Book - 2002
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The book that inspired Park Chan-wook's astonishing film The Handmaiden.

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize

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.

Publisher: London : Virago, 2002
ISBN: 9781860498831
Branch Call Number: WATE
Characteristics: 548 p


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Jul 20, 2017

Very good. Extremely good twist near the end though. I absolutely loved the ending by the way.

Feb 09, 2017

WATCH The Handsmaiden, a Korean re-mix of Liaisons Dangereuses in 3 Parts. 1: Hitchcock: assumed identities, voyeurism and betrayal. 2: Greenaway/Rashomon/Sade: scenes heard in 1 are seen here, more twists: library of shunga (erotic manga), marionette sex, S&M (50 Shades are for kids). 3: End Game: Seven + Grifters + Thelma & Louise. Unlike many violent Korean movies, this one has the women on TOP! You all know this is an adaption of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, eh?

Aug 24, 2016

Hated this book! you read the book and then read the exact same scenes from the other person's point of view. Definitely a Lesbian romance novel also.

MsMarple Jun 29, 2016

I couldn't put this down! It had so many twists and turns, such gripping characters and storyline, I was so engrossed in it at the bus-top that I got onto the wrong bus!

CMLReads_Kristin Apr 14, 2016

Historical stories with LGBTQ themes are rare. Lots of nice twists and turns in this Victorian thriller.

Jul 07, 2015

Sue Trinder, a thief by birth, raised by thieves, goes to be maid to Maud Lilly as part of a scheme to steal Maud's money. However, nothing is as it seems. Neither Sue nor Maud knows the real story about her birth and the truth will be devastating for both. This book has it all: great plot with twists, turns and surprises; characters from Dickensian thieves to 19th century pornographers; and historical setting from falling down manor houses and madhouses to gritty, smelly London backstreets. The vivid detail is fantastic.

Mar 10, 2015

This book has three parts: 1) Susan 2) Maud 3) Susan, Maud and all characters. Detailed and hard to put down, unexpected events. If you like books about Gay (women) and their first loves this could be your cup of tea. Even if you don't like Gay books you might like this. It doesn't go too much into sex, but more about emotion with a great historical background into practices and life styles of that era.

Dec 07, 2014

An amazing author. It's rare to find a story that's so engrossing as to cause the reader to share the experiences of the characters so intensely; their happiness, shame, and rage or panic upon being deceived. One of the few books that has actually terrified me at points. Which, of course, made me love it!

Dec 09, 2013

A really phenomenal story. Epic & gothic.

Jun 27, 2012

Amazing! Waters skillfully combines all the elements of a masterfully written story and weaves them together into an unforgettable novel.

I have a bad habit, even with some of my favourite novels, of skimming parts that I find repetitive, long winded or even super suspenseful, but with this one, I didn't want to miss the pleasure of reading even a single word and dreaded reaching the end of the book.

Although admittedly I am no Sherlock Holmes, I didn't see any of the plot twists coming and I loved that the story was told from both women's perspectives. The double and triple crosses at times took me a while to get straight, but when my lightbulb moment finally came, I wanted to high five the author.

The characters are very well developed, the scenes set perfectly and the plot top notch.

This book goes on my list, along with "The Crimson Petal and the White" and "Slammerkin" as Best Historical Porn. Can't wait to read her others.

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Sep 09, 2015

Sarah Waters engages the reader in the same acts of defilement that consume her main characters, Sue and Maud. The opening pages are evocative of Oliver Twist, with Sue being presented as the beloved orphan being raised in a den of thieves. Her counterpart, the also-orphaned Maud, has been brought to live with her wealthy, reclusive, scholarly uncle after being raised by nurses in a madhouse. There are early portents of the uncle's unsavory literary interests. In contrast to the craven scheming and exploitation that surrounds them and of which they are both active participants and victims, the sexual attraction that sparks between Maud and Lilly seems like the one bright thing in their dark world. The ending is perhaps a happy one, but I emerged from these 511 pages feeling rather misled about the nature of the book I was getting into.

FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Orphan Sue Trinder is raised by pick-pocket "fingersmiths" and becomes involved in a scam to defraud Maud Lilly, a young heiress. Sue begins to have serious misgivings about the plan, when she discovers she has fallen in love with Maud.

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