Set in Victorian England, Fingersmith is a story about deception, madness, and theft. Sue Trinder, a poor orphan in London, is approached by a conman for help in stealing a magnificent fortune. His plan is to install Sue as the maid to Miss Maud Lilly, a rich and naive young woman, and then use her to aid in Maud's seduction. Once he has successfully married Maud, they will have Maud declared crazy, lock her in a madhouse, and then share her riches between them. Their plot is foolproof — that is, until Sue begins caring for Maud.
"There is no patience so terrible as that of the deranged. I have seen lunatics labour at endless tasks — conveying sand from one leaking cup into another; counting the stitches in a fraying gown, or the motes in a sunbeam; filling invisible ledgers with the resulting sums. Had they been gentlemen, and rich — instead of women — then perhaps they would have passed as scholars and commanded staffs."
Sarah Waters's novels include Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, Affinity, The Night Watch, The Paying Guests, and The Little Stranger. Born in Wales, she currently lives in London.
Length: 576 pages
Set in: London, England