Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

It is 1922 and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out of work and the hungry are demanding change. And in the south of the city, on genteel Champion Hill, in a hushed Camberwell villa still recovering from the devastating losses of the First World War, life is about to be transformed.

Widowed Mrs. Wray and her daughter, Frances, an unmarried woman with an interesting past, now on her way to becoming a spinster find themselves obliged to take in lodgers.

The arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class' brings unsettling things with it: gramophone music, colour, fun. Open doors offer Frances glimpses of the newcomers' habits, Sounds travel from their rooms to hers and the staircase and landing have never seemed so busy.

As she and Lilian are drawn into an unexpected friendship, loyalties begin to shift. Secrets are confessed, dangerous desires admitted; the most ordinary of lives, it seems, can explode into passion and drama. And in the house on Champion Hill, no one can forsee just how far the disturbances will reach.

This is the best book I have read in a while. I am a big fan of Sarah Waters and I trust her to turn out quality writing with each new book. Whilst my favourite of her novels remains to be Affinity she has in no way disappointed me with this excellent book.

This book deals with relationships and the myriad of ways that people interact with one another. It also considers the ripple effect that the friendship between two people has on the others around us.

However, this book is about much more than relationships. It is an excellent thriller with the intensity of a courtroom drama to boot. With this being a vital part of the narrative there is so much to hold the readers attention. I found myself thinking about this book alot between reading sessions and I couldn't get back to it quickly enough.

It is no surprise to me that this book  is on the Shortlist for the Baileys Prize for Fiction for 2015 and I would be equally unsurprised if it wins the title. This is another excellent novel from the pen of the brilliant Sarah Waters and I highly recommend this to everyone.

Due for release in paperback on 4th June this book can be pre-ordered from for a mere £3.85 which is a bargain for this brilliant book. However, don't forget your local library and bookshop will be carrying copies too.

ISBN:  978 0349004365

Publisher:  Virago

Price (based on today at £10.00

About the Author:

She is best known for her first novel, Tipping the Velvet, as well the novels that followed, including AffinityFingersmith, and The Night Watch.

Sarah Waters is a British novelist. She was born in Wales in 1966. She has a Ph.D in English Literature and has been an associate lecturer with the Open University.  Before writing novels Waters worked as an academic, earning a doctorate and teaching. Waters went directly from her doctoral thesis to her first novel. It was during the process of writing her thesis that she thought she would write a novel; she began as soon as the thesis was complete.

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