The Paying Guests

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World War I devastated Europe, but a particular a toll was exacted upon England and her young men. In Sarah Waters’ newest novel The Paying Guests, the remnants of the war are vividly depicted. Frances Wray and her widowed mother have fallen upon hard times and are forced to lease a portion of their villa to Leonard and Lillian Barber. The Barbers are young and on the make; they bring a breath of fresh (and exuberant) air to the Wray home. But as Frances and Lillian become friends, dark confessions and secret passions will be revealed.

Sarah Waters excels at setting the scene. Her prose has been lauded and rightly so. She manages to capture the haunted atmosphere of the Wray Villa, and the equally haunted individuals inhabiting it. The unaffected Barbers are the perfect juxtaposition, an indication of the bright, vibrant, if not frenetic social scene of London following the war. While at over 500 pages, those readers who love long, deliciously detailed novels will want to give The Paying Guests a read.


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Author Sarah Waters
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 576 pages
Publisher Riverhead Books
Publish Date 2014-Sep-16
ISBN 9781594633119
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category Historical Fiction
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