Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2002
Page Count: 582
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Sue is an orphan who lives with a family of thieves in London in the year 1862. She has learned the tricks of the trade from her family around her, and when she is offered a chance to make her own fortune by a man who does regular business with her adoptive father, she knows better than to refuse. But Sue has no idea what she is getting herself into, or where she comes from.
Ever since I have been blogging, I have heard great things about Sarah Waters. I picked this book up at my local bookstore a year or so ago, and it has sat on my shelf because of its size and my busy school schedule. I finally picked it up on a whim earlier this month and flew through it despite its size. Waters is known for her lesbian historical fiction with twists and mysteries, and this one delivered.
Waters did a great job creating the atmosphere for this novel. The atmosphere was historic, Gothic, and quite dreadful: perfect for London in 1862. The characters were done so well. Every character had multiple sides to them, as many were crooks or thieves, but were real people with messy motivations. I really enjoyed the romance element of this novel, as it was not front and center, but was natural to the story and the plot. It's great to see a well done lesbian romance set in a historical setting, as that is not something I come across too often in my reading of historical fiction. I know most of Waters books have a lesbian romance and a historical setting, so if that interests you, please check her out.
I don't want to talk about the mystery/twist in this novel too much because I want you to be as taken back by it as I was, but I will say, I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this novel. I couldn't read fast enough when I got to the middle of the novel; I had to know what was happening and how it could have happened. I was thoroughly engaged and entertained by this novel from the first to last page.
I will be picking up another Waters novel as soon as I can. I have a feeling I will be speeding through her back catalog of novels in the near future. Let me know which novel of hers I should read next!