The Night Watch

Sarah Waters

The author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith has jumped forward in time from her usual Victorian setting to give us this new novel, set in London around World War II. But the most noteworthy point about The Night Watch is that its own narrative moves backward in time, starting with a group of apparently disparate characters in the years immediately after the war and then unfolding the ways in which they’re all connected—or rather, were connected. This is no “what happens next” story; it is, instead, a “how they got here” story. Waters writes compellingly, with fascinating characters; her descriptions of the horrors of London’s bombings, an illegal abortion and the inside of a prison are gut-wrenching. The only disadvantage is that readers—rather than the characters—get all the “a-ha” moments.