Sue Trinder is an orphan living in 19th century London. She is being brought up by Mrs. Sucksby, a rough but kind and hard-working woman whose 'family' consists of other orphans and a bunch of petty thieves or 'fingersmiths'. Sue is getting pretty used to this kind of life when one day an acquantaince of the family, whom they call 'Gentleman', comes to her with a proposal to become a servant to a young woman who will inherit a lot of money when she marries. Gentleman wants to marry her, get the money, then 'dump' her in true Dickensian style. But he needs Sue's help. Sue agrees, not knowing the whole story, but interested in the money Gentleman promises her.
Well, she finds in Maud more than a rich gentlewoman, and their relationship is intriguing. The deception and secrets lead to a worse fate for Sue herself. Spunky and street-wise, she escapes from the asylum she was thrown into.
And she finds that her life is much more intertwined with Maud's than she would ever have imagined. Sue, Maud and Gentleman eventually end up altogether at Mrs. Sucksby's, where Gentleman is killed - by one of them.
The review of this Book prepared by Tena van't Foort
Susan Trinder grew up an orphan, cared for by a gang of thieves. When she is seventeen, one thief, a mysterious figure known only as Gentleman confronts her with an elaborate plot. He plans to marrry the wealthy and naive Maud Lilly, get her money and commit her to a mental hospital. If Susan poses as Maud's maid she may get half of Gentleman's profits. Susan agrees, and takes the job as a maid. But Maud and Susan grow close and an erotic relationship develops between the two. When the time comes to put the plan into action, Susan discovers that Maud is not nearly as naive as she once believed. Furtherfore, Maud may be as villinous as Gentleman himself. Eventually it is Susan who is commited to an insane asylum while Gentleman holds Maud prisoner. Yet while Maud lives in Gentleman's clutches, she learns that the relationship between her and Susan goes deeper than she ever thought, and that they are pawn in a plot greater than either of them could have possible imagined.
The review of this Book prepared by fran laniado
Teri on 11/13/2014 5:32:54 AM says: This was one of three books in Waters Victorian trilogy, the other ones being Tipping the Velvet and Affinity. This is the best of the three but has the flaws and strengths of all three - while the Victorian atmosphere is great and the plots are very intricate and play out really well, the characters are not very likable. I had a hard time feeling any sympathy for Susan and Maud or Mrs. Sucksby. Waters went on to write books set in the early 20th century, which are pretty good but IMHo her Victorian novels are better.