18 January 2013

Imprint Friday: The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Harper Perennial. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

Because I enjoyed Sadie Jones’s Small Wars, I was looking forward to reading her latest novel, The Uninvited Guests, out in paperback this month. When I learned the story takes place in England a few years before World War I and involves a family that is just about to lose its tenuous hold on gentility, I was intrigued.

Here's the publisher's summary:

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.

Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant parlor game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.

The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises—where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety—and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.
From the start you can see that trouble is brewing. Emerald and her brother, Clovis, are unhappy with their stepfather and with the thought of losing their home. Young Smudge is in hiding and is left unsupervised. Edward Swift, the stepfather, has gone into town to see about borrowing money, meaning his wife, Charlotte, is to be the sole hostess of the birthday party. No one seems particularly happy on this celebration day.

Jones skillfully sets up the time period through both the descriptive prose and the dialogue, firmly placing us in Edwardian England. Snapshot scenes with each of the family members creates a mood of unease. We're not sure what's going to happen, but we know it won't be all good.

When the accident survivors appear on the doorstep, the family has nowhere to put them and nothing to feed them. And, of course, they are mostly of the lower classes and can't be trusted. To make matters worse, the gentleman among the victims begins to behave shockingly, ultimately leaving an indelible mark on the family.

Sadie Jones's The Uninvited Guests is a story of manners and saving face, perfectly blended with humor and social commentary spiced with a hint of Gothic.

Don't miss Harper Perennial's trademark P.S.section at the back of the novel. There you can read an interview with Sadie Jones about the novel and its characters as well as an article she wrote about great dinner party scenes from books and movies. The Uninvited Guests was a Indie Next pick for May 2012.

Harper Perennial is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For information about the imprint, please read the welcome note, posted here on June 18, 2010. To discover more Harper Perennial books, use the Topics/Labels pull-down menu in the sidebar. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. For more about Harper Perennial, follow them on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.

Buy The Uninvited Guests at an Indie or at a bookstore near you. (This link leads to an affiliate program.)
Published by HarperCollins / Harper Perennial, 2013

ISBN-13: 9780062116512
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).

11 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 1/18/13, 6:54 AM  

Glad you enjoyed this one. I thought it was different, but liked it as well.

Joanna 1/18/13, 7:33 AM  

I think I have The Outcast on my shelves somewhere, will probably start with that.

bermudaonion 1/18/13, 8:07 AM  

I love a little hint of Gothic! I also love it when Harper Collins include a P. S. section!

Andi 1/18/13, 10:22 AM  

I love reading/watching anything involving this time period and the struggle and the changing of the classes. Definitely on my wishlist.

Beth Hoffman 1/18/13, 10:49 AM  

This sounds so entertaining. I'm adding it to my list!

Zibilee 1/18/13, 12:16 PM  

I really want to read this one, or to listen to it. It sounds like the perfect mix of genteel manners mixed with a bit of debauchery, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Excellent thoughts on this one today. I need to check around and see if this one can be had soon!

Shan 1/18/13, 12:55 PM  

I really enjoyed this one. And it's not the type of book I usually pick up without it being highly recommended to me first.

Daryl 1/18/13, 1:34 PM  

interesting .. piqued mine ..

Nise' 1/18/13, 9:33 PM  

Your Imprint Friday posts have my shelves buckling with books! Love it.

Barbara 1/19/13, 10:29 AM  

I always enjoy your Imprint Friday posts too. This book is going on my wish list for both the story and the time period. Sounds great.

Jenn's Bookshelves 1/20/13, 5:22 PM  

Hmm...this sounds like a book I should pick for a book club selection!

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