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The Uninvited Guests

Jones, Sadie (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Uninvited Guests


Item Details

"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."--Dust jacket.
Authors: Jones, Sadie
Title: The uninvited guests
Publisher: New York :, HarperCollins,, c2012
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
Characteristics: 262 p. ;,24 cm
Contents: Edward Swift departs
A dreadful accident
Smelts and smithereens
A most unpleasant game
Abandon
The resting place
The starlight bath
Edward Swift returns
Summary: "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."--Dust jacket.
ISBN: 0062116509
9780062116505
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Report This Aug 27, 2013
  • artemishi rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The Uninvited Guests was a delightfully surprising read. It's set in Edwardian England, amid a family whose finances are in dire straits. Each member of this ensemble is fully fleshed out, both utterly believable and beautifully flawed. I wasn't sure what to make of it, at first, but I think I can solidly say it's an historical fiction. It's also, of course, a gothic mystery. I found myself very fond of Emerald, Florence, and Smudge. It was a relatively quick read, and fun. Fans of Downton Abbey will like it, I think- it isn't all upstairs vs downstairs (although there is some of that), but it's humorous in language, involves a heavy dose of magical realism, and there's some intrigue.

Report This Jul 26, 2013
  • ottrosa51 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I read this book for my book club. I felt it started out well but I lost interest midway through. 5 out of 6 book club members gave it a thumbs down.

Report This Jun 12, 2013
  • Pizzalisa rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Just as Emerald's 20th birthday party is set to get underway, a train wreck nearby sends a group of survivors to the Emerald's family estate. What to do with them? What surprises do the travelers hold? The book was a little slow in the beginning but got much more interesting and quick as the "night" wore on. A good read.

Report This May 31, 2013
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book has all the ingredients of a gothic novel: the eerie Edwardian mansion, bad weather, quirky family, and odd visitors coming to the door... arriving the very day that Emerald has planned her very fine birthday party. As the disorder mounts, she finds her hands full with all the shenanigans, and her dinner quite derailed by the evening’s troublesome interruptions. The dark humour and suspense will keep you reading to discover how it all turns out!

Report This Mar 09, 2013
  • miaone rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A strange book, sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying.

She’s written three novels and each are totally unique. This one is a strange tale about a group of visitors to a large Downton style mansion. It is a ghost story but a subtle one and quite droll and funny. I did guess the denouement but it was still a lively and original tale.Best reads of 2012: Philip Tew, Selection and Access Librarian, shares his top novels of 2012. Somewhere in the English countryside, isolated manor house Sterne nears ruin - most of the servants have left, and patriarch Edward Swift is in Manchester trying to find a solution to the family's financial problems. Meanwhile, his wife, Charlotte, and stepchildren Emerald, Clovis, and Imogene "Smudge" Torrington remain at home to celebrate Emerald's birthday. But the celebrations are interrupted by refugees from a nearby train accident. Not quite the social class with which the Torrington-Swifts socialize, the third-class passengers are relegated to the library. But a sense of menace lingers, for everyone in this novel seems to be hiding a secret ... many of which are revealed during an unusual parlour game orchestrated by a malevolent interloper. Set ambiguously sometime in the early 20th century, this novel in which class divides are a distinct theme veers from a comedy of manners to something else entirely. Fiction A to Z newsletter February 2013.

Report This Dec 30, 2012
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"The Uninvited Guests" opens at the beginning of the 1900s on the day of Emerald Torrington’s 20th birthday party. Emerald’s stepfather, Edward Swift, has departed for Manchester to try and borrow money to keep the family in their dilapidated country manor, Sterne. As the rest of the household prepares for birthday guests, a railway accident on a nearby branch line suddenly leaves the family responsible for a group of dazed third-class passengers. One sinister yet oddly appealing traveller, Charlie Traversham-Beechers, begins charming Emerald’s brother while Emerald’s mother recognizes the guest with horror. As a storm rages outside, Traversham-Beechers takes control of the evening and finally reveals his purpose for being there in a splendidly awful climax. The tension then lessens but Sadie Jones continues to keep our interest. How will the characters repair the damage they have inflicted on one another? Will initial intimations of love and attraction be irretrievably destroyed by the night’s unexpected brutalities? This novel takes an uncomfortably close look at how decent people can abandon their best selves in a crowd. Jones firmly tethers her characters to the period and displays a deep understanding of her craft. Structurally strong, polished and composed with clean, clear prose, Jones has written a charming and elegant novel.

Report This Dec 20, 2012
  • bdemian rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

After the mid-novel turn of events the book loses the often amusing caustic satire and arch tone that were its two main pleasures and became a bit of a drag.

Report This Dec 06, 2012
  • VPLlen rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed what this book stimulated in my imagination. I felt involved with the rather unlikable characters and surreal setting. It reminded me of waking from a dream when you remember strange parts but can't quite put them all together.

Report This Dec 04, 2012
  • hmcgivney rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Despite a slow start, the book ended up being pretty engrossing. I don't want to ruin this for other interested readers, so I'm trying to be careful how I phrase things. I expected something very particular from the cover description and a review I heard on the radio, and about halfway through the book, it diverged from that expectation quite dramatically. I have mixed feelings about that diversion, but overall, I feel more positively about the book than negatively.

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