I like nothing better than an atmospheric, Victorian novel. Man, I got that and more with the Sarah Waters‘ novel Affinity. What a spectacular book that had this smug reader thinking I had the ending figured out, only to be totally humbled when I read the last few pages.
Margaret Prior, an upper-class spinster, is advised by her physician to become a “lady visitor” to help with her delicate constitution. As a visitor, Margaret enters the women’s ward at Millbank prison and is like a fish out of water, having never encountered this class of women, both prisoners and prison matrons alike. As she increases her visits she becomes more comfortable and takes a particular interest in one special prisoner. Selina is a young spiritualist who is accused of murder and assault. Margaret befriends Selina and is captivated by the young woman and her abilities to talk to the spirits. Margaret is convinced Selina has been wrongly accused and ultimately plots the escape of the fragile prisoner.
A gloomy prison setting, the appearance of ghosties and spirits and a psychological, gothic thriller to boot, you can’t go wrong picking up this great Victorian novel!