Book Review: The Paying Guests

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Title: The Paying Guests
Author: Sarah Waters
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover 
Source: Giveaway
Rating: ★★★★1/2
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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.

My Review: 

I've heard a lot about this novel when it first came out and was hyped a lot by readers and bloggers online. This is my first Sarah Waters novel and I quite honestly didn't know what to expect. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this novel was and how crazy the story ends up being. The synopsis sets up the reader with everything you really need to know and introduces you to a post-WWI London, where society is struggling to realize that the 'old world' Victorian era and attitudes will never come back again. 

I really loved how realistic all the characters sounded, from the variety of social classes they all were from and how they reacted and interacted with one another. The novel starts off slow, building all the characters that live on Champion Hill and the friendship, and eventual relationship, between Lilian and Frances. 

I won't spoil any of the plot in this review, and I think that the less you know about The Paying Guests before picking it up, the better your reading experience will be.

The Paying Guests is a slow burner for the first third of the story and then speeds up and gets really insane for the rest of it. It's entertaining and Waters is a beautiful writer, carrying the story effortlessly. 

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and the narrator, Juliet Stevenson, did a brilliant job and I had to shout her out. Her accents were amazing. 

I completly recommend The Paying Guests. It's entertaining, and has lots of drama and twists throughout it's 500+ pages. 

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is available here

-Amanda Leon

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1 comment :

  1. What a grotesque tale. Details of her attempt to abort her baby-not for me. Disturbing. The book has been thrown out of my home.