I first came across Sarah Waters as a result of Tipping the Velvet being made into a TV series. Janet lent me the book and I enjoyed it, more so than the program. Since then I've bought both Fingersmith and now Affinity, but I figured I'd read this one first, since it was the one she wrote first. I'm not sure quite what I expected it to be. As usual I didn't read the blurb on the back before I started, since I've found in the past they often tend to have spoilers for quite some way into a book. So instead I just dove straight in and found myself in two different Victorian worlds, tied together through the spirtualist Selina Dawes. One is in the journal of Selina telling of her life leading up to a seance which went horribly wrong, and the other two years later in the journal Miss Margaret Prior and her work as a Lady Visitor to the prison in which Selina is now held. It's a fascinating tale, and all the way through you find yourself wondering how much of the magic is real and how much is just smoke and mirrors, but like the best magic tricks if it is a trick you can't see how it's done. It's a bleak tale in places, and a happy one in others. Much darker than I was expecting, but very much enjoyable.