The Uninvited Guests
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The Uninvited Guests

2.98 of 5 stars 2.98  ·  rating details  ·  5,267 ratings  ·  1,290 reviews
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.

Evenin...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Knopf Canada (first published March 22nd 2012)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
***KINDLE DAILY DEAL TODAY $1.99 US and worth every dime***

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 so...more
Mary
Not too mysterious and just an odd book. None of the characters were likeable and, well, it was just too odd for me. I was not surprised by any supposed "twist" to the story and I never laughed out loud (not that that's required actually) as some did at this book either. It reads like a play, and if you read it in that context and imaging the players on stage, I suppose it is a better story. In all, it wasn't my cup of tea. My local library recommended this book based on the fact that I adore th...more
Grace
What an odd book. It's sort of like Wodehouse's more bitter cousin (one more interested in class struggle) met up with a goth and hashed out a book proposal. The setup is that the Torrington family are about to lose the family home. While the stepfather goes off on a mission to save it, the rest prepare for Emerald's 20th birthday. And then a train derails and the Railway start to send passengers to the house...

Jones does a fantastic job of characterization, especially with people like Charlotte...more
Blair
Despite the fact that the author's previous novels haven't appealed to me, The Uninvited Guests struck me as a must-read as soon as I heard about it, so I was delighted to discover it had been published in advance of the expected release date. Set in a grand old country house inhabitated by the Torrington family, the whole story takes place across the course of one night, as eldest daughter Emerald's birthday party is interrupted by the 'uninvited guests' of the title, a group of lower-class tra...more
Christine
The Torringtons live on an estate that is about to be foreclosed upon. It is the eve of eldest daughter Emerald’s birthday and despite everything they are determined to welcome their invited guests and celebrate properly. After seeing off their stepfather, who is going on an attempt to stave off the foreclosure, they are informed of a nearby train wreck and the fact that they are to receive the survivors until the railway company can arrange to pick them up. Sure enough, a small group of shell-s...more
Andrew Kunka
I picked up The Uninvited Guests after hearing a positive review on NPR's Fresh Air. The book started out well, feeling like Edward Gorey and Harold Pinter had somehow collaborated on an adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement. Its premise is promising: the Swift family, on the verge of losing their family estate due to financial problems, holds a birthday dinner for the eldest daughter, Emerald. However, a train accident happens nearby, and the railroad company demands to use the Swift's home to h...more
Susan Johnson
I was surprised that this book received 5 stars from some of the reviewers. Did they read the same book I did? I read the yawn inspiring novel of an English family in a country manor house set in the early 1900's. I think the writing style was supposed to be imitative of the writing style of the time in the book. It's like a stuffed chair that just enfolds you in the softness of it. You just sink into a dazed sleep.
I found nothing likable about this book. I didn't like a single character. You re...more
Jon
This was highly recommended by a Goodreads friend, and I'm very glad I looked it up. Sadie Jones is a writer I know nothing about, but she is clearly in complete command of her craft. This is a tour-de-force of tone, voice, and playfully serious story-telling. It is impossible to pigeon-hole--a ghost story? A love story? An Edwardian drawing-room comedy? More like Henry James, or Alfred Hitchcock? Oscar Wilde or Edward Gorey? Certainly not Jane Austen, as a blurb on the back suggests. Alternatel...more
Karen
This must be the worst book I've ever read. I feel I was duped into buying and wasting my time reading this. The description on the back cover and the critic reviews do not accurately describe the kind of book you are in for. I bought this book because it was reviewed in a magazine as one you would love if you like Downton Abbey. This book is nothing like Downton Abbey. Not unless you can possibly imagine the Downton family being extremely rude to their houseguests and completely uncaring about...more
Linda
Was it the glowing pre-release reviews I read that made me feel so dissatisfied with this book? Or is it just that it really isn't a very good book? This is another of those cases where most of the goodreads reviews are gushing and 5 star. I was happy to see that, here and there, tucked away, there were 1, 2 and 3 stars.

First of all, the setting--we are told--is 1912. There is very little evidence in the story, however, that it is 1912. Obviously this is a way of life long-gone for all but the 1...more
Lormac
OK, let's cut to the chase - this is an awful book. The writing style is stilted, the plot is ridiculous, and the characters are - to a man/woman of them - despicable. I read this based on an NPR review and I want to go back and pinch that reviewer - hard - on the arm - for making this book sounds like it maight possibly be interesting to read.

