Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Fingersmith (Sarah Waters)

My expectations were too high to live up to


Title: Fingersmith
Author: Sarah Waters
Genre: Fiction / Historical
First published: 2002
Edition: E-book

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.


First line(s):

My name in those days, was Susan Trinder. People called me Sue. I know the year I was born in, but for many years I did not know the date, and took my birthday at Christmas.


This was one of those books that I fully expected to love and I had been kind of saving it for a rainy day. I finally picked it up and though I enjoyed it fine, it did not quite live up to my expectations.

The main complaint against it I found its length. It seemed to take forever to read. At times the story moved so slowly it struggled to keep my attention. Having said that, there were also large parts I did enjoy. I enjoyed the writing style for example and the characters themselves were well developed and interesting. My main gripe was the pacing, but the plot at times did not quite work for me either. It seemed to go about things in such a roundabout way that I just struggled to believe it. I actually felt confused by the developments a couple of times as well.

Historical fiction is my jam, and this one did work for me, but only up to a certain point. It may work better for a different type of reader. To be fair I still enjoyed it, but it simply fell a little short for me. However, I would be happy to be pick up something else by this author in the future.

This really is a novel that you should not rush, and I did not. I could not – I found it relatively slow going. Still, overall I enjoyed it ok and I am glad I finally read it. There is just a tiny smudge of disappointment that I did not love it more.

5 out of 7 stars



  • Characters: 8
  • Ambience: 8
  • Language: 9
  • Story: 7
  • Pacing: 6
  • Interest: 7
  • Enjoyment: 7

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