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Literature: Fingersmith

The third novel by British author Sarah Waters, Fingersmith tells the story of Victorian thief Sue Trinder, who agrees to help con sheltered heiress Maud Lilly out of her inheritance, but The Plan begins to go awry when she finds herself falling in love with the innocent and beautiful Maud.

The book was later turned into a popular BBC miniseries.


Contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Gentleman. He's a well-dressed dandy who can effortlessly charm the ladies, but has no actual sexual interest in them. It's left rather unclear in the book, though, whether he's actually a Depraved Homosexual (Word of God confirmed that he is indeed gay).
    • Charles just really wants to be with Mr. Rivers despite knowing he's wicked and being Stupid Good himself.
  • Anti-Villain: Mrs. Sucksby is remarkably sympathetic for someone who condemned her adoptive daughter to a Fate Worse than Death in order to get her biological daughter back, as well as a whole lot of money. It helps that she seems to feel regretful almost immediately, and that she takes the blame for the murder of Gentleman
  • Battleaxe Nurse: Nurse Bacon and her coworkers certainly fit.
  • Becoming the Mask: Both Maude and Sue.
  • Bedlam House: Sue ends up here and Maud was raised here.
  • Broken Bird: Maud... oh so much. Sue as well
  • Broken Pedestal: Both Sue and Maud have this done to them numerous times.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Gentleman fits this trope surprisingly well for being written by a putatively gay-friendly author.
  • Double Entendre: The title.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Evil Plan: It all starts with conmen trying to swindle an heiress....
  • Fake Mark: Maud
  • Gambit Pileup: What starts as an Evil Plan on the part of Gentleman and Sue turns out to be part of Gentleman and Maude's plan. Which, in the end, was all orchestrated by Mrs. Sucksby, unbeknownst to anyone.
  • Gene Hunting: Inverted and deconstructed. Mrs. Sucksby tries to exchange her adoptive daughter for her biological daughter who's been raised by a rich family (she thinks the girl will love her just by virtue of being her biological daughter — she's wrong).
  • Genre Savvy: Maud's read enough lesbian erotica to know how to pretend to be seduced.
  • Girls Love: Sue and Maud. Yes, they go all the way ...and survive.
  • Go Among Mad People
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mrs. Sucksby. Also, Gentleman, who understands other people very well and uses the insights against them.
  • Old Dark House
  • Ominous Fog
  • Smug Snake: Gentleman.
  • Switched at Birth: Maud and Sue.
  • Victorian London
  • Unwitting Pawn: Subverted with Maude and Sue.
  • Wham Line: That bitch knew everything. She was in it from the start.
    • My own dear girl.

Sally LockhartVictorian LondonTime Scout
The Beebo Brinker ChroniclesQueer MediaMagical Girl Academy
Elemental LogicGay and Lesbian FictionThe Fosters
Fevre DreamHistorical Fiction LiteratureFlashman
FingerprintsLiterature of the 2000sFire Bringer

alternative title(s): Fingersmith
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