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Summary

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 prison's 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.

©1999 Sarah Waters (P)1999 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Spooky, spellbinding, exquisitely written . . . I do believe Waters is on the way to becoming a major literary star" (Val Hennessy)
"Indeed, this is such a brilliant writer that her readers would believe anything she told them" (A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail)
"Refined, repressed and simmering . . . a delicious tale of Victorian spiritualism" (Mel Steel, Independent on Sunday)

What listeners say about Affinity

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Slow going at first but speeds up well.

Yet another frustrated spinster is the heroine of this book until she finds a project to occupy her time by becoming a prison visitor. In the prison she comes under the spell of a prisoner called 'Dawes' and gradually she is drawn into the world of spiritism. As the story unfolds we understand that 'Aurora' had been in love with her brother's wife and had suffered a nervous breakdown from disappointed expectations. This has led her mother to treat her with various opiates. I think the historical detail is wonderful and the Victorian world recreated in a most convincing fashion. I don't know whether it is the pace of the narrator's reading which gave me the impression of a rather slow moving story through the first part of the book. It did seem to be slightly tedious at times. However the pace really picked up in the second part and the ending was marvellous. The debunking of the spiritism was very well done indeed. In spite of the slow start I would reccommend this book as it is a very enjoyable read on the whole.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Immensely enjoyable

Wonderful writing and brilliantly acted. The narrator has a fine skill for different character voices. Sarah Waters' novels are always excellent and this is no exception.

5 people found this helpful

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Heart - melting Twist!

Affinity is on my Masters reading list, and I decided to get the audiobook and save myself some time trying to fit the reading into my day - really worth it. MacMahon has a real knack for finding each character's voice, and really brings Waters's words to life - going to have to take some time to process that ending though!

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

The in improbable made readable

I found that despite my misgivings of the setting, it was a worthwhile read.
Nothing explicit, very romantic, but enjoyable

4 people found this helpful

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So interesting and a great twist

I really enjoyed this book, although the twist wasn't that unexpected, it still made me gasp. I loved the readingn, I thought it was well done and did the story justice.

3 people found this helpful

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Seriously bad ending. I really disappointed ☹️

After struggling all the way through this book, I have I have never been so disappointed. I have enjoyed others she wrote, and I but this was long and drawn out for a really bad end definitely thumbs down ☹️

1 person found this helpful

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Slow burn but held you once captured!

Found it slow and the old voices a little grating at first but glad I stuck with it. Couldn’t stop listening once engaged: locked in. 👏🏻

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Disappointing end for the romantics

Great book, good story, well written. I guess not all romantic novels can end in happily ever after so for that reason I still give it a four and not the 3 I would like to for the disappointing end for us romantics.

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Tedious

Interesting plot well delivered but extremely long in the telling. If the author had cut out the irrelevant flashbacks and some of the pointless “character insights“ this would have been an excellent book

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Claustrophobic Spooky Thrills

This novel is dense and full of the neurotic daydreams and fantasies of the troubled main characters.

It takes place in Autumn and Winter so best to read it when the nights are drawing in, wrapped up on the sofa!!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-03-21

A bit Laborious to be honest.

The plot twist is more of a form of euthanasia to mercifully end the tedium.