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"A brilliant novel...At once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class". (Ann Patchett). One late spring evening in 1912, in ...Show synopsis"A brilliant novel...At once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class". (Ann Patchett). One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honour of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savoury survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor - and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief. 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 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 number one bestseller Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author of The Outcast triumphs in this frightening yet sinister drama of dark surprises - where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety - and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.Hide synopsis
The Uninvited Guests (Knopf Canada) – Trade paperback (2012)
Trade paperback, Knopf Canada 2012
ISBN: 0307402533 ISBN-13: 9780307402530
"All their preparations had been in vain. Emerald's birthday celebrations had begun in confusion and disarray. She cast about for something sensible to say, something that would reassure her mother and friends that an hospitable timetable would be re-established, and was about to suggest the library, and tea, when she halted, arrested in movement like a musical statue." " " "She was obeying a prompt, an instinct left over, perhaps, from an earlier time; the instinct that stops a mouse in its short-sighted tracks when a cat ...Show more"All their preparations had been in vain. Emerald's birthday celebrations had begun in confusion and disarray. She cast about for something sensible to say, something that would reassure her mother and friends that an hospitable timetable would be re-established, and was about to suggest the library, and tea, when she halted, arrested in movement like a musical statue." " " "She was obeying a prompt, an instinct left over, perhaps, from an earlier time; the instinct that stops a mouse in its short-sighted tracks when a cat is watching it from a chair; that makes a dog lying by the fire tremble, and whimper, when there is no one near to see." " " "And as she stopped, there came, of a sudden, a hard gust of wind behind her, striking her through her dress, forcefully, blowing all thoughts of convention from her mind. The heavy front door was closed, but the chill struck Emerald's back, finding its way through the jamb and hinges - through the solid wood itself, it seemed, as a cold wave will sometimes catch one as one leaves the sea and knock the breath from the body." " " - "from The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones" It is the last day of April in 1912, and the country estate of Sterne is humming with preparations for an intimate dinner party. Today Emerald Torrington turns 20. The members of the household - and their guests, now en route - have no idea that over the course of this single day and night, all their lives will be turned upside down, for better or for worse. Charlotte Torrington is Emerald's mother. A great beauty, she was widowed years ago by her businessman-turned-gentleman-farmer husband. She has recently remarried, to the steady and loving Edward Swift. Despite his affable nature, Edward is fiercely resented by Emerald and her brother Clovis, a dissolute 19 year old whose days are largely spent moping and plotting. The youngest family member is Charlotte's youngest daughter, Imogen, known as Smudge. A frail, faerie-like wild child, she flits through house and field - and even upon high rooftops - generally unsupervised. Despite their apparent comfort, the family lives well beyond its means. Edward has been dispatched to Manchester to borrow money from a lender of dubious morals. The family employs a handful of servants to keep the household in minimal working order: there are the maids Pearl and Myrtle, the groom Robert, and Stanley the stable boy. Heading up the servants is the housekeeper, Florence Trieves, a widowed acquaintance from Charlotte's youth. Like Charlotte, Florence was once a great beauty, but today is a grim crow-like figure garbed in black. She is furiously making preparations for tonight's menu, to include such delicacies as calf's head soup and stewed eel. The family has invited only their most intimate friends to join them for the evening's celebration. They are expecting Emerald's dearest friend, the sweet Patience Sutton, who will be accompanied by her brother Ernest, an interning physician. Upon their arrival Emerald discovers that Edward has matured rather pleasingly, no longer the gawky teenager with whom she once rambled the grounds of Sterne during long-ago summers. A late invitation has also been extended to their neighbour, the rich and respectable John Buchanan, who has been perplexing the lovely Emerald of late with his hot-and-cold attentions. But with the arrival of their guests comes distressing news: A train has derailed, and its survivors - most of whom were travelling third class - are to be received at Sterne. As the owners of the only estate in the vicinity, it is the Torringtons' duty to accept this responsibility, no matter the disruption to their dinner plans. With Charlotte more preoccupied with naps and arranging her hair, and Clovis of no help at the best of times, Emerald must put aside her confusing feelings about the two men now vying for her attention, and set about preparing for whatever is to come. But as the motleHide
Description:Very good. Book has appearance of only minimal use. All pages...Very good. Book has appearance of only minimal use. All pages are undamaged with no significant creases or tears. With pride from Motor City. All books guaranteed. Best Service, Best Prices.
Description:Good. Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use...Good. Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. With pride from Motor City. All books guaranteed. Best Service, Best Prices.
I was expecting from the description that this was written in the time period in which it occurred. If it were a period piece, I would have been happier with it, I think. All that aside, the book was a bit tedious to read, but gives a glimpse of the culture of the time period, how different classes ...
I find the book, in one sense, a little "subversive" - in that it purports to be a lighthearted novel, but one scene towards the end reveals a dark side that is... unsettling, not to say, a bit dismaying. I was not left with the upbeat feeling I look for in a novel.
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