I had used to wash the chamber-pots, at home. Now, seeing Margaret tip my piddle into her bucket, I was not sure I liked it. But I said, 'Thank you, Margaret'—then wished I hadn't; for she heard it and tossed her head, as if to say, Who did I think I was, thanking her?Cor. I have come rather late to Sarah Waters - this was published in 2002 - but this was an amazing delve into the depths of Victorian London (and Surrey), with seedy plans of the lower and upper classes intersecting, and a deranged conspiracy dragging the two young women protagonists into collision with other people's greed. There is some intense (but not at all explicit) lesbian sex; if anything the similar scene in Proust is more shocking. The shock factor here is the sheer nastiness of Victorian society and the desperation that drives everyone. A fantastic read.
This came simultaneously to the top of my piles of unread books by women, unread non-genre fiction, and unread books acquired this year. The next in all three sequences is The Little Stranger by the same author. Can't wait.