The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones


Every once in a while, I will read something new without knowing anything about what I’m getting myself into, and this was one of those occasions. I picked this book because I am trying to read more books from female authors, and this cover intrigued me. Yes, sometimes I have no idea what kind of book to choose, so I just pick a cover that appeals to me.

The Uninvited Guests dazzled me unexpectedly. The story started a bit slowly, and I thought I was in for a dry historical fiction. Luckily, I was in for a treat.

Beginning with preparations for Emerald Torrington’s twentieth birthday at Stearne, the family’s large crumbling home, the story takes place in 1912 and spans the length of about a day or so. There is a terrible train accident nearby, and the Torrington’s are obliged to take in the survivors as they await retrieval. From there spins a tale in which we witness as societal obligations are dissipated by mysterious and unusual events and guests. All the things that can happen in such a short period of time are enough to make your head spin. Yet, the story doesn’t feel cluttered or rushed.

We see the family and the birthday guests in their rawest forms due to some of the strange circumstances that surround the evening. Each is forced to reveal some truth and to face some painful truths. Each character has both likable and unlikeable traits, adding to the complexity of the relationships and revelations.

Some of the twists are quite noticeable before they happen, but it doesn’t detract from the story too much. The ending is wrapped up in a neat little bow for readers, so if you enjoy a story that throws you for a few loops and then completely uproots your emotional foundation, then you may not appreciate the direction this story takes.

Elegantly written, The Uninvited Guests has an excellent balance of sophistication, intrigue, the supernatural, and just a splash of humor. I found it to be a fun read and recommend it to anyone interested in a historical fiction with strange twists around each corner.

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