Book Review: The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters

Frances Wray and her mother are doing everything they can to make ends meet in 1920s London. In order to bring some income into the house, they set up an apartment in the top portion of their house. In comes the Barbers, Lillian and Leonard, and Frances strikes up an interesting relationship with them, especially Mrs. Barber.

Ok here’s the thing. I loved the writing and the pacing of the book. But I was so frustrated, and at times infuriated, with the characters in this book. I thought that Frances and Lillian were two of the most selfish characters I have ever read AND some of the decisions that they made had me so angry that I literally wanted to chunk the book. Let me be clear, I don’t necessarily have to like the characters in books that I read, however, I’m not sure the author wanted me to actually dislike them. But I did.

Additionally, there were a few cheap plot points that I saw coming from a mile away. I don’t mind predictable plot points in my book, if there is a level of uniqueness to them. There wasn’t anything unique about the way the author used the plot points.

I know it sounds like I would never read this author again, but I have heard this was one of here weakest novels and that her other works are much better. I did enjoy the atmosphere that Waters was able to create throughout the book, from the beginning there was a sense of mystery that pulsated throughout the book. On a sentence level, she is an incredible writer. It was just the characters man, that did me in.

Overall, I would not recommend this book but I definitely would recommend this author.

Have you read a Sarah Waters book? Which one should I read next? Let’s chat in the comments

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Much Love,

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