Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Uninvited Guests; Sadie Jones


Author:  Sadie Jones
Publication Year:  May 2012
Publisher: Harper
Edition: ARC
Setting: England
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 3/30/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

It's 1912 and a remote, rundown country manor in northern England is the setting for The Uninvited Guests -- that alone made me want to read this book. I was also intrigued by the fact the entire story takes place in a 24-hour period.

Charlotte Torrington Swift, her second and current husband Edward Swift, who she married soon after the death of her husband Horace, and children Emerald, Clovis and Imogene (Smudge) live at Stern House. The manor has been in the family for many many years. The Torrington-Swifts are having financial issues, and the family is on the verge of losing Stern House, the home they love. As the novel begins Edward is heading off on a trip to Manchester hoping to secure to the money needed to help the family through these difficult times.

It is also the eve of Emerald's 20th birthday, and the family and servants are preparing a lavish party for her. In the midst of all the party activity, a train wreck occurs nearby, and a motley crew of tired and hungry passengers are directed to seek shelter at the Torrington-Swifts, Stern House. The guests are an interesting bunch, who manage to shake things up a bit for the family and staff. One indidvidual in particular, Charles Traversham-Beechers, an "uninvited guest", claims to know an awful lot about the family, and about Charlotte's past. He's an evil sort who seems to be able to lure the guests under his spell. Needless, to say events take an unexpected turn, things get a bit creepy at times, and secrets are slowly exposed.

Told from the 3rd person - POV, I initially had mixed feelings about this book. Most of the characters were well-developed, but unlikeable Some are snobby, rude and self-centered, but little Smudge was my favorite -- she's quite a character. There's lots of foreshadowing, and the novel itself, part mystery, is cleverly written. I especially liked the details that the author outlined for this Edwardian time period. The setting was very atmospheric and remote, and seemed perfect for "the uninvited guests", and the spell the novel seemed to cast. In the end I was happy that I read this one, but I'm guessing I understand why the reviews seem mixed and why some readers might not enjoy this one. 

23 comments:

  1. I skimmed to the bottom as I just got this from Edelweiss. It sounds good, but let's hope it's dysfunctional enough to hold my interest. Because you know that I am a dysfunction Whore!

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  2. Sounds a bit iffy to me too!

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  3. Ooo awesome. I got this through Edelweiss I think a while ago and haven't had a chance to read it yet. Glad you liked it- I should probably bump it up the TBR list! x

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  4. I love when secrets are slowly revealed in a book so I'll probably like this one.

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  5. It sounds interesting and I do like the cover.

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  6. Hmmmm...I loved your description of this one and that it's very much a "mood" book. It actually sounds delightful to me!

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  7. this sounds like it could be quite interesting...my problem is i'm such a local reader - enjoying more books set in the US rather than abroad...does that sounds absolutely awful?

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  8. I love the names - Emerald, Clovis, Smudge? Sign me up for any British manor "mystery". LOL

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  9. This sounds great and I liked Jones' last novel so I'll have to be on the lookout for this one.

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  10. The more reviews I read of this, the more I think it might not be for me after all. I love the cover for it though, both this one and the UK one.

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  11. I agree- the setting alone is enough to make me want to pick up this book!

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  12. This book sounds so interesting and I love the way you describe it as "atmospheric and remote". I need to make time for this one. Thanks for the excellent review today!

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  13. I haven't heard of this before but I really love historical fiction and just about anything set in England!

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  14. It sounds like it could be interesting for me; I like mysteries, especially the atmospheric ones. Thanks for the review!

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  15. This book is already on my wish list and I'm looking forward to its release next month. The setting and time period sound so appealing to me!

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  16. I have this one to read soon and am very excited, as I loved her last novel. The premise sounds interesting, and I'm curious how I'll feel about the unlikable characters. Sometimes I love them, but sometimes they drive me crazy. Great review!

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  17. The setting, time period and the 24 hour story reminds of Mrs. Dalloway which I am still trying to plough through.

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  18. This sounds like something I'd like and that cover is great as well.

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  19. Sounds like the kind of book that you could pick up, read quickly and enjoy - the perfect kind of book I look for when it comes time for readathons. Plus I love mysteries that aren't loaded with gore and graphic content.

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  20. I'm disappointed to read that there's a lot of foreshadowing - that turns me off. But I'm still curious about this one.

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  21. For some reason Sadie Jones' writing doesn't appeal to me. I read The Outcast and didn't like it that much. Since then I haven't read any of her book.

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  22. I've been wanting to read more by Sadie Jones since loving Small Wars, but not sure I want to read this one.

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  23. Ooo I'm going to be on TLC Tours reading this book soon. I thought it sounded fabulous. I didn't read your review too well so that I don't get biased. Fortunately sometimes I don't mind if characters are unlikeable if the plot or book is written well.

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