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It is the late 1800s and Sue Trinder is growing up an orphan in London, under the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a baby farmer, and a transient population of fingersmiths (pickpockets), confidence men, and petty thieves who occupy Mrs. Sucksby’s house. Sue has always known she was special; after all, Mrs. Sucksby would have sold her if she wasn’t. When she is 17, Gentleman, an elegant con man, comes to her with a new plot: win the heart of an heiress name Maud Lilly, who can only inherit her fortune if she marries. Sue is to play the part of Maud’s maid, and help Gentleman seduce Maud. Sue eagerly takes the job with the dream of paying back the kindness of her family, but soon begins to care for and pity the naive, country Maud. Of course, nothing is simple, and nothing is as it seems.
There are many reasons to love this book, but here is the most important: this book is, hands down, the best ‘twist’ book I have ever read. Do not go online and read reviews, do not go to the Wikipedia page, do not flip through the book scanning the pages. Do nothing which might spoil this book. This is vitally important. Furthermore, the characterization in this book is superb; all of the people are well fleshed out and believable. The language is also gorgeous – the author uses historically correct slang and language patterns, and has vivid, evocative prose. So really, there are three great reasons to read this book, but you really only need the first.
Recommended by Andi