As soon as Sue arrives at Briar, the foreshadowing begins with phrases such as “I thought I knew all about (Maude). Of course, I knew nothing” which leads us quickly to believe there will be a twist to this story at some point. And lo and behold there is! There are actually quite a few. Overall, I think the twists were pretty clever but that’s about all the good I have to say about this book. I think that may be because the first twist took the story completely off track from the reason I picked the book up in the first place. I enjoyed the idea of con men and thieves and deceit but the main character who was supposed to be doing all of that was relatively dumb and all of the characters that continued to be introduced were just as ignorant. I don’t think I found any character I actually enjoyed throughout the whole book other than maybe Charley Wag, the dog.
As far as writing style goes, I understand the author’s goal of creating a Victorian novel but she fell very short. There were long periods of lag time between the twists and instead of using these times for character development; they seemed more for passing time and filling up pages. I also hated the “love story.” I have read a lot of classics and Austen and Dickens do a great job of developing love stories set in this time period and while it is drier than more contemporary literature, you still understand how the relationship developed. There was none of that in this book. I don’t want to spoil anything but I feel like the love story in this book started out as shock value and the author just ran with it. This book was not what I thought it would be and not in a good way.