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The Uninvited Guests: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Sadie Jones

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"The Uninvited Guests is at once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class. It is so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment. It is a brilliant novel." (ANN PATCHETT, author of State of Wonder)

"What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen, here is love and error in a ramshackle manor house complete with railway survivors, a birthday party and a pony. I was completely captivated by its madcap nature and then, utterly unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became. Passing like a spring fever, here is a fairy tale that stays with you long after it is gone. I couldn't put it down." (SARAH BLAKE, author of The Postmistress)

"What opens as an amusing Edwardian country house tale soon becomes a sinister tragi-comedy of errors, in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed in true Shakespearean fashion. Sadie Jones is a most talented and imaginative storyteller, and The Uninvited Guests is a very clever novel." (JACQUELINE WINSPEAR, author of Elegy for Eddie)


"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


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.1 von 5 Sternen  258 Rezensionen
71 von 75 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An Invite into an Imaginative Romp 15. März 2012
Von Cheddie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Sadie Jones is touted as a superb storyteller on the book's cover, and "The Uninvited Guests" is a ripping yarn, an imaginative, hybrid cross between Downton Abbey (the setting is the early 20th century in a grand old English manor house) and the Twilight Zone. Facing financial difficulties, father Edward departs to try to save their home, Sterne, leaving Charlotte and her children Clovis, Emerald, and Imogen ("Smudge") home alone, but not for long. It's Emerald's birthday, and her party guests are soon joined by the uninvited guests - hungry, tired survivors of a nearby train crash who fill up the vacant downstairs rooms, and one malevolent interloper, Charles Traversham-Beechers.

Over the course of a dramatic evening, as they say, all hell breaks loose. It's difficult to say much about the wild events that occur without spoiling the fun, but readers are treated to a particularly nasty after-dinner game that turns partiers into prey; an absurdist romp by Smudge with a favored animal; a breakdown of class barriers between the family cook and a buttoned-down gentleman; scandalous skeletons being cruelly pulled from the closet; and a hectic, madcap Marx Brothers-like romp through house and literally through walls towards the surprising denouement. It's a story that has stuck with me for some time after closing the book, as Jones does a marvelous job in placing you smack into the middle of her rowdy romp. The pace accelerates throughout this suspenseful novel, so plan on setting things aside for time with the Torrington family.
126 von 148 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen With such unlovely characters, where should I start? 6. März 2012
Von J. Lesley - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Whether it was this author's intention or not, she succeeded in making me dislike three of the members of the family who are pivotal to this story. Charlotte Torrington Swift is the mother of Emerald and Clovis. The novel states they are nineteen and twenty respectively, but that tripped me up somewhat because on the day this story happens Emerald is having her twentieth birthday. So at this point they are both twenty? But don't worry about that little detail, there will be much more serious problems with this novel than to worry about how many months there were between the births of Charlotte's two eldest children. All three of these characters are self-indulgent, conceited, arrogant, lazy, and cruel in certain ways. How was I ever supposed to enjoy the book when the characters were so unlikeable?

The story takes place in the early 1900's on an isolated English country estate which has been the home of the Torrington children all their lives. Now, because of the late Horace Torrington's heavy debts, the estate will be lost unless Edward Swift, Charlotte's second husband, can acquire a loan from a man he despises. Edward lost one arm in a carriage accident when he was a young man and these two insensitive and cruel "children" actually make fun of him and use this as one reason they dislike him so much. (Even this early on in the novel I was rooting for Edward to not get the loan, chuck the bums out, and tell them to get their hands dirty and do something useful.) So, back to our synopsis. Guests begin to arrive for Emerald's birthday celebration dinner later in the evening but along with them come a group of people who were in a railway disaster which resulted in many deaths. The Swift home is to be used until the railroad company can arrange for these people to be accommodated elsewhere. Among this group comes someone from Charlotte's past. I really don't think I've ever read a novel which portrayed characters showing such callous disregard for the suffering of others. I understand it was a necessary part of the story, but I kept finding myself shaking my head in disbelief.

I was very disappointed in the novel because I had been looking forward to reading it so much. This is one where I should have adhered to my 100 page rule. I didn't like the first 100 pages but I kept on reading. The next 160 did not get any better at all. I think the author tried to be different, quirky, clever and so she wrote in an older style and tried to start with her characters at their worst in order to rehabilitate them along the way, but that process took much too long for it to work for me. The only reason for two stars from me instead of one is that I have recently found the absolute worst book I've ever read. This is marginally better than that one.
45 von 51 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent book 24. März 2012
Von Sid Nuncius - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
I thought this was an excellent book - well-written, imaginative and thoughtful. Set in a pre-First World War country house, preparations for a birthday party are disrupted by the arrival of a rather mysterious group of strangers who need shelter after being involved in a train accident nearby. The disorder they bring to the mannered Edwardian world has profound consequences for the house's occupants. Although it is very different from either, I found echoes in the book of Priestley's An Inspector Calls and the Nicole Kidman film The Others. Its unusual premise may not be to everyone's taste but I found the whole thing engrossing and it has stayed with me strongly after finishing the book.

Initially I wondered whether it was a little over-written and whether I really cared enough about these people to want to read a whole novel about them. However, it gradually drew me in and quite soon had me spellbound. The characters are well drawn and a subtle, growing sense of menace develops. There is a delicate, inexplicit parallel between the loss of physical order and of the manners and conventions on which the characters have depended, and I thought the fracturing and eventual shattering of this reserve and the effect of this on each of them was very well drawn. Sadie Jones also draws a believable and touching portrait of how propriety, self-absorption and a rigid, misguided sense of duty can smother character and humanity, and how shared adversity can allow genuine human contact to restore them. She also reminds us of the overwhelming importance of simple kindness between people.

The writing style fits the story very well. To try to give you a flavour, after the guests have been fed she says, "Although they were, for the moment, satisfied, their mood had not greatly improved. If anything, there was an increased atmosphere of need; they seemed to suck the very air from the room with their opaque desires." I loved Jones's writing, which becomes almost poetic at the climax of the book.

I am puzzled by some descriptions of this book as a comedy, which I think are inaccurate. I didn't think it was intended as a comedy - I found it involving, thoughtful and ultimately very touching. I think it is an excellent book and recommend it very warmly.
17 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Amazon suggestions fail 7. April 2013
Von PC - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I bought this because it was recommended based on a number of English country house books I've read in Downtown Abbey fever. This is a zombie story and that was totally unexpected. Perhaps if the back cover or Amazon had mentioned the supernatural twist, I would not have been so disappointed. But I was. I did not finding it charming, just weird and silly.
32 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen I Want My Money Back! 2. August 2012
Von Gwen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Do not believe the reviews or cover jacket for this book! What is described as a a "shimmering comedy of manners" and an "amusing Edwardian country house romp" with a touch of sinister and dark secrets, is in reality a dull, poorly written book with such obvious plot contrivances that I had the ending figured out as soon as the "uninvited guests" arrived. There is absolutely no logic or build up to the ridiculous ending and everyone behaves pretty abominably to each other while the reader plods on, waiting for something worthwhile to happen. The ending wasn't "surprising" or "astonishing" and I was literally groaning with dissapointment as I read it. I actually laughed while reading the climatic scene in Charlotte's bedroom. The writer's attempts to make this scene seem horrifying are a joke. This couldn't scare a 5 year old. This is possibly the worst book I've ever read.
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