April 4, 2011

Affinity Readalong: Part 2

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Just so you know, I am going to be spoiling the plot left and right here. I want to discuss it with Andi and the gang. You were warned!

So in my last post on Affinity, I discussed Part 1 and 2. Now the rest of the story.

Margaret's sister gets married and sets Margaret's life onto one path: companion to her mother. What a pain in the rear that woman is. "Read to me, blah, blah." It's as if she feels she needs to make a slave of her because she won't be marrying. Margaret's life reminds me of Valancy's in The Blue Castle. Margaret continues visiting Selina in prison and becomes more and more enamored with her after every visit. I had a very bad feeling about it all, especially when she gets the idea to break out of prison with the help of her spirits.

I couldn't believe this intelligent woman was falling for it. I was so hard to read it. I knew it wouldn't turn out well, at the same time I wanted Selina to materialize in Margaret's room some night. I knew she was conning her but couldn't figure out how. Who was helping her? I figured Mrs Jelf was involved but how? When it all came together at the end, it all made sense. It was a complicated con though.

What an evil pair. How could they not guess what Margaret would do when they ran off, especially with her history? They were murdering her. On the other hand, wouldn't they have ended up like Margaret themselves if they followed 'the rules' of society? I think Selina had one moment of empathy, when she hugged Margaret before she escaped. She knew that was it for her. I think things would have been different for Margaret had her father still been alive. He really had looked out for her and seems she was his favorite.

It was upsetting to see how Selina and Ruth took advantage of the women they were conning. These were women with such huge losses or emotional and mental weaknesses. Selina knew just the right thing to say or do. What I don't quite understand is Peter Quick. Was he an alias of Ruth's or did Selina really have some power? I couldn't figure that out. And what was going on in that closet?

Affinity brought up so many issues of the Victorian age, the prison system, spiritualism, sexuality, unmarried women, and the class system. Did you notice how worked up Margaret got about Selina being referred to as Dawes in the prison? Yet, what went on in her own home- Cook, Vigers? No one had first names? And not to mention how the servants were treated like pieces of furniture. They knew everything and that's how Ruth could learn all she did and sidle right in.

Sarah Waters is a brilliant writer. I'm amazed at how she can make you think about so many different issues while at the same time telling a suspenseful story. I can't stop thinking about it. She's definitely at the top of my favorite author list now.

6 comments :

  1. I only read the last paragraph to avoid spoilers (thanks for the warning)I'm glad you enjoyed it, I brought this the other day from a 2nd hand bookstore but I want to read the Nightwatch first.

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  2. Oh goodie...I finished the book yesterday, but won't post about it til next week.

    So. Margaret. I, too, was frustrated by her gullibility. Maybe all those drugs she was taking had something to do with it?

    Ruth's involvement was a shocker. I wasn't expecting that. I knew there was a con going on, but didn't think about who all might be involved. I guess that just reinforces that the servants really were invisible.

    And Peter. Yeah. Still wondering about him.

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  3. I read Affinity last month - wow, I love Sarah Waters! What an amazing book it was, creepy and mysterious. I didn't trust Selina but how I wished I could. I loved seeing this other side of Victorian London, and how Ms Waters left some questions unanswered - who *was* Peter Quick? Have you read Waters' latest novel The Little Stranger? I highly recommend it.

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  4. Jessica- Enjoy!

    Jill- I never thought of that but it could be that she was so drugged out she couldn't separate reality from fantasy.

    Katie- I wanted Selina to be the real deal too. Poor Margaret. I did read The Little Stranger. I loved it!

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  5. I loved this book! I could not figure out how it was going to end either, didn't see it coming. Waters is a great writer

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