The Uninvited Guests [NOOK Book]

Overview

One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor—and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.

The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band ...

See more details below
The Uninvited Guests

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor—and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.

The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band of visitors is not invited to taste. But nothing, it seems, will go according to plan. As the passengers wearily search for rest, the house undergoes a strange transformation. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels.

Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant parlor game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.

The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises—where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety—and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Lightness—by which I mean the sly, subversive dexterity of a Mozart opera or Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream—is the elusive quality that Jones's enchanted new novel reaches for, and lightness is what it achieves…Jones…remind[s] us how porous the barrier is between all distinctions, in art as well as in society. Whatever our station, we are all the uninvited guests in this life, she's telling us, with a duty to treat others as we would ourselves. She manages to make these old truths seem new and does so with the haunting lightness of a dream.
—Donna Rifkind
The New York Times Book Review
…a delicious tea sandwich of genres set in post-Edwardian England…in varying parts drawing-­room comedy, ghost story, horse story and, most improbably, love story…[Jones's] command of period archness tips its hat to a pantheon of social satirists: Luis Buñuel in cahoots with Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen.
—Jan Stuart
Publishers Weekly
Sterne, the English country house at the center of this remarkable dark comedy, is home to the Torringtons—mother Charlotte, a widow now married to Edward Swift; children Emerald, Clovis, and “Smudge”; and an assortment of faithful staff. Set sometime in the early part of the 20th century, somewhere in the north of England (the ambiguity is telling), the novel takes place over a single day, April 30. A celebration is underway for Emerald’s 20th birthday, and what appears to be a Wodehouseian comedy with a touch of Dodie Smith is derailed when a local train jumps its track, soon filling Sterne with stranded, shocked passengers. The “uninvited guests” are decidedly lower class and deliberately indistinct, but for one notable exception: Charlie Traversham-Beechers, who seems to know a good deal about the family, particularly Charlotte. Jones’s (Small Wars) characters are delightfully eccentric, the wit delightfully droll, and the prose simply delightful. But for all its charm, this is a serious book; it’s no coincidence that the new day dawning at its close is May Day, or International Workers’ Day, though Jones’s theme is less class warfare than the seemingly absolute divide between the classes. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, the Gernert Company. (May 1)
Lev Grossman
"Entertaining…Jones is a writer of admirable narrative energy…with a painfully accurate, almost Stoppardian ear for dialogue and a delightful streak of cruelty that flirts with…the gothic."
Mary Pols
"Vividly atmospheric…niftily deceptive…a story of shattered snobbery, transformation of character and in the end a surprising and eerily beautiful portrait of compassion…A sublimely clever book."
Maile Meloy
"…THE UNINVITED GUESTS…defied my expectations. I saw none of it coming. I read it in one breathless sitting, and finished wanting to give it to everyone I know."
Sarah Blake
"What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen,…I was captivated by its madcap nature and then, unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became."
Ann Patchett
"A brilliant novel…At once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class…so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment."
Jacqueline Winspear
"What opens as an amusing Edwardian country house tale soon becomes a sinister tragi-comedy of errors…in true Shakespearean fashion. Sadie Jones is a most talented and imaginative storyteller."
Philip Womack
"A delightful, eerie novel…Jones expertly balances the whimsical and the strange, building things to a climax of abandon, terror and restitution…Engrossing, enjoyable."
