The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
What’s it about?
This novel takes place in London in 1922. The First World War is over and London is still reeling from the deaths of so many young men. In this atmosphere, Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter Frances must take in boarders to make ends meet. Nothing will be the same after Mr. and Mrs. Barber move into the house.
What did it make me think about?
The historical time period was interesting. You forget how many freedoms we now enjoy that men (and especially women) did not enjoy in 1922.
Should I read it?
I enjoyed this book but thought it was a little wordy at times. Much like “The Goldfinch”, I felt like the book would have been better had they cut out about 50 pages. Having said that, it was a totally unexpected story. Some will love it and some will not. None of the characters were particularly likable and that is an obstacle for me. Because of that, I enjoyed it but did not love it.
“Like the parted kimono, the sounds were unsettling; the silence was most unsettling of all. Sitting at her bureau a short time before, Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms- as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, shuffling backward over the tiles, this what it really meant to have lodgers: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and Mrs. Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door.”
Did anyone else think it wordy?
favorites from 2020
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!