This book smacks of the book "The Little Stranger" - family with declining means living in a dilapidated English manor that they cannot afford to keep up;...more
Kinga
It’s an April day of 1912 and Emerald Torrington is about to turn twenty. Her family is in fairly serious financial trouble but the worries are put aside for a day and everything is jolly. In the kitchen the servants are working away preparing the supper and a cake and the guests are on their way. Emerald and her two siblings have nothing to do but wait. The youngest of the three, Smudge, is the odd one in the bunch and is usually left to her own devices. On an exciting day like this she is almo...more
Laura
This was a DNF after I got about a quarter of the way through - the characters of Emerald, Clovis and Charlotte were just not grabbing me. They wanted to be a cross between Bright Young Things (slightly down at the heels), Cold Comfort Farm and something more quotidian, but it didn't quite work. Smudge, on the other hand, had promise, as did their home, Sterne. Perhaps if the writing hadn't tried to be quite so clever and there was more a sense of why these people, why this plot, I could have re...more
Tanya
Jan 21, 2013 Tanya rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tanya by: Book Page
I'm not sure how to describe this novel, except to say it deserved to be read in one sitting.

Emerald Torrington is set to celebrate her 20th birthday with her family and a few close friends at a dinner at her family home, Sterne, in April 1912. The night is thrown into disarray when, as her guests arrive, so does news of a train derailment, sending dozens of passengers to Sterne for the evening to await rescue by the railway. The assembled group tries it's best to carry on with the party, but th...more
Laura
My rating: 3,5 stars

I wouldn't say that this is a historical fiction book. Instead, it looks like a 19th century fiction with some hints of social and love comedy, as the books written in the Edwardian era.

The plot takes place at Sterne, a typical old British manor house in the countryside. During a diner party in honor of Emerald Torrington, daughter of the matriarch Charlotte Torrignton and his husband Edward, an extraordinary event happens.

Edward is forced to leave the house in order to try...more
Vikki VanSickle
Sadie Jones is one of my favourite authors- each book is profoundly different in topic and tone but features her excellent prose and talent for atmosphere. This book reads a little like a Shaw play, with lots of whip-smart dialogue and incredible tension. On more than one occasion I found myself envisioning the action on stage.

The action takes place over one day and night. It is Emerald's 20th birthday party and a few select guests have gathered to celebrate, including 2 potential suitors, one...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I loved this book. I loved Jones' writing style, her language, her use of words -- I literally was jubilant while reading, delighted by the multifaceted bounce of her narrative and dialogue. The text of this novel had personality, was a character in this story, and the tale it offered captured me from the first line.

Set in 1912 at Sterne, an isolated English country estate, the story focuses on one night with the Torrington family: Charlotte, a 50-ish beauty with a cold demeanor and a loving sec...more
Ryan G
You know that moment when you go home for the first time after you left. You may have been away at college for the semester and this is the first opportunity you've had to get back home. You just know that your mom is going to make your favorite dinner your first night back. She even told you she was going to do it. Then you sit down and instead of having her lasagna, it's potato dumplings. You love them both, but you had been looking forward to the lasagna the entire trip home. You really can't...more
Sarah
Sep 10, 2012 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sarah by: HCP Twitter
This was a really bizarre story. It was almost like a bad dream. Not only because weird things occur within the story, but also because the story and characters felt disjointed. The writing really could have used a bit more polishing before hitting the press. The story premise is fine, but there needed to be more fleshing out of the characters and the setting. It seemed as if the author did little to no research on the period in which this book was set. I never felt rooted or drawn into the stor...more
Tony
Sometimes you start reading a book and you realize right away that it doesn't fit into any definable genre or type of novel, and it's exhilarating. Similarly, you can be reading a book that at first fits firmly into one style, and then suddenly shifts into something completely different in way that's quite exciting. On the flip side, sometimes these kind of efforts can feel labored or ridiculous, or, as in the case of this book, simply end up feeling kind of a muddle. I knew nothing about this b...more
K
Jul 18, 2012 K rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction, humor
English Edwardian country-house life meets a figure with a chip on his shoulder. This slightly comedic and supernatural story of class and relationships takes place over the span of 24-hours as the Torrington/Swift family and their guests face strange events that may change them forever.

