The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
Published: 2012 by Harper Perennial
Source: Received from the publisher for review
In 1912 at a run-down English estate, the “man of the house”, Edward Swift, departs for Manchester to make a last-ditch effort to save the home that his wife, Charlotte, and her children adore. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the household are making preparations for the celebration of daughter Emerald Torrington’s 20th birthday; and the youngest daughter, Imogen (known as Smudge) is preparing a Great Undertaking.
As the invited guests — family friends Patience and Ernest Sutton and neighbor John Buchanan — arrive for the festivities, the household learns of a train accident nearby, and because they are the only residence nearby they are forced to accept the stranded passengers until the Railway Service can come and sort them out.
Where most of the uninvited guests of the title are shoved into a room with little or no hospitality on the part of the Torrington clan, one guest stands out from the crowd as being of the proper class and is invited to join the dinner party. However, Charlie Traversham-Beechers is not merely a survivor of the accident – he has secrets that can destroy the Torringtons.
To me, the novel was a high-class comedy of errors. Nothing seemed to go right for Emerald’s birthday right from the beginning – from her misinterpretation of Mr. Buchanan’s gift to the arrival of the passengers to the game Charlie begins among the dinner party guests, everything does NOT go to plan. Even Smudge’s Great Undertaking was not without its difficulties.
But then the end comes and I had to wonder if I missed something throughout the novel. I suppose it speaks to the craziness of what went on, but it left me a bit confused. It didn’t ruin the book for me, though.
Overall I found The Uninvited Guests to be a fun read. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
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