So, while I haven’t reviewed any Sarah Waters’ books on here she is by far one of my favourite authors and this book is definitely one of my favourite of hers that I have read. My favourite will always be Tipping the Velvet but I really loved the different time period and dynamic explored in The Paying Guests.
Anyway, The Paying Guests starts as our protagonist Frances and her mother have to take in lodgers – or paying guests – as Frances’ father has died and there are bills that need to be paid. So, in move Leonard and Lilian Barber, a young bohemian couple who seem very nice indeed. However, all is not as it seems with this young couple and as the novel progresses we see that not everything is sunshine and roses.
As you can expect with Waters, there are lesbian themes, there is romance and love doesn’t run a smooth path! But this novel felt different, somehow. I really can’t put my finger on what it was about this, but the story just resonated with me more. Sarah Waters is honestly one of the best storytellers there is. Her novels may not be the most elaborate literary masterpieces, but they are compelling reads that are just so finely woven that you feel you’re there. I read 400 pages of this in an afternoon, I just couldn’t put this down!
The turn it took was somewhat predictable, the aftermath is also a little predictable but… this was just such a good book. My only disappointment is that when I turned the final page I wanted there to be just a little more. I wanted a more rounded conclusion to it all!
I’d seriously recommend this is one for someone who has maybe already explored some of her work, but equally I’d suggest it for someone who wants to step in to her world.
This book wasn’t without its faults but it was a damn good read and one that, while I may not reread any time soon, will definitely stick with me. Ultimately I’m giving this a 4/5!