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January 22, 2010

I already posted about how I was completely engaged with this novel because of the great surprises it  had in store.  I just finished it last night and have to say it was a terrific read.  (Another thanks to my aunt who gave me this book and kept after me to finally read it!)

We are introduced to three main characters: Sue, Maud and Gentleman.  Sheltered and strange, Maud lives with her eccentric  uncle at the Briar estate, maybe 40 miles outside of London.  Gentleman is the villain who convinces Sue to help him swindle Maud out of her fortune.

Not only is the story unique and full of unexpected twists and turns, but there is an underlying “rogue” storyline that Waters treats will a nonchalant attitude, which I loved.

When Sue comes to Briar to begin the swindling process, there is a scene in which she tells Maud she can read fortunes with playing cards.   Sue, of course, has rigged the deck and the final card should be the two of hearts.  But when she flips the last card, it is not as she had planned and the two of hearts is instead on the floor under Maud’s foot.  This card is now being stamped upon by an unexpected party, a person who has more control and power than we were originally lead to believe.  The card is now creased and is forever identifiable to both players.  The two of hearts reappears again in the novel, as a plea, a gesture of truce, but Sue misunderstands it.

Like Sue and Maud’s relationship, this playing card began as a tool of deceit.   The two of hearts comes full circle and the two hearts may not be the two we originally  expected.

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