In The Uninvited Guests, it's Emerald Torrington's 20th birthday and preparations are underway at Sterne, a grand old manor house in the English countryside. When a train accident requires the partiers to make room for the survivors, the whole household is thrown into chaos. The dinner guests are determined to make the best of it even though the evening isn't turning out as they had hoped.
This book started out quite good. I loved the setting and the time frame: English countryside in the early 1900s. The manor is run down and the family is eccentric, but that just made it all the more fun to read about. Or so I thought.
I'm not exactly when it happened, but at some point the story took a turn that can only be described as peculiar. At first, I wasn't even sure what was happening. I had a hard time understanding the actions of anyone; the family, the guests, the survivors. Were they in shock? Overly eccentric? It's hard to describe it, without giving too much away.
The book contained a few words that were unfamiliar to me:
stoat (page 130): small thin brown furry animal
parvenu (page 165): someone with new wealth or social status, but still considered inferior
maenad (page 217): wildly excited woman
Even though my interest in the story line waned at times, I was determined to finish it. I can't say I understood it fully, though. The comments by two leading authors on the cover of this advance reader's copy lead me to believe that I really misunderstood this novel. Neither the dark British humour nor the social commentary on class registered with me.
I'm sure there's an audience for this type of book somewhere, but I don't think I'd recommend this book to anyone I know.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, Harper (HarperCollins), ©2012. ISBN 9780062116505(Advance Reader's Edition), 260p.