The Paying Guests

The Paying Guests

Fiction, General Fiction
Paperback Published on: 04/06/2015
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Paying Guests
Just brilliant!
It's 1922 and widowed Mrs Wray and her daughter, Frances are forced to take in a married couple as lodgers to help with the household finances. Lilian and ... READ MORE
Emma Smith at Bedford
The Paying Guests
As with some of my colleagues I had never read any Sarah Waters before, I realise my mistake! With the ability to wrap the story around you and draw you n ... READ MORE
Debra Warwick at Exeter High Street



This novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Little Stranger, is a brilliant 'page-turning melodrama and a fascinating portrait of London of the verge of great change' (Guardian)

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

This is vintage Sarah Waters: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling story.

'You will be hooked within a page . . . At her greatest, Waters transcends genre: the delusions in Affinity (1999), the vulnerability in Fingersmith (2002), the undercurrents of social injustice and the unexplained that underlie all her work, take her, in my view, well beyond the capabilities of her more seriously regarded Booker-winning peers. But The Paying Guests is the apotheosis of her talent; at least for now. I have tried and failed to find a single negative thing to say about it. Her next will probably be even better. Until then, read it, Flaubert, Zola, and weep' -Charlotte Mendelson, Financial Times

  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • ISBN: 9780349004600
  • Number of pages: 608
  • Weight: 476g
  • Dimensions: 197 x 129 x 49 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Paying Guests
Full of historical richness...
Sarah Waters is one of those authors whose presence and renown make me slightly ashamed to admit that this is the very first time I’ve picked up her work. ... READ MORE
Leilah at Doncaster
The Paying Guests
Failed to live up to the hype...
I was disappointed with this book which I feel did not merit its many positive reviews. My main reservation about the story was one of connection, I faile... READ MORE
The Paying Guests
Tense, tense, tense!
This was my first Sarah Waters and I was sceptical. However, my fears were unfounded and this was one of the most tension packed novels I have encountered.... READ MORE
Sheila Rawlings
The Paying Guests
Quite good
Sarah Waters's novels always have strong characters and a really vivid sense of the time in which they are set, but something about the plot of this one of... READ MORE
The Paying Guests
Full of promise, but did not meet expectations
Sarah Waters is an excellent writer, and we all know this. The problem is, this really wasn't her best. Don't get me wrong, it's far better than a lot of... READ MORE
CD Baker
The Paying Guests
Predictable, but brilliantly told
The Paying Guests is set in London in 1922, where Frances Wray and her widowed mother have had to take on lodgers - or 'paying guests' - to support themsel... READ MORE
Jess Gofton
The Paying Guests
The paying guests
Far too wordy and drawn out. Pretentious!
Ronald Dawson