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The Uninvited Guestsby Sadie Jones
Synopses & Reviews
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.
The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises — where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety — and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.
"Sterne, the English country house at the center of this remarkable dark comedy, is home to the Torringtons — mother Charlotte, a widow now married to Edward Swift; children Emerald, Clovis, and 'Smudge'; and an assortment of faithful staff. Set sometime in the early part of the 20th century, somewhere in the north of England (the ambiguity is telling), the novel takes place over a single day, April 30. A celebration is underway for Emerald's 20th birthday, and what appears to be a Wodehouseian comedy with a touch of Dodie Smith is derailed when a local train jumps its track, soon filling Sterne with stranded, shocked passengers. The 'uninvited guests' are decidedly lower class and deliberately indistinct, but for one notable exception: Charlie Traversham-Beechers, who seems to know a good deal about the family, particularly Charlotte. Jones's (Small Wars) characters are delightfully eccentric, the wit delightfully droll, and the prose simply delightful. But for all its charm, this is a serious book; it's no coincidence that the new day dawning at its close is May Day, or International Workers' Day, though Jones's theme is less class warfare than the seemingly absolute divide between the classes. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, the Gernert Company." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen,...I was captivated by its madcap nature and then, unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became." Sarah Blake, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Postmistress
"A brilliant novel....At once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class...so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment." Ann Patchett, New York Times Bestselling Author of State of Wonder
"What opens as an amusing Edwardian country house tale soon becomes a sinister tragi-comedy of errors...in true Shakespearean fashion. Sadie Jones is a most talented and imaginative storyteller." Jacqueline Winspear, New York Times Bestselling Author of Elegy for Eddie
"The Uninvited Guests...defied my expectations. I saw none of it coming. I read it in one breathless sitting, and finished wanting to give it to everyone I know." Maile Maloy, Nationally Bestselling Author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
"Excellent characterization...a plot sprinkled with hints of secrets to be revealed...a page-turning read that blurs the edges of the country house mystery." Library Journal (starred review)
"A delightful, eerie novel....Jones expertly balances the whimsical and the strange, building things to a climax of abandon, terror and restitution....Engrossing, enjoyable." Philip Womack, Telegraph
"Jones' clever prose and bright tone heighten her characters and setting...she adroitly draws the layers of character that are exposed as shameful secrets come to light." Atlantic Monthly
"Enthralling....An English countryside setting, an ever-twisting plot, and gorgeously precise writing add up to one delightful novel." Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazine
"Delicious...comparisons with Downton Abbey will be both inevitable and fair." Wall Street Journal
"Entertaining...Jones is a writer of admirable narrative energy...with a painfully accurate, almost Stoppardian ear for dialogue and a delightful streak of cruelty that flirts with...the gothic." Lev Grossman, Time Magazine
"A comedy of manners that turns downright surreal....Jones's effervescent writing keeps the course steady-even as her characters shed their civilized veneers." Ellen Shapiro, People Four Star Review
A grand old manor house deep in the English countryside will open its doors to reveal the story of an unexpectedly dramatic day in the life of one eccentric, rather dysfunctional, and entirely unforgettable family. Set in the early years of the twentieth century, award-winning author Sadie Joness The Uninvited Guests is, in the words of Jacqueline Winspear, the New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries A Lesson in Secrets and Elegy for Eddie, a sinister tragi-comedy of errors, in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed in true Shakespearean fashion.
About the Author
Sadie Jones is the author of the novels The Outcast, winner of the Costa First Novel Award in the United Kingdom and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; and Small Wars, a tale of love, war, and honor, which was published to critical praise on both sides of the Atlantic. The Uninvited Guests is her third novel. Sadie Jones lives in London.
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