in Borough, who is involved in a plot to switch places with, Maud, a rich heiress in the country. All is not what it seems and the plot has many astonishing jaw dropping twists. With our two heroines we visit a Victorian madhouse with sadistic nurses and doctors who wish to keep their charges for the financial returns, we visit the seedy library of a pornographer, we are taken to the gaol and to the gallows and we become immersed in a tale of many deceptions. Mrs Suckersby, a name worthy of a Dickens novel, is our Fagin, running a house for fencing stolen property and doubling as a baby farm, profiting from unwanted bastards. Like “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (by John Fowles) it casts a modern eye on the Victorian period, the attraction between Sue and Maud, is probably not something Charles Dickens would have envisioned.
My rating : 5 out of 5
This is a book that caused me to miss my metro stop and one that distracted me from Facebook, a rare feat these days.