Fingersmith Book Summary - Fingersmith Book explained in key points

Fingersmith summary

Sarah Waters

Brief summary

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a gripping historical novel set in Victorian England. It follows the story of a cunning thief and a wealthy heiress, whose lives become intricately entwined in a web of deception and betrayal.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Summary of key ideas

    The Intricate Web of Deception

    In Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, we are introduced to Sue Trinder, an orphan raised by Mrs. Sucksby, a woman who runs a household of thieves. Sue is approached by a con artist known as Gentleman, who proposes a scheme to defraud a wealthy heiress, Maud Lilly. The plan involves Sue posing as Maud's maid, gaining her trust, and then helping Gentleman to marry Maud and commit her to an asylum, leaving her fortune to him.

    As the story unfolds, we learn about Maud's life. She lives with her uncle, a collector of rare books, in a secluded mansion. Maud is an innocent and naive young woman, kept in the dark about her own inheritance. She is also under the strict control of her uncle, who is obsessed with his collection and has a dark, abusive side.

    The Unexpected Twist

    As Sue enters Maud's world, she finds herself drawn to her in ways she didn't expect. She begins to question the morality of the plan and starts to develop feelings for Maud. At the same time, Maud, who has never had a friend, starts to trust Sue and confide in her. The two women form a deep bond, and Sue becomes torn between her loyalty to Gentleman and her growing affection for Maud.

    Just when we think we understand the dynamics between the characters, Waters throws us a curveball. We learn that Maud is not as innocent as she seems. She is aware of the plan to defraud her, and she has her own agenda. Maud is in love with Sue and has been manipulating her all along. She plans to use Sue to escape her uncle's control and take her inheritance for herself.

    The Unraveling of Deception

    As the story progresses, the intricate web of deception begins to unravel. Sue discovers Maud's true intentions and feels betrayed. She also learns that Gentleman has been deceiving her as well. He is not the charming gentleman he pretends to be but a fraudster with a dark past. Feeling used and betrayed by everyone around her, Sue decides to take matters into her own hands.

    In a dramatic turn of events, Sue and Maud orchestrate a plan to outwit Gentleman and Maud's uncle. They succeed in exposing their schemes and reclaiming Maud's inheritance. In the end, Sue and Maud escape together, leaving their troubled pasts behind and starting a new life, free from the deceit and manipulation that once controlled them.

    The Aftermath of Betrayal

    As the story concludes, we see the aftermath of the characters' betrayals and the consequences of their actions. Sue and Maud's relationship is strained, marked by the lingering feelings of betrayal and manipulation. They are left to grapple with the question of whether their bond was genuine or merely a product of their shared deception.

    In Fingersmith, Sarah Waters masterfully weaves a tale of love, betrayal, and deception. The novel challenges our perceptions of trust and loyalty, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator. It is a story that keeps us guessing until the very end, reminding us that things are not always as they seem.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Fingersmith about?

    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a gripping historical novel set in Victorian England. It tells the story of Sue Trinder, a young orphan who is drawn into a plot to defraud a wealthy heiress. Full of twists and turns, the book explores themes of betrayal, love, and the power dynamics between the characters.

    Fingersmith Review

    Fingersmith (2002) by Sarah Waters is a captivating historical novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Here's why this book is a must-read:

    • With its intricate plot twists and unexpected turns, it will leave you guessing until the very end.
    • Set in Victorian-era London, the book immerses you in a world of deception, betrayal, and secrets, painting a vivid picture of the era.
    • The complex and compelling characters will captivate you, making it impossible to put the book down.

    Who should read Fingersmith?

    • Readers who enjoy historical fiction with a twist
    • Those who appreciate complex and morally ambiguous characters
    • People interested in exploring themes of deception, identity, and betrayal

    About the Author

    Sarah Waters is a renowned British author known for her captivating historical fiction novels. With a focus on the Victorian era, Waters has received critical acclaim for her intricate storytelling and rich character development. Some of her other notable works include Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and The Night Watch. Through her writing, Waters brings to life the complexities of human relationships and the societal norms of the past.

    Categories with Fingersmith

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Fingersmith FAQs 

    What is the main message of Fingersmith?

    The main message of Fingersmith is the power of deception and manipulation in Victorian England.

    How long does it take to read Fingersmith?

    The reading time for Fingersmith varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Fingersmith a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Fingersmith is an intriguing and captivating book. It's definitely worth reading for its suspenseful plot and well-developed characters.

    Who is the author of Fingersmith?

    Fingersmith is written by Sarah Waters.

    What to read after Fingersmith?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Fingersmith, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
    • Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
    • Collapse by Jared Diamond
    • Immortality by Stephen Cave
    • In Pursuit of the Unknown by Ian Stewart
    • The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark
    • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    • From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra
    • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
    • Hannibal and Me by Andreas Kluth