Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review: Affinity by Sarah Waters

Oh my goodness Sarah Waters, you are sensational. This is by far the best of hers I've read so far. I now have Tipping The Velvet and Fingersmith in my possession, but am desperately trying to save them. Like thats going to work. So Affinity. The blurb reads:
From the dark heart of a Victorian prison, disgraced spiritualist Selina Dawes weaves an enigmatic spell. Is she a fraud or a prodigy? By the time it all begins to matter, you'll find yourself desperately wanting to believe in magic.
I DESPERATELY WANTED TO BELIEVE IN MAGIC!! This book completely sucked me in. And while I dare not reveal if Selina was in fact a fraud or a prodigy, this book is so compellingly believable that it almost doesn't matter. Almost.

This story is told from two perspectives, that of Margaret Prior, a lady visitor to Millbank Prison in Victorian London, and Selina Dawes, an inmate. Margaret becomes increasingly interested in how Selina came to be at the prison and they develop a friendship of sorts and Margaret's interest in the art of spiritualism grows. Behind all of this lingers Margaret's sadness, the loss of her beloved father, the rejection by a lover and the secret of her sexuality.

As with many of Sarah Waters' novels, several of the characters are homosexual however this is never the basis or most important part of the plot. However in this story, it is used as an important plot device and works in a very successful and heartbreaking way.

I don't want to go on and on about this one, I find it difficult to say much without giving it all away. Just go and read it because it is truly awesome!!


Aimee said...

Hoorah! The two ones you have left are definitely more 'upbeat' than her dark ones. Lucky you have them out of the way so you won't be depressed by awesomeness!

Nymeth said...

She IS sensational! This book completely STOMPED on my heart, and I loved it all the more for it.

Karen said...

I loved this one too - definitely my fave after The Night Watch.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Wow, sounds intriguing. The setting, especially. What a compelling premise!


Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Oh my!! I haven't read any of hers -- should I start with this? Or Little Stranger?

Elise said...

Aimee - I can't wait to read the other two!! They are quivering in my pile under the incest book I was reading at Bunya!

Ana - Oh it completely stomped on my heart too!! I finished it on a plane and gasped!! Then cried. The poor guy sitting next to me!

Karen - Definitely my favourite so far too. Apparently Fingersmith is the winner!

Mel - I read The Little Stranger first, then The Night Watch, now Affinity... I recommend reading them in this order as they just get better and better!

Anonymous said...

Well, you've definitely convinced me. I've never read anything by Sarah Waters, but I feel as though now's the time, and this is the book!

Jessica (The Bluestocking Society) said...

Shockingly, I've never read any Sarah Waters. It seems I need to remedy that - quickly. From your comment above, it looks like you'd recommend THE LITTLE STRANGER first. I'll have to keep my eye out for that one. Thanks for the review.

Mariz Denver said...

The author is a master of language and writing technique. She skillfully layers the story, and when you reach the conclusion, you will be both stunned and yet see how very logically it all comes together like the perfectly fitting pieces of a puzzle.

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