This is the story of a young spinster in Great Britain, 1922, who falls madly in in love and then continues to fall...deeper and deeper into a pit of immorality. Watching her justify the means to her goals, juggling white lies and then performing criminal acts is beyond fascinating. A+ --Mary— Mary
“At the end of WWI, 26-year-old Frances and her mother find themselves in dire financial circumstances. Both of Frances' brothers died in the war, and now her father's death has left them in debt. Frances and her mother reconfigure their home in a gracious London neighborhood so that they can take in lodgers. From the moment Mr. and Mrs. Barber - the 'paying guests'- arrive, the young couple pulls Frances out of her staid routine, and before long sexual sparks are flying. Waters is a brilliant writer, a master of the hothouse atmosphere and the slow reveal, and her new novel is utterly absorbing.”
— Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Chicago, IL
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the clerk class, the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances's life or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.
Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waters's finest achievement yet.