The Uninvited Guests

The Uninvited Guests

Book - 2012
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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 : HarperCollins, c2012
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780062116505
Characteristics: 262 p. ; 24 cm


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May 8th meeting

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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

May 26, 2014

An Edwardian ghost story, improbable, inconsistent, fun and quite well done.

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.

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.

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!

Mar 09, 2013

A strange book, sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying.

ksoles Dec 30, 2012

"The Uninvited Guests" opens at the beginning of the 1900s on the day of Emerald Torrington’s 20th birthday party. Emerald’s stepfather, Edward Swift, has departed for Manchester to try and borrow money to keep the family in their dilapidated country manor, Sterne. As the rest of the household prepares for birthday guests, a railway accident on a nearby branch line suddenly leaves the family responsible for a group of dazed third-class passengers.

One sinister yet oddly appealing traveller, Charlie Traversham-Beechers, begins charming Emerald’s brother while Emerald’s mother recognizes the guest with horror. As a storm rages outside, Traversham-Beechers takes control of the evening and finally reveals his purpose for being there in a splendidly awful climax. The tension then lessens but Sadie Jones continues to keep our interest. How will the characters repair the damage they have inflicted on one another? Will initial intimations of love and attraction be irretrievably destroyed by the night’s unexpected brutalities?

This novel takes an uncomfortably close look at how decent people can abandon their best selves in a crowd. Jones firmly tethers her characters to the period and displays a deep understanding of her craft. Structurally strong, polished and composed with clean, clear prose, Jones has written a charming and elegant novel.

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