Today Emerald Torrington is turning 20 but the event is anything but happy. Her mother, Charlotte Torrington/Swift has to face the fact that the family is losing their beloved manor home, Sterne. Not that it is a...more
Gretchen Ingram
I'm not sure what to say about this book. It is certainly something I would suggest to most people to read but how to describe it without saying to much or being inaccurate is a problem.

I hadn't read many pages before I decided that Sadie Jones has a charming style and I definitely want to read more of her work. And I had a hard time putting it down... and I only just finished it and I want to pick it up and read it again!

I could say it's about love- and that is true as far as it goes- although...more
Connie
In Edwardian England, Emerald Torrington was turning twenty and the servants were preparing for a dinner party that evening. There was a pall over the household since the family had fallen on hard times, and might have to sell their country home.

A message came from a Railway worker that there had been an accident, and a group of survivors was heading to their home until arrangements could be made. When these uninvited guests arrived, it was obvious that they were third class passengers, and very...more
Michael
Review from Badelynge.
In a large though crumbling country house the Torringtons prepare for the twentieth birthday of their eldest daughter Emerald, while their youngest daughter, mostly known as Smudge, prepares her own Great Undertaking. But during the preparations a train derails and the family are entreated to look after the survivors.
I'm tiptoeing around spoilers here, even though the marketing for this book left great muddy footprints all over the cover. I can't really complain too loudly...more
Jane
I love it when an author changes direction completely, and with The Uninvited Guests Sadie Jones has done just that. The results are strangely wonderful.

It begins, not unconventionally, in the spring of 1912, at the breakfast table of Sterne, a remote country house. There sit a mother, Charlotte; her three children, Clovis, Emerald and Smudge, and Edward, her second husband and their new and resented step-father.

My first impressions suggested that Charlotte was both charming and capable; Edward...more
Ryandake
a rather odd book--a manse in danger of forced sale, a family of no accomplishments and weak ties, a train wreck, a birthday party, some indifferent invited guests, and a dark and stormy night.

this book feels rather like an account ledger that refuses to reconcile. all the necessary entries are there, but the transactions don't make sense.

and the only way to explain that is to head into spoiler territory.

(view spoiler)...more
Cathie
Have you ever come across a book that you just weren't in the mood to read when you thought you were?

I abandoned this read last year. I picked it up again as I was waiting for another book to arrive. Of course I had to read from the beginning, but hadn't gotten very far anyway.

Once I got into it, I really couldn't stop. A surprisingly interesting book. There were times I was like "good grief, really?". But once I was finished, I couldn't help but chuckle. Hence the high rating.

If you enjoy magic...more
Barb
This story did not turn out to be anything like what I anticipated it to be. It was sweet, quirky, charming, different, slightly romantic and unexpected.

I almost don't want to tell you about it at all for fear of giving something away. The story unfolds over a period of twenty four hours or so, on the day of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. The household is having a special dinner party in honor of the event with old friends arriving to help celebrate. Some unexpected guests also arrive...more
Danielle McClellan
Jan 15, 2013 Danielle McClellan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Danielle by: Book group
This novel reminded me of those ornamental, over-the-top architectural follies that you find perched in the gardens of old British manor houses. It is wildly excessive, completely frothy, and goofily amusing. It is a very quick read, but like other overly-rich confections I have gobbled down, I felt slightly nauseous before I reached the end. I am not entirely sure why others have given the novel rave reviews. It is not badly written; it is a fleeting, ominous ghost story in which nothing much a...more
Julie O'Neal
I actually did not like this book. Initially, I was bothered by the writing style. It was full of run on sentences with too many commas and made it awkward and confusing. The author also seemed to go overboard with the flowery language of the Victorian era and it just sounded like she was trying too hard. A lot of the metaphors used seemed as if she was trying to be poetic but it just ended up not making sense and sounding lame.

I also thought the character development didn't transition at all a...more
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Trans-Atlantic Bi...: The Uninvited Guests 26 42 Oct 03, 2012 04:55AM  
Read by Theme: The Uninvited Guests - Sadie Jones 1 14 Jul 31, 2012 12:44AM  
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was born in London, England, the daughter of a poet and an actress. Her father, Evan Jones, was born in Portland, Jamaica in 1927. He grew up on a banana farm, eventually moving to the United States, and from there to England in the 1950s. His most widely acclaimed work is "The Song of the Banana Man". Sadie's mother, Joanna Jones, was featured as an extra in various television series, including...more
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