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The Uninvited Guests: A Novel by Sadie Jones
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The Uninvited Guests: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Sadie Jones

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5755717,226 (3.16)75
Member:CharlevoixLibrary
Title:The Uninvited Guests: A Novel
Authors:Sadie Jones
Info:Harper (2012), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Untitled collection
Rating:
Tags:June 2012

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The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
"Edwardian counrty house tale ... in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed." Fanciful plot with interesting prose. ( )
  kewlgeek | Jun 30, 2015 |
The Uninvited Guests isn't exactly my usual reading but it kept up way past my bedtime because I really wanted to know what happened next.

The story opens at breakfast one spring morning in 1912 with Emerald's step-father about to depart for the city to see if he can arrange for the finances necessary for the family to remain in their home. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, preparations are beginning for Emerald's birthday dinner to which a childhood friend has been invited. As the morning proceeded I was reminded a bit of the set-up for a Wodehousian country week-end but by the time the expected guests were to arrive the inhabitants of Sterne were exasperated, overworked, and the youngest was planning a Great Undertaking. Then the Uninvited Guests arrived ...

This novel was very good although I can see why it might not be to everyone's taste.
  hailelib | Jun 1, 2015 |
Edwardian England. Comedy of manners and love almost gone wrong with a gothic flair. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | May 13, 2015 |
This is the first book that I've read by Sadie Jones. I read it knowing nothing about it, but that Jones is a well-respected author, the cover is striking and it was there on the English language shelf at the local bookstore. This is the kind of book which should be read all in one go, or as close to that as possible. It has the feel of an Oscar Wilde play, were Wilde to have written about a disastrous birthday party.

Emerald is turning twenty. Her stepfather, whom she does't love, but also doesn't hate the way her brother Clovis does, won't be there. He's on his way to Birmingham in a last ditch attempt to get the money that would allow them to stay in their beloved home. But her best friend, Patience, will be there, along with her brother. The housekeeper has prepared an elaborate menu, everyone is dressed up, including Clovis and Emerald's much younger sister, Smudge and the celebration is about to begin when news comes of a horrible train derailment on the branch line, and the survivors are to sheltered at Sterne until the railroad can collect them.

What follows is an unusual evening, where the celebrants try to continue as though nothing is different, and despite one of the travelers having insinuated himself into their festivities. The survivors, sequestered in the morning room, are growing increasingly unhappy and, it seems, numerous. And Smudge has brilliant plan of her own.

This is pure entertainment, of the kind involving crossed communications and new reactions to old friends, but also high comedy and an increasing feeling that things are very much not right. ( )
1 vote RidgewayGirl | May 8, 2015 |
The writing is light, delightful, witty, and perceptive from the first page of this comedy of manners. Which is a good thing because it carries it through much of the first third of the book which drags somewhat as the high expectations build but never reach fruition. But then the mock turtle soup breaks, spills all over the floor, and inaugurates a new and even more enthralling phase of the book.

The Unwanted Guests is set in England in 1912 and is an upstair-downstairs comedy, although the downstairs is somewhat reduced by the financial state of the family. It takes place in a 24-hour period that is meant to be a birthday party, and potential betrothal, for the daughter but goes badly awry when the third class passengers, plus one ostensible first class passenger, from a nearby train wreck show up for shelter. The increasingly noisy, ungrateful and apparently ever multiplying guests eat their way through everything as they spread around the house.

Against this backdrop, it is a Shakespeare-esque story in which the normal rules are suspended for a night, roles are reversed, unlikely romances form, discoveries are made, but all is restored by the daylight.

Overall, The Unwanted Guests is well-executed, unique, and mostly an enjoyable read--and it is even more enjoyable in retrospect. ( )
1 vote nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
How to describe The Uninvited Guests? Well, that's part of the fun. Sadie Jones' outstanding new novel starts out by offering mischievous echoes of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs -- tempered, however, by a somewhat unsentimental vision of a decaying Edwardian England foolishly complacent in its sense of privilege and entitlement. But by the end, we have landed somewhere else: into a surrealistic universe reminiscent of filmmaker Luis Bunuel at his most unsettling. Also, let it be noted, into an eerily convincing ghost story...Further evidence that Sadie Jones is a stunningly original writer. The Uninvited Guests is her best book yet.
 
Downton Abbey meets The Others, anyone?..The result is a playful and rollicking tale, with writing that crackles with originality and wit. The supernatural element is not truly frightening and never threatens to dominate proceedings; it instead acts as a conduit for the main characters' journeys.
 
Full marks to them for publishing it in a way that accurately reflects its complexities. All the same, some of Sadie Jones's readers are likely to be a little bewildered....The novel is a ghost story, but disappointingly the ghosts are sad or sinister rather than scary...Stylish, witty and inventive it may be, but The Uninvited Guests is perhaps too much about the writer at play to satisfy Sadie Jones's hungry fans.
 
The Woman in Black meets Downton Abbey in this happy marriage of ghost story and country house dramaSadie Jones's highly entertaining third novel seems perfectly conceived to appeal to two current popular tastes – our fascination with the Edwardian country house and the revival of the English ghost story. The Uninvited Guests marks a stylistic departure for Jones too – on the surface the tone is lighter and more comic than her two previous novels...ones shows that she can turn her talent for storytelling to a more stylised form with a light and playful touch, and without compromising her sharp insights into the human heart.
 
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Epigraph
Their table was a board to tempt even ghosts
to pass the Styx for more substantial feasts.

Don Juan, Lord Byron
Dedication
For
Fred, Tabitha, Daisy
with love
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Since her marriage to Edward Swift, three years after the sudden death of her first husband Horace Torrington, Charlotte had changed her position at the breakfast table in order to accomodate her new husband's needs: specifically, aiding him in the spreading of toast and cutting of meat, owing to his having suffered the loss of his left arm at the age of twenty-three in an unfortunate encounter with the narrow wheels of a speeding gig, out of which he had fallen on the driveway of his then home in County Wicklow.
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Book description
A party for Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday is being prepared when an accident takes place and uninvited guests seek shelter at the falling apart manor.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062116509, Hardcover)

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.

The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises—where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety—and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:05 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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