Robin Vivimos
"Delightful and unexpected…These well-imagined characters serve to raise stakes the reader cares about. They move beyond archetypes, becoming something unexpectedly rich and engaging."
Maureen Corrigan
"…a delicious romp to read…Jones’ novel is as tightly constructed as one of those elaborate corsets that the Crawley women squeeze into to sashay around the drawing rooms at Downton."
Wall Street Journal
"Delicious…comparisons with Downton Abbey will be both inevitable and fair."
Atlantic Monthly
"Jones’ clever prose and bright tone heighten her characters and setting…she adroitly draws the layers of character that are exposed as shameful secrets come to light."
Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazine
"Enthralling…An English countryside setting, an ever-twisting plot, and gorgeously precise writing add up to one delightful novel."
USA Today
"Exhilaratingly strange and darkly funny…veers off in a wildly surprising direction, and the way it plays out is delightful, sexy, moving-even profound…Will haunt you-but happily."
Christian Science Monitor
"’Downton Abbey’ takes a turn for the supernatural in Sadie Jones’s stylishly eccentric comedy of manners THE UNINVITED GUESTS...Anglophiles who admire a biting sense of humor and a tinge of the Gothic, pull up a chair."
New York Times
"Ms. Jones’s comedy of manners, which takes place over a single evening in 1912, gleefully exposes the family members’ snobbery… The author can’t resist harassing the Torringtons with the menace in the next room…"
Washington Post
"An enchanted new novel…[with] the sly, subversive dexterity of a Mozart opera or Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’"
New York Times Book Review
"The author’s command of period archness tips its hat to a pantheon of social satirists: Luis Buñuel in cahoots with Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen. Jones’s caustic takedown of 1-percenter exceptionalism arrives like a divine gift to occupying party poopers everywhere."
Ellen Shapiro
"A comedy of manners that turns downright surreal…Jones’s effervescent writing keeps the course steady-even as her characters shed their civilized veneers."
Kirkus Reviews
Strange goings-on at an Edwardian country house. Jones (Small Wars, 2010, etc.) quickly establishes a tension-riddled scenario. Charlotte Torrington Swift is in danger of losing Sterne, the grand manor bought for her by her adoring first husband, who couldn't afford it and died leaving a pile of debts. Second husband Edward is off to Manchester to try and save Sterne—not that this wins him any favor from petulant Clovis and Emerald, who have never liked their stepfather. Edward will miss Emerald's 20th birthday party, to which childhood friends Patience and Ernest Sutton have been invited; spoiled but good-natured Emerald worries that the clever, unfashionable siblings will be rudely treated by her ill-tempered brother and their status-obsessed mother. Circumstances become even more unpromising with the arrival of survivors of a terrible crash on the nearby branch line, whom the Great Central Railway informs Charlotte will have to be hosted overnight. There's something very odd about these passengers, and odder still about Charlie Traversham-Beechers, another survivor and an old acquaintance of Charlotte's, though she's clearly alarmed to see him. Traversham-Beechers is invited to the awkward birthday dinner, while housekeeper Florence Trieves struggles to find food for his increasingly rowdy fellow passengers. He uses a self-invented game, Hinds and Hounds, to encourage the airing of everyone's unpleasant opinions about each other, and the game ends with Traversham-Beechers' ugly revelations about Charlotte's past. At this point, what seemed to be a savage comedy of manners takes a 90-degree turn and becomes a supernatural confection. There's no question about Jones' skill—the novel is cleverly constructed and written in smooth prose. It's quite a step down in ambition and moral seriousness, however, from her two previous novels. The nasty climax to Hinds and Hounds, obviously intended to make a statement about the human capacity for evil, has its impact muffled by the deliberately implausible happy ending, modeled on a Shakespearean romance. A peculiar change of pace for this gifted author.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062116536
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 142,801
  • File size: 489 KB

