"The Uninvited Guests" by Sadie Jones
It is Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday and her life is about to be turned upside down. Sterne, the house she lives in with her mother Charlotte, stepfather Edward and siblings Clovis and Smudge, is on its last legs and due to financial crisis may not be theirs for much longer. Edward has departed to the city to see if he can save the family home while the rest of the family prepare for the party.
But just as her guests begin to arrive, a terrible train wreck occurs nearby and a group of mysterious survivors have made their way to Sterne. They need a place to stay until the Railway comes for them and while the family gives them shelter and food strange things begin to happen throughout the house. And when one survivor - a figure from the family's past - decides to make himself a part of the birthday celebrations, things take a very strange turn for the worse.
Set in rural England at the turn of the last century, The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, is a dark and strange tale full of drama and humour. Wonderfully written, you don't feel like you're reading a current novel set in the past, you feel like you're reading a classic novel that has survived the test of time.
This was a page turner for me, I just couldn't put it down. Even though I kind of guessed what was going on early on in the book, I wanted to keep reading to see how it all played out. The book isn't just about trying to figure out the mystery, the characters are well developed and Jones paints the time and place so wonderfully, that you find yourself immersed in all that is going on.
By the time I reached the end of the book, I was a little unsure of it. The "wrap-up" of the story was a little bit of a let-down for me. So as I closed the book, I sat and thought about whether or not I actually liked the book. And the decision I have arrived at is that I did like the book. It is eccentric, wonderfully quirky and definitely held my interest. However, I wasn't blown away in the manner I thought I would be at the beginning of the novel. Overall, this is a book I would recommend, as it is something different and written in a wonderful voice.
I received this book courtesy of Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.