From the bestselling author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith, an enthralling novel about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.
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 villaa large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servantslife 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 lifeor, 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.
About the Author
Sarah Waters is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Little Stranger, The Night Watch, Fingersmith, Affinity, and Tipping the Velvet. She has three times been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, twice been a finalist for the Orange Prize, and was named one of Granta’s best young British novelists, among other distinctions. Waters lives in London.
Praise for The Paying Guests…
Praise for The Paying Guests
“Outstanding. [The Paying Guests] is the work of an artist at the height of her powers… How difficult, and how admirable, to pull off an ending that both sates you and leaves you chomping for more… You feel as if an actual life were unfolding before you—a life that happens to be far more thrilling than most.” —Pop Matters
“Fans of Sarah Waters’ previous novels know she is a gifted storyteller with a way of bringing historical eras to life… With the swiftly shifting mores of postwar British society as a backdrop, [she] once again provides a singular novel of psychological tension, emotional depth and historical detail.” —BookPage
“It's easy to get so caught up in this quiet tale of suburban sapphic passion that you forget who's masterminding it. Waters is at her best when she sends the plot on dizzying twists, and what seems at first to be a novel about repressed desire soon spirals madly into murder, adultery and betrayal… an absorbing read, rich in period detail and complex characters.” —The List (UK)
"An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex…Tension is high from the first paragraph…Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight…until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen. Waters keeps getting better, if that’s even possible after the sheer perfection of her earlier novels.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An absorbing character study [and] expertly paced and gripping psychological narrative…Readers of Water’s previous novels know that she brings historical eras to life with consummate skill, rendering authentic details into layered portraits of particular times and places…breathtaking” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“Moody and atmospheric, this latest from three-time Booker Prize finalist Waters (The Little Stranger) has a rich historical setting…[and] keeps you guessing until the very end” —Library Journal
Praise for The Little Stranger
“The #1 book of 2009 . . . Several sleepless nights are guaranteed.”
—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
“A classic gothic page-turner.”
“Sarah Waters is an excellent, evocative writer, and this is an incredibly gripping and readable novel.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Haunted by the spirits of Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe . . . Waters is just one turn of the screw away from ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ . . . She keeps the lightning flashing in every gloomy chapter, and you can’t help but gasp, ‘It’s alive!’”
—The Washington Post
“Completely absorbing . . . I wanted to linger in that fictional world, page by page, chapter by chapter.”