The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I’m slightly ashamed to say this is the only book by Sarah Waters that I have read, though I have 2 others sitting on my bookshelves that I must pick up. The Paying Guests is brilliant. Set in south London in 1922, it’s the story of Sarah, a ‘spinster’ who lives at home alone with her mother after her brothers have all been killed in the war. To make ends meet, they take in lodgers – paying guests. Lilian and Leonard Barber, a ‘modern couple’, move in to the quiet home and their arrival begins to cause disturbances in more ways than one. There’s a big gear change to the story halfway through when it takes a turn that you’re really not expecting. Sarah Waters writes beautifully, paces the story superbly and continues to hold the tension throughout. Great book.

8 thoughts on “The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

  1. I liked this too – though I loved Fingersmith even more. If that’s one of the ones you have on your bookshelf, read it next!

      1. And once you’ve read Fingersmith, you should watch The Handmaiden. It’s the same story (as I realised half way through watching the film!), only moved from Victorian Britain to 1930 Korea, during the Japanese Occupation. Sounds odd, but it’s a phenomenal film. Just read the book first! Love your recommendations.

  2. Just finished reading this -the first book I’ve read by Sarah Waters too – so beautifully written, compelling and page turning. I found it hard to tear myself away from it – loved the unexpected twists and turns. I should read Fingersmith on above recommendation!

  3. Another book chosen by our book group and it certainly gave us much to discuss! Not all of us liked although I was one of those who did! Like Sophie, I haven’t read any of the author’s other books although Fingersmith is on my wish list!

  4. I could not get on with this book and did not finish it, but I loved one of her earlier books, “The Little Stranger”, a creepy ghost story which I found hard to put down.

  5. Nearly quit half way through this book having got bogged down with some aspects. However, I continued to the end and boy was I glad I did. Very good read and such an unexpected finale! Phew!

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