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Publisher's Summary

London 1862: Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves - fingersmiths - under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her 'family'. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue's fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.

©2002 Sarah Waters (P)2002 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Sarah Waters is one of the best storytellers alive today " Matt Thorne, ( Independent on Sunday)
"Intensely atmospheric, impeccably paced, and cunningly structured, this is that rarity in contemporary fiction: a deeply serious novel that is also a thumping great read" Douglas Kennedy, ( Mail on Sunday)

What listeners say about Fingersmith

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Brilliantly Written... Superb Reading Performance

I love how the book was written. The parts were connected very well, and the characters’ thoughts, intentions, pasts and growth were all done well. I also like how every character has its own personality and purpose. Sarah Waters is truly a brilliant writer. The reading performance by Juanita McMahon was incredible, to say the least. The voices matched the personality of the characters, and she can do so many unique voices! Not to mention how the voice acting truly matches the time (since the setting was in the Victorian Era). The slangs and speaking habits... all perfect.

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Not brilliant.

I found this title when looking for recommended historic fiction in the same vein as Hilary Mantel. There was nothing in this information or in the precis here that let me know that this was queer fiction. Some rather ridiculous plot twists and flowery prose which probably listened better than it read. Set in the Dickens era but certainly this ain't no Dickens.

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Well crafted story, excellent narrator.

I loved the story and the way the tension was kept up all the way

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  • joanna
  • 10-02-14

Brilliant!

If you could sum up Fingersmith in three words, what would they be?

clever, gripping, enjoyable

What does Juanita McMahon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

She is one of the best narrators I have listened too (and I have listened to 1000's of audiobooks) she really brought all the characters to life and has a beautiful voice. I wlll be buying more books narrated by her!

Any additional comments?

I have listened to all Sarah Waters books now and all are absolutely brilliant, and coupled with such an excellent narrator they make very gripping reads! I thoroughly recommend!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Kate
  • 01-11-15

Very well read, brilliant story.

Lovely listen, fantastic reader, gripping storyline. Overall, time well spent. If you want a book representative of Victorian England, this is definitely worth it!

16 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 06-11-15

Intriguing, surprising and engaging story

I’ve only recently discovered this fine novelist through reading her book The Paying Guests. Fingersmith is an earlier novel but has the same strengths of strong characterisation, pacy story with surprises along the way.

The narrator is outstandingly good as she made the book sound more like a drama as she brought the various players to life with her fine ability to create different voices.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Harrow
  • 02-23-15

Excellent narration of very good novel

This was the first Sarah Waters book I have read, chosen because recent newspaper reviews deemed it one of her best. There certainly was much to like: an original plot, convincing central characters and a definite Dickensian quality to the cast of minor crooks, liars and perverts.

It is generally a well paced novel and the narrator does an excellent job of sustaining atmosphere.

Recommended , particularly for those who want a longer listen.

9 people found this helpful

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  • GJ Scott
  • 01-09-15

Perfect.

Just brilliant.
I loved the narrator who brought the characters to life.
The story was very Dickensian and completely unpredictable.

8 people found this helpful

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  • lesley
  • 12-05-14

beautifully written, beautifully read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I think this to be Sarah Waters finn st book to date, her amazing descriptions of Victorian London and asylum life are so vivid and the fast paced plot carries you on an amazing journey. Exploring the fragile nature of identites based on ones ancestors and the mutability of human nature, how two main characters change and grown through the story. It is a great book, beautifuly written

What did you like best about this story?

The opening descriptions of the house in london.

11 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 12-02-15

Olivia Twist

As I listened to the first few chapters, my initial thoughts were pessimistic. A couple of Artful Dodgers attending an actual play of Oliver Twist? Unsubtle, I grumbled. Returning to the Fagin-esque inhabitants of the robber's den? Uninspired, I huffed.

But then the plot started to thicken.

This is a dual-perspective tale of deception set in a fairly clichéd Victorian London and the countryside nearby. The main character, Sue, is a fingersmith, brought up in the poorer part of London to a hodgepodge family of thieves and swindlers. As the hallowed 'scam to make their fortunes' is plotted, Sue finds herself learning how to be maid to a lady, her co-protagonist, Maud.

To reveal more would be a disservice, as the twists and turns throughout are part of what make this tale so enjoyable. The characters, while dredging Victorian conventions, are a colourful bunch and I loved and hated my way through them. Juanita McMahon's narration is superb, if a little "gor blimey gov'nor", and she creates an absorbing atmosphere with emotionally powerful characters.

At almost 24 hours, however, Fingersmith is slightly too long, and at times I did let frustration spoil my constant enjoyment when arguments went over the same ground, over and over (Maud, I'm looking at you). But this is a fairly minor criticism as by the end I found myself not wanting to leave Waters' world and I'll happily return for a revisit in the future.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ionaeds
  • 02-13-15

very enjoyable!

I couldn't stop listening! Great story and a brilliant narrator. Accessible Dickens, gripping and well paced for a good, long listen.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Suzanne Langridge
  • 05-12-19

Absolutely brilliant!

I love this book. Whether it's as a paper copy or Audio. Fantastic twists and turns

2 people found this helpful

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  • Val
  • 04-12-19

Brilliant!

My favourite book... I read it when it was first published: this Audible version is fabulous. Wonderful narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 07-02-20

loved it

awesome story very well written and narrator did an excellent job. Story really captured the atmosphere of Victorian London.will need to read more sarah waters books.

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  • Ainslie
  • 11-17-19

Worth every minute

The story and performance were phenomenal. The characters and world were so beautifully built and every minute of the 24+ hrs was worth it.

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  • Ann M
  • 09-22-19

An adventure

I absolutely loved this book. Grew to really enjoy the drama sure performance of the reader. Can't recommend this enough.

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  • eloise
  • 06-23-19

captivating performance

How do you describe a book that has your 100% attention from the first "page" to the last? You can see, smell and taste every word read. Second time around and it is still one of my favourite.

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  • Rebecca
  • 08-26-18

What a fantastic BOOK!

If you love Jane Austen or want to hear a girl power Dickens novel you’ll love Fingersmith. Author Sarah Waters drew me into her clever twisting story from the first page. Get ready to get swept away because you’ll fall in love with her characters and feel transported back into the 1800’s. This novel was unique, painful, hopeful and in the end made me want to cry and clap with joy. I can’t wait to read everything else Sarah Waters has written!!!

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  • Melissathebrave
  • 07-13-17

well written but a bit dreary

not as fun as I expected, but I guess that's ye old England for you!

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  • wesley
  • 04-25-17

captivating and vivid

outstanding story with many twists. I couldn't stop listening. in every chapter, more of the plot would unfold. captivating! Waters' gift of painting a picture so vividly kept me among the characters for the duration of the novel. stunningly read too, Juanita managed to portray every character (and there were many) with their own personality through only her reading.
cannot wait for the next riveting read.
thank you!

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  • Chloe Starick
  • 02-20-17

Plot Twists

This is a great story with excellent characters and lots of plot twists.
The narrator does a beautiful job.

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  • ann
  • 03-19-16

must have

well written, and brilliantly read as well. total immersion into a different time, had me on the edge of my seat and was very upset when my lifes duties interrupted my listening....

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  • Cathie Dalliwall
  • 04-27-15

A good story

A good story, brought to life by Juanita McMahon, but I found it to be too long and drawn out.