Title: The Paying Guests
Author: Sarah Waters
Publisher: Riverhead Books, September 2014
Summary/Review: I have never read the fiction of Sarah Waters before, but I am happy to have now read The Paying Guests. She writes beautifully – creating characters that you can literally see and hear in your own head as you read the book.
The story begins at the dusk of the Edwardian era, a few years after the end of World War I. Frances lives with her mother in what was previously a grand house. They have fallen on hard times. Frances’ father is dead, after having mismanaged the family fortune and a brother has died in the War. In order to make ends meet, they must take in paying guests — a matter of some shame.
The Barbers, a young middle class, perhaps lower middle class couple, take rooms on the second floor. They are young, stylish in their way, and are a product of a new society growing in England that has tossed aside the trappings of propriety of the past.
The author slowly unfolds the plot to reveal events that would never be understood or tolerated at this time in English society. Then the final unforgivable act takes place– and it is a fast and furious ride all the way to the end of the novel. So hang on.
Who will like this?: Those interested in period novels that describe post WWI-era. Someone looking for a gripping novel.
If you like this, try this: If you’re interested in the 1920’s, the standard is “Great Gatsby”. However, you could also try Hemingway or Fitzgerald. If you liked Sarah Waters’ writing, you could try her other novels including “The Night Watch” and “Affinity”.
Recommended by: Susan Z, Reference
Does this look like a book you’d like? Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!