Dark and seductive, Waters weaves a tale of mystery and love that you wont want to put down.
Set in the 1860’s in the crime ridden streets of London’s Borough Sarah Waters tells the captivating story of Sue Trinder, an orphan girl and petty thief raised by her surrogate mother Ms Sucksby. When one day approached by rogue Richard Rivers to take part in his wicked plot to deceive and rob a young lady of her fortune Sue has little qualms in joining the scheme. Encouraged by a sizeable fortune that she will inherit for her troubles Sue agrees to go to the ladies home in the country and act falsely as her maid in order to help encourage her to marry Richard. Once she has been convinced to marry him they will take her from her home at The Briar and send her to a Madhouse,splitting her fortune between them.
Yet when Sue arrives at The Briar she realizes that orphan Maud and her have much more in common than either of them could have predicted and as the plot thickens it becomes evident that their lives have been inextricably linked since birth.
A surprising and intoxicating relationship strikes between the two as Waters juggles a book that is on one hand a fast and compelling thriller whilst on the other a slow burning story of love and desire.
I was gripped from start to finish and what impressed me most of all was the way that Waters managed to explore and portray so many different emotions, experiences, and situations. Everything from the insight into ‘madhouses’ in the 1860’s to the treatment of women during that time, to Victorian erotic literature and the lives of criminals in old London. It’s all packed in here.
Her characters jump of the page with vivid reality and her story is captivating till the last. I can’t recommend this book enough if you’re looking for a novel that flows naturally and has you up late at night in a reading frenzy whilst leaving a thoughtful aftertaste that will have you pondering the dark side of human nature that Waters throws up in this rich and wonderful tale.
I won’t spoil the plot but it’s safe to say I had many moments where I was gob smacked by the intricate turns of events that Waters throws into her story ensuring that there is never a dull moment in the book. Unanswered questions like why Ms Sucksby treat Sue like such a precious child to what it is that marks Maud as such an unusual and troubled young girl become revealed.
The book is on the heavy side coming in at a weighty 548 pages but that only adds to the appeal because once you start this book you wont want to put it down, instead you’ll want to savor the wonderful experience of enjoying this book for the very first time.
Thanks to Dave from Manchester’s Artistic Son for not only nominating this book to me for my Day Zero challenge but also for giving me it as a birthday gift. It was certainly a reading highlight this year and a great way to finish up 2011.