“Now I have more freedom than I ever had at any time in my life, and I do only the things I always have.”

Affinity – a feeling of closeness and understanding that someone has for another person because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests.

This book was not easy to get into. I’m neither a fan of Dickensian tales of woe nor of paranormal or supernatural stories, so for most of this book I was not convinced I would finish it, never mind like it.

The structure of the book was difficult, too. Chapters jump back and forth in time, and the narrative changes between the characters. I kept having to go back and re-read passages to remember where about in the story I was at – and which character.

However, Waters’ writing detailing delicious descriptions of life in a Victorian women’s prison was awesome. So awesome in fact that I felt like I was there in the bleak and rigid clasp of fear and despair – haunted (haha) by the question if the supernatural could be real. In fact, having read most of the book at night now that the darkness has gripped us up here in the North, made Affinity the perfect read in the run up to Halloween.

Affinity, as the title suggests, explores the relationship between different people, focusing mostly on upper-middle-class Margaret Prior, who volunteers to become a lady visitor in a London prison, and Selina Dawes, a notorius medium who has been sent down after being involved in a woman’s death. However, affinity applies to other relationships in the book and each of them serves to paint a picture of the main character, Margaret Prior, and her struggle with life in London society during the 1870s.

As I mentioned, the book was a bit of a struggle for me at first but very rewarding in the end. The ending it self has been criticised by others, but I thought it was perfectly fitting, though not anywhere near as polished as the ending Waters’ later books.

3* (out of 5*)