The New York Times bestselling novel that has been called “a tour de force” (Wall Street Journal), “unputdownable” (The Washington Post), “a delicious hothouse of a novel” (USA Today), “effortless” (The Economist), “seductive” (Vanity Fair) and “pitch perfect” (Salon)
“Superb, bewitching…Forget about Fifty Shades of Grey; this novel is one of the most sensual you will ever read, and all without sacrificing either good taste or a "G" rating” – NPR
“One of the year’s most engrossing and suspenseful novels…a love affair, a shocking murder, and a flawless ending … Will keep you sleepless for three nights straight and leave you grasping for another book that can sustain that high.” — Entertainment Weekly (A rating)
“Volcanically sexy, sizzingly smart, plenty bloody and just plain irresistible." —USA Today (4 stars)
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.
Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waters’s finest achievement yet.
Depends on what you are looking for.
Intricate. Tense. Rich.
If you are here because you’ve read a lot of Sarah Waters, you will find this book interesting to compare to her others. All her books are different. This one even more so.
If you don’t know Sarah Waters, and you are here because The Paying Guests was on a book list, I recommend you start with Fingersmith or Affinity or even The Night Watch. If someone else had written it, it might had gotten 5 stars from me. I can’t explain why without giving away too much to Sarah Waters readers.
If you are here looking to be immersed in post-Great War London, this is your book. You won’t find a better researched and more descriptive book so set.
But not in a good way. The story is great. The narrator is great. The author is obviously brilliant. But it’s like running a full marathon when a half would have done the job.
This is a meticulously researched, beautifully written book about a scenario one could probably see coming-but I loved it nonetheless. All the little details create a world you can walk right into, straight to Champion Hill, to sit in the parlor and watch as the story unfolds. The ending wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it would be, but maybe it was more realistic.