Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
Affinity - Sarah Waters This book started very slow and it was only at the urging of a good friend that I continued reading it. I'm grateful for the push because by Part Two of this book, I found it impossible to put down. It is the story of Margaret and Selina--a proper, but very sad, lady of wealth and education; and a spiritual medium. Taking place in Victorian England, this book is similar only in location and era to her first book Tipping the Velvet--which is a very good thing. There are lesbian undertones to this book, but as much of the action takes place in a women's prison, it is not forced or unexpected, and actually gives the book much of its tension. Margaret, suffering from the physical loss of her father and the emotional loss of her 'friend', begins visiting a local women's prison as a kind of social service--to inspire the lowly criminals to repent. There, she meets Selina Dawes, a notorious medium who was imprisoned after a client of hers died under mysterious conditions. It is Margaret who seems to gain improvement from her visits, and this starts the series of events that make this book both expected and heartbreaking.I guessed around what Waters' twist was: I suspected--as I think we all were invited to--that Selina was a fraud but hoped--again, as I think we were all to--that Margaret's feelings were true, and that Selina and her would have a happy life together. I enjoyed this book a thousand times more than Tipping the Velvet but still have the same complaints: Waters is overly wordy and long-winded at times, and tries to create an 'authentic' Victorian feel to her novel by replicating the syntax and style of a 19th century novel in a way that feels forced.Right now I am most curious about the book jacket on the hardcover edition, which is more mysterious and iconic than the paperback edition, which is a virtual articulation of the plot. The first image actually feels more true to the story for me--the figure in shroud is an image of all the women in the book, really; all half-dead and shadowy, pale aspects of their full self. The second cover forces the reader to consider Selina as the major player and motivator in this book, and potentially removes the chance that the reader will see something more archetypal in the characters, their stories, and their reactions.