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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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5795717,082 (3.14)76
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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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Becky placed this book on her “read enough of it to be happy” shelf. I read the entire book and I still am not happy. I realize that there was supposed to be some humor in the way that the book was written, but I found it merely annoying. Having been required to translate from Caesar’s Gallic Wars in high school Latin classes, I found myself having flashbacks of academic pain regarding those endeavors. Few sentences exist in this novel without numerous subordinate clauses, a plethora of adjectives, way too many adverbs, and even more commas than are contained in this review. If the book were much longer, it would have been difficult to complete, but, having been taught to finish what I start, I dutifully read every last page. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
This tried to hard to be many books, it tried to be a comedy of manners, but left out most of the comedy; it tried to be a gothic novel, but failed to raise the tension to make it truly that. It feels like a vaguely magical realistic period piece with unlikeable characters and I just didn't care enough about what happened.

The Torrington family are struggling, great dilapidated pile of a house, daughter turning 20 and now a train crash has landed them with several survivors. Only the survivors aren't of their class, and they're not sure how to deal with them. But what's going on isn't obvious and it will change the people involved.

I didn't care, wish I had stopped reading after the 30 pages or so that I found tedious because it didn't change, no matter how much I wanted it to. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Aug 11, 2015 |
The Torringtons live on an estate that is about to be foreclosed upon. It is the eve of eldest daughter Emerald’s birthday and despite everything they are determined to welcome their invited guests and celebrate properly. After seeing off their stepfather, who is going on an attempt to stave off the foreclosure, they are informed of a nearby train wreck and the fact that they are to receive the survivors until the railway company can arrange to pick them up. Sure enough, a small group of shell-shocked people soon arrive on their doorstep. Something is not quite right about the group, and they are given tea and shut into the morning room, so as not to interrupt the birthday festivities. Neither the survivors nor the homeowners are happy about the arrangement and sure enough, chaos ensues. Chaos is given a hearty helping hand by a single mysterious stranger who seems to know much more about the family than he should.

I was expecting to like this book. It is billed as a combination mystery, ghost story and English social comedy. For me it was none of the above. Oh, there were humourous moments, and some mystery, but overall it just failed to deliver because everything seemed so improbable. I know its fiction, but still? It lacked the elegance of a good Edwardian story. The only saving grace in this book is the character of Smudge, the youngest daughter. She charmingly walks to the beat of her own drum and for the most part also cannot fathom what is happening in her own home. A feeling she had in common with this reader.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (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
First words
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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