Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Paying Guests by Sarah Walters

"We're like Anna and Vronsky, aren't we?"

The latest tome from Sarah Waters has already received significant acclaim including nominations for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, and the Specsavers National Book Award For UK Author of the year, not to mention fanfare all round. As I had previously thoroughly enjoyed The Little Stranger, I was eager to explore the author's latest work.
After an unexpected 9 hour flight delay in Hong Kong, and therefore zero sleep in 48 hours, I commenced reading and finished this book on the flight to Italy.

It is part love story, part crime story and makes for a speedy read, due to consistent sense of tension - will they  / won't they, will they get caught? 
The protagonist, Frances Wray and her mother are forced to take on paying guests to make ends meet, in the form of Leon and Lilian Barber. The worlds of Frances and Lilian collide and will never be the same again.

Nineteen twenties London is clearly not the easiest time for two women in love. Particularly when one is trapped in a loveless marriage and the other is trapped with an overbearing mother who will not accept her love life.

When disaster strikes, the tension mounts.

I found Lilian a really unsympathetic character and difficult to relate to. That is perhaps my rationale for removing one point. Their love story also seemed some what over the top.

Despite those slight misgivings, I would say, pack this one in your suitcase, it makes for great holiday reading. Mind you, it was a little disconcerting reading the love scenes seated next to a sweet faced young Chinese boy , I'm certain he couldn't read over my shoulder at any rate.

4 out of 5 horizontal dances leave you flushed.

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