'The Uninvited Guests'
Author: Sadie Jones
Published: Harper; May 2012
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis: One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor—and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.
The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band of visitors is not invited to taste. But nothing, it seems, will go according to plan. As the passengers wearily search for rest, the house undergoes a strange transformation. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels.
Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant parlor game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.
The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises—where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety—and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.
My Take: After reading Small Wars by Sadie Jones (click on title for my review) and choosing it as one of my top picks of 2011, you better believe I couldn't wait to get my hands on Jones' latest novel: The Uninvited Guests. While both are historical fiction, they are vastly different in their storytelling styles. I would say that they are both slow to evolve but I was hooked from the get go with Small Wars and there was nothing to keep me turning the pages in The Uninvited Guests.
Jones' latest novel is set in the English countryside at a large manor at the beginning of the 20th Century. Honestly when I first started the book I got visions of Downton Abbey and I started to get so excited because how could I not want to read a book that reminds me of it to keep it in my mind when the show is not around. However, there are characters that I feel strongly about and want to root for in that show. This was not the case in this story. The Uninvited Guests takes place all in one day, centering around the 20th birthday of the daughter of the heads of the household: Emerald.
The large manor in which this family lives, Sterne, is on the edge of being lost by the family. They are quickly running out of money. So the man of the house, the children's stepfather and the wife's second husband, is gone for a lot of the day trying to drum up money. This leaves us with the wife, the two eldest children, and then the youngest child and the help. The wife and the two oldest children are awful people. They basically have no redeeming qualities. So it was hard to want to read a book about them throwing a party for someone so horrible and feel bad about a bunch of horrible people losing their home. Am I suppose to feel sympathy for them? Because I don't.
Naturally, there is more to the story in this one day then just a birthday party. Things happen to trip it up but if I were to tell you about these plot twists it would ruin the story for you so I shall let you read it yourself! And if you are a big fan of Edwardian England and slower paced stories then you might find you do get a lot more out of this one than I did.
If you have read it, I want to hear what you think of it.
For other opinions on this book, please check out the full TLC Tour here!
Cover Lust: The published version is so vastly different then that which is on my ARC and it looks so lovely! I think they made a great choice.
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