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Publisher's Summary

Set in and around the women's prison at Milbank in the 1870's, Affinity is an eerie and utterly compelling ghost story, a complex and intriguing literary mystery, and a poignant love story with an unexpected twist in the tale.

Following the death of her father, Margaret Prior has decided to pursue some 'good work' with the lady criminals of one of London's most notorious gaols. Surrounded by prisoners, murderers, and common thieves, Margaret feels herself drawn to one of the prison's more unlikely inmates - the imprisoned spiritualist Selina Dawes.

Sympathetic to the plight of this innocent-seeming girl, Margaret sees herself dispensing guidance and perhaps friendship on her visits, little expecting to find herself dabbling in a twilight world of seances, shadows, unruly spirits, and unseemly passions.

©1999 Sarah Waters (P)1999 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Spooky, spellbinding, exquisitely written . . . I do believe Waters is on the way to becoming a major literary star" (Val Hennessy)
"Indeed, this is such a brilliant writer that her readers would believe anything she told them" (A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail)
"Refined, repressed and simmering . . . a delicious tale of Victorian spiritualism" (Mel Steel, Independent on Sunday)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • iris
  • 10-26-14

Slow going at first but speeds up well.

Yet another frustrated spinster is the heroine of this book until she finds a project to occupy her time by becoming a prison visitor. In the prison she comes under the spell of a prisoner called 'Dawes' and gradually she is drawn into the world of spiritism. As the story unfolds we understand that 'Aurora' had been in love with her brother's wife and had suffered a nervous breakdown from disappointed expectations. This has led her mother to treat her with various opiates. I think the historical detail is wonderful and the Victorian world recreated in a most convincing fashion. I don't know whether it is the pace of the narrator's reading which gave me the impression of a rather slow moving story through the first part of the book. It did seem to be slightly tedious at times. However the pace really picked up in the second part and the ending was marvellous. The debunking of the spiritism was very well done indeed. In spite of the slow start I would reccommend this book as it is a very enjoyable read on the whole.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Hallesaspberry
  • 09-16-17

Immensely enjoyable

Wonderful writing and brilliantly acted. The narrator has a fine skill for different character voices. Sarah Waters' novels are always excellent and this is no exception.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Frankimunk
  • 12-17-15

The in improbable made readable

I found that despite my misgivings of the setting, it was a worthwhile read.
Nothing explicit, very romantic, but enjoyable

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren Moss
  • 10-28-16

Heart - melting Twist!

Affinity is on my Masters reading list, and I decided to get the audiobook and save myself some time trying to fit the reading into my day - really worth it. MacMahon has a real knack for finding each character's voice, and really brings Waters's words to life - going to have to take some time to process that ending though!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. K. Cowburn
  • 09-11-15

So interesting and a great twist

I really enjoyed this book, although the twist wasn't that unexpected, it still made me gasp. I loved the readingn, I thought it was well done and did the story justice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A.Connor
  • 01-02-18

not a patch on other SW

Id read everything - except Affinity - and so looked forward to this..
Im ploughing on through - the latter chapters have a bit more pace & verve but the first half of the book I found stilted, dull & laborious.

I havent lost faith in SW - shes given me some fantastically engaging & unique reads; s’just that this isnt one of them.

McMahon narrates very well as ever.

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  • muovikassi88
  • 10-27-17

If you like Victorian literature

If you like Victorian literature you will like this novel, her style reminded my quite of Charles Dickens, I don't personally like Victorian literature, but the beginning of the book was very gripping and I really liked the end, the middle however was really slow, like Dickens. If your likes are more modernist or postmodern this might not be a novel for you.

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  • Renaissance Woman
  • 09-09-16

Superb

Engrossing, superbly paced novel excellently read. The claustrophobic life of Victorian women within society - as well as in prison - comes over so well.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-26-16

Just ok

a bit slow was a twist but not a genius one. Not as good as her other books

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  • Mav
  • 02-28-16

Spoiled by an Amazon review

Would you try another book written by Sarah Waters or narrated by Juanita McMahon?

Probably not.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Not read a review first.

Have you listened to any of Juanita McMahon’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard any of her other performances.

Was Affinity worth the listening time?

Just about.

Any additional comments?

I looked at a couple of Amazon reviews to see what others thought before spending a credit on a new (to me) author. Unfortunately the person gave away a massive plot spoiler which completely ruined the story for me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful