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Sarah Waters books in order

Sarah Waters OBE, is a British multiple award-winning author of historical horror and mystery.

Born in Wales, several of her novels have received film adaptations, including Affinity (1999), Fingersmith (2002), and The Little Stranger (2009).

Fingersmith (2002), which inspired the film titled "The Handmaiden", was also adapted into a mini-series named after the book.

A decorated and accomplished author who has been feted with numerous awards, including the Betty Trask Award for Tipping the Velvet (1998), and the Somerset Maugham Award for Affinity (1999), Sarah was awarded with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her significant contributions to literature, a recognition she received during the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2019.

The author currently resides in London.

More about Sarah Waters

Genres: Historical Mystery, Horror

Born: 1966

United Kingdom


Non Series

  • Tipping the Velvet (1998)
  • Affinity (1999)
  • Fingersmith (2002)
  • The Night Watch (2006)
  • The Little Stranger (2009)
  • The Paying Guests (2014)


  1. Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House (Edited by Sarah Waters) (2010)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Tipping the Velvet

Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.

Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1573227889
Publisher: Riverhead Books

An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. 

Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. 

Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own.

Director: Tim Fywell
Cast: Zoë Tapper, Anna Madeley, Domini Blythe, Amanda Plummer, Mary Jo Randle, Caroline Loncq, Anne Reid, Vincent Leclerc, Anna Massey, Ferelith Young, Sara Gregory, Brett Watson
Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-1573228732
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

The Handmaiden
Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Kim Tae-ri, Yong-nyeo Lee, Min-chae Yoo, Dong-hwi Lee, Kim Hae-sook, Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Kyu-jung Lee, Si-eun Kim, Si-yeon Ha, Rina Takagi
Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-1573229722
Publisher: Riverhead Books
The Night Watch

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.

Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-1594482304
Publisher: Riverhead Books
The Little Stranger

One postwar summer, in his home in rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline. Its owners--mother, son, and daughter--are struggling to keep pace with a changing society. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

The Little Stranger
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Ruth Wilson, Liv Hill, Charlotte Rampling, Oliver Zetterström, Kathryn O'Reilly, Eddie Toll, Camilla Arfwedson, Tipper Seifert-Cleveland, Peter Ormond
Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0525541585
Publisher: Riverhead Books
The Paying Guests

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1594633928
Publisher: Riverhead Books


Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House (Edited by Sarah Waters)

Dancing with Mr. Darcy is a sterling collection of short stories inspired by beloved novelist Jane Austen and Chawton House, her longtime home. 

Edited by Sarah Waters, a bestselling author shortlisted for Great Britain’s Booker Prize, this exceptional anthology features the winning entries in the Jane Austen Short Story Award 2009, a literary competition which celebrates the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s arrival in the village of Chawton, where she spent the most productive years of her writing life. 

Any reader who’s been captivated by Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, or the other unforgettable excursions into Austen’s literary world will find Dancing with Mr. Darcy an unparalleled delight.

Author: Sarah Waters
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0061999062
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks