The Uninvited Guests

The Uninvited Guests

Book - 2012 | 1st U.S. ed.
Average Rating:
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"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."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2012.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780062116512
9780062116505
Characteristics: 262 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Edward Swift departs
A dreadful accident
Smelts and smithereens
A most unpleasant game
Abandon
The resting place
The starlight bath
Edward Swift returns.
Summary: "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."--Dust jacket.

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e
Earlgrey454
Mar 11, 2018

I very much liked several of Sadie Jones' other novels, but this one seemed like she was trying too hard to write a period piece, and it wasn't working. Stopped reading after awhile.

c
CAB208
Nov 04, 2017

I really enjoyed this book. The author writes deftly and her humour ranges from subtle and understated wit to laugh-out-loud goofiness. Sadie Jones has a ear for class differences in dialect and an eye for the costumes and decor of an English country house. The Edwardian period in which the story is set really came alive for me. Each character is unique and very humanly quirky and flawed. Though the ending was a bit over the top, it was still very satisfying. At just over 230-some pages, it felt as if not a word was wasted in the telling of this delightful tale.

p
pozrob
Aug 29, 2017

What a snore. I should of just stuck to Masterpiece Mystery on PBS.

u
unabridgedchick
Aug 11, 2017

I loved this book. I loved Jones' writing style, her language, her use of words -- I literally was jubilant while reading, delighted by the multifaceted bounce of her narrative and dialogue. The text of this novel had personality, was a character in this story, and the tale it offered captured me from the first line.

To me, the characters were quite flawed but so human, I felt rather tenderly toward them, even Charlotte (who I think is the most despicable, mostly for her treatment of her children). This is a family raised in Victorian mores and ideals, living in an Edwardian society of flashy beauty and changing values, formerly affluent but now dependent on the possibility of a loan to keep them afloat. When I closed the book, I could say I loved every single character in this novel -- every one. They were real, anchored solidly by Jones' marvelous turn-of-phrase (the dialogue! the descriptive passages!) and given flight by the ludicrous and chilling plot. There's a madcap pace to the end of the novel that strained credulity (and shockingly, it wasn't the supernatural elements!) but I loved it for pushing me past my expectations.

Part domestic drama, part class exploration, part spoof on English country life, The Uninvited Guests is a fascinating, creepy, and moving look at obligation, motivation, and loyalty. Gushingly recommended.

s
SteveDudley
Jun 15, 2017

book was too dark and unbelievable. It looked like she was trying to channel Downton Abbey without the levity. Stopped a third of the way through, so actually not officially "completed".

CRRL_VirginiaJohnson Jun 08, 2017

A quietly chilling take on Edwardian society. Set in the same time-frame as the early episodes of Downton Abbey, an aristocratic family fallen on hard times has unexpected visitors.

orange_turtle_200 Jul 25, 2014

I loved this book because it showed how people of a different class think different of everyone else that isn't in their class. But throughout the book they all find a way to come together. I loved the atmosphere and setting of it it did feel like a downton abbey related book

u
uncommonreader
May 26, 2014

An Edwardian ghost story, improbable, inconsistent, fun and quite well done.

a
artemishi
Aug 27, 2013

The Uninvited Guests was a delightfully surprising read. It's set in Edwardian England, amid a family whose finances are in dire straits. Each member of this ensemble is fully fleshed out, both utterly believable and beautifully flawed. I wasn't sure what to make of it, at first, but I think I can solidly say it's an historical fiction.

It's also, of course, a gothic mystery. I found myself very fond of Emerald, Florence, and Smudge. It was a relatively quick read, and fun. Fans of Downton Abbey will like it, I think- it isn't all upstairs vs downstairs (although there is some of that), but it's humorous in language, involves a heavy dose of magical realism, and there's some intrigue.

o
ottrosa51
Jul 26, 2013

I read this book for my book club. I felt it started out well but I lost interest midway through. 5 out of 6 book club members gave it a thumbs down.

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