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Affinity (1999)

by Sarah Waters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,9811243,158 (3.74)273
"An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women's ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London's grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank's murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by one apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a seance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman profoundly disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina's gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina's freedom, and her own."--Jacket.… (more)
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English (120)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
I picked this up expecting it to be entertaining fluff like 'Tipping the Velvet', but I was actually far more impressed by this than I was by Waters' first novel. The protagonist here is far more likeable than Nan, in my opinion, and there is a darker feel to the book, due in part to it being set in a prison, but also due to the plot itself. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
This book is a masterpiece of plot, characterization, and style. But it made my heart hurt too much for me to love it. ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
Another Victorian gothic from Waters. This one certainly can't be described as a thriller, as its pace is slow and fairly lacking in drama. I kept waiting to get a hint of what she was up to, and when I thought I had, she finally revealed the twist, and then I felt a little stupid not to have suspected something. The ultimate ending, however, did not surprise me. The narrator is Margaret Prior, a troubled young woman who has suffered a mental breakdown ending in a suicide attempt after her father's death. The rest of her family doesn't get her at all, and shows very little interest in trying to. There are hints of a romantic attachment to the woman who eventually married Margaret's brother; her sister Priscilla is totally absorbed in plans for her own wedding and honeymoon trip to Italy, while Mother is only concerned with propriety and appearances. Margaret takes up the role of "Lady Visitor" at the women's wards Millbank Prison, which is as gothic and horrid a hell-hole as you can imagine. The details of life for women convicted of everything from petty theft to murder are grimly fascinating, if you are of a mind to be fascinated by such things. Margaret naturally becomes somewhat unnaturally attached to one woman, who introduces her to the concept of spiritualism (meaning contact with the dead). This can't end well, we know, but Margaret finds her visits with Selina to be high points in her dreary life, and she begins to imagine a future...well, that's enough. If you're in the mood to drift along through a couple hundred pages of good writing where nothing much happens, to get to the "aha" moment, this is a decent read. Not up to Waters' best efforts (Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith), but not many things are. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Nov 9, 2019 |
This was so wonderfully written that I cried at the horrifyingly cruel ending.
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William James MEOW Date: Sunday, July 15. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era) ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
This was so wonderfully written that I cried at the horrifyingly cruel ending.
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William James MEOW Date: Sunday, July 15. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era) ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abrams, ErikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ascari, FabrizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
中村有希訳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsson, Irja M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gawlik-Małkowska, MagdalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ghersini, TeodoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Retterbush, StefanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sørensen, Henrik EnemarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
林玉葳Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Сафронова, АлександраTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
אינגה מיכאליTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Affinity ( [2008]IMDb)
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To Caroline Halliday
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I was never so frightened as I am now.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Set in and around the women's prison at Milbank in the 1870's , AFFINITY is an eerie and utterly compelling ghost story, a complex and intriguing literary mystery and a poignant love story with an unexpected twist in the tale. Following the death of her father, Margaret Prior has decided to pursue some 'good work' with the lady criminals of one of London's most notorious gaols. Surrounded by prisoners, murderers and common thieves, Margaret feels herself drawn to one of the prisons more unlikely inmates - the imprisoned spiritualist - Selina Dawes. Sympathetic to the plight of this innocent-seeming girl, Margaret sees herself dispensing guidance and perhaps friendship on her visits, little expecting to find herself dabbling in a twilight world of seances, shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions.
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