The Uninvited Guests

The Uninvited Guests

Book - 2013
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"-- From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial 2013, c2012
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial ed
ISBN: 9780062116512
0062116517
Characteristics: 262, 12 p. ; 21 cm

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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.

p
Pizzalisa
Jun 12, 2013

Just as Emerald's 20th birthday party is set to get underway, a train wreck nearby sends a group of survivors to the Emerald's family estate. What to do with them? What surprises do the travelers hold?

The book was a little slow in the beginning but got much more interesting and quick as the "night" wore on. A good read.

WVMLStaffPicks May 31, 2013

This book has all the ingredients of a gothic novel: the eerie Edwardian mansion, bad weather, quirky family, and odd visitors coming to the door... arriving the very day that Emerald has planned her very fine birthday party. As the disorder mounts, she finds her hands full with all the shenanigans, and her dinner quite derailed by the evening’s troublesome interruptions. The dark humour and suspense will keep you reading to discover how it all turns out!

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