I have no idea where I got this recommendation, but I put it on hold at the library and started reading it without knowing a single thing about it. (Very unlike me.)
It read like a Dickens or a Bronte book, both in terms of plot/setting and writing style. The dialog had that sort of stiltedness that makes you wonder if people actually talked like that or if authors just didn’t represent regular speech very well. (e.g. “‘Oh! Oh!’ I cried. ‘What am I to do now?’” I have never known anyone who cried, “Oh! Oh!” But neither ‘ave I lived in Victorian England, old boy, ‘ave I?)
Once I got into the style of it, though, I was fascinated by it. The plot twisted and turned and went sideways into some entirely unexpected places. It’s about thieves and con artists and lesbians and creepy old men and people doing good things and terrible things.
This one stuck with me for awhile, and kept me hooked. I took it on a business trip, and while I was at a reception drinking other people’s liquor I wanted to be back in my hotel room reading it.