The Night Watch, Sarah Waters
You can’t be let down by a Sarah Waters book, can you?
The best part of this novel is the use of time: set in three parts the book works backwards through 1947, 1944 and 1941. I can’t think of another book I’ve read that manages to do this so successfully – I was completely hooked on finding out why characters acted the way they did, and what secrets their pasts contained.
The war time setting is executed perfectly: you get a very vivid sense of what the raids and fire storms were like for the people living in London at the time. There is also a medical scene I read during my lunch break at work that made me feel like I was going to faint because it was so realistically written. I also enjoyed the focus on women’s roles during WWII – there is a real mix of jobs and relationships beyond the surface.
I loved the characters, their stories mingled together in a way that didn’t seemed really natural, the affairs were brilliant… After a slightly slow start this turned out to be a great book.
Now she became aware of the minutes as they passed: she felt them, suddenly, for what they were, as fragments of her life, her youth, that were rushing away like so many drops of water, never to return.
Sarah Waters, The Night Watch
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
I can’t remember the last time I read a book that had a plot twist so unexpected that my jaw literally dropped. Fingersmith had this effect! Lots of unusual events and characters from the fringes of Victorian society – all in all, very readable.
The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
This is one of the best books I’ve read in ages, a modern gothic classic in the making. Theres a perfect combination going on in this book between the psychologically creepy ghost story type elements during the background of a beautifully decaying post war georgian stately home. I wanted to wander around Hundreds Hall in its heighday… and stay well away when all the strange goings on were going on. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one weekend, as it got darker I could feel myself getting chills. Perfect.