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In Victorian-era England, orphan Sue Trinder is taken in by den mother Mrs. Sucksby and grows up among an extended family of fingersmiths, or pickpockets. Sue is recruited into a high-level fleece and tasked with gaining the trust of a wealthy heiress, which she does, quickly, before realizing that she’s falling in love with her target. Published in 2002 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize the same year, this 19th-century-set mystery is filled to the brim with twists and turns, intricacies and intimacies. Sarah Waters is famous for infusing her stories with both lesbian love affairs and Dickensian flair. Fingersmith has spawned multiple stage and screen adaptations, with South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s film adaptation The Handmaiden premiering at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. —Meg Zukin

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