The Uninvited Guests
By Sadie Jones
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780062116505, May 2012, 262pp.)
The Short of It:
Interesting premise, but poorly executed.
The Rest of It:
An 18-century manor is on the verge of collapse. It’s a house that has lost its shine long ago, but it’s still considered “home” to widow Charlotte, her children and her new husband, Edward. As Edward goes into town to see about a loan to help carry them through, Charlotte plans to host a birthday party for her daughter, Emerald. What promises to be a grand evening, is instead a disaster when a nearby rail accident sends a group of straggly survivors to their home. Trying to host a lavish dinner party while tending to these uninvited guests proves to be too much but makes for some entertaining reading.
I had a strange reaction to this book. I had an expectation for it, based on what so many other readers have said about it and when it didn’t deliver I found myself angry and confused over what I missed. I immediately emailed other bloggers to see if I was off the mark because so many loved this one. It’s gotten four and five stars all over Goodreads and many of the bloggers I respect, have said wonderful things about it. So why didn’t I enjoy it?
The beginning dragged horribly, the middle was better but the end made me feel lukewarm about the whole thing. It was very predictable and I saw the twist right at the beginning so there was little to look forward to, except HOW the twist was going to be executed and that failed to impress me. The characters were well-developed but not likable. I didn’t care to know any of them. I will say that one character, young Smudge… was probably the most interesting of the lot and in my opinion, the entire story could have been written around her and I would have been happy. In fact, there is mention of the “old house” which is attached to the new house and I felt for sure that Smudge would somehow end up exploring that old, creaky house. Maybe because I so wanted it to go that route I set myself up for disappointment.
In the end, it just didn’t work for me.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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