Meet the Author

Sadie Jones is the author of four novels, including The Outcast, winner of the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize/Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Small Wars, and the bestselling The Uninvited Guests. She lives in London.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. What is the significance of the epigraph, from the satiric 18th-century masterpiece Don Juan by Lord Byron?

2. The technique of the literary “tableau” was frequently employed by 18th-century novelists, by taking a painterly approach to describing a particular scene or set-piece that visually echoes a mood or theme in the wider novel. Can you find instances in which Jones has used such a device, and what do you think is their significance?

3. Few clocks at Sterne appear to be in working order. Discuss the imagery associated with timekeeping in the novel.

4. Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this novel includes several mixed-up pairings of potential lovers who must overcome a night of disarray and confusion in order to achieve romantic order. Discuss other ways in which this novel touches on the themes in Shakespeare’s quintessential romantic comedy.

5. What is the significance of dreaming throughout the novel?

6. This novel is set in the period immediately preceding the First World War, during a rapid period of change from which emerged the “Machine Age,” displacing servant and peasant classes. Discuss this setting in the context of class structures and technology in the novel.

7. Discuss the imagery surrounding food, and the fantastic descriptions of food that Florence is preparing.

8. Discuss the interdependency (and sometimes blurred distinctions) between humans and animals throughout the novel.

9. What accounts for Florence’s transformation?

10. Discuss the climactic scene involving Lady’s descent and the settling of the travellers near the end of the book. What did it all mean, in your opinion?

11. This novel straddles many literary genres, from comedy to social satire to romance and horror. In your mind, which is the most apt descriptor of this novel? Do such distinctions matter?

12. What do you think of the character Smudge? Will her neglect prove to be a hindrance or a help in life? And what do you think is the truth of her birth?

13. Discuss the significance of the nature that surrounds the house, for instance the flowerbed in which Emerald weeps in the morning, and in which she later finds love amidst mud and rain.

14. Jones wrote this book using a sweeping omniscient narrative technique, allowing us glimpses into the inner thoughts and experiences of each of the characters, even some unexpected ones. What did you think of this strategy? Could the story have been told without it?

15. At the novel’s close, Jones places the word “Curtain” instead of “End.” Why do you think this is?

16. Can you imagine this novel adapted to film? If so, which actors would you cast for the various roles?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(10)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2012

    I wanted to read The Uninvited Guests from the moment I heard ab

    I wanted to read The Uninvited Guests from the moment I heard about the book. Imagine my joy, then, when I won an advance reader copy on Goodreads!

    Sadie Jones’ The Uninvited Guests introduces us to the eccentric, dysfunctional Torrington-Swift family. There is the self-centered Charlotte Torrington-Swift, her doting second husband Edward Swift, and the three children of her previous marriage: Clovis, Emerald, and Imogen (aka Smudge). They live at Stern, a stately manor in the English countryside, but financial issues could mean them losing it. Edward is off to secure funds to save the home while those left behind celebrate Emeralds twentieth birthday. Then, disaster. A train accident sends some restless uninvited guests their way, including one Charles Traversham-Beechers. He claims to know of Charlotte's past, and he may just be wicked enough to reveal it.

    Of all the characters, the most likeable may be Emerald, the capable yet resigned-to-her-fate birthday girl, followed closely by her odd and neglected sister Smudge. Clovis is quite the snob, and Charlotte an absent and vain mother. We also meet the Swift-Torrington housekeepers Myrtle and Florence, and the guests invited to Emeralds soiree: John Buchanan, Ernest and Patience Sutton, and, of course, Charles Traversham-Beechers. They range from the bland to the vicious, though some change their tune by the books end.

    The story itself is very entertaining and well written. Told in third-persons, the narration is funny, witty, and just a bit quirky. I found myself laughing on quite a few occassions. Many that books that claim to be humorous satire rarely hit their mark for me, but this book had its true laugh-out-loud moments. Though a satire, a comedy of manners, the bigger message of the novel is not lost. We see the worst brought out in these society folk, both in how they treat each other and how they treat those they believe are beneath them. But we also see them grow and learn. Some, as I’ve mentioned, mature greatly through the novel and are changed for the better by the experience.

    This book is clever, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys satirical novels, and anyone who wants a good look at human nature at its best and worst. Or just anyone looking for a wildly adventurous and truly bizarre tale.

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Period piece with a twist

    I bought this book for my wife but needed a quick read so I picked it up. Normally this is not a genre I would read. The characters were well developed and while the plot at the beginning was not overly compelling there was enough interest in the characters to keep going. Once the uninvited guests arrive the story takes some interesting twists which I won't reveal here lest I spoil the plot. I'll just say the novel goes where I had no idea it was headed based on the start. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 15, 2012

    Unusual

    I liked this book but it is not for everyone. It is a Austen-like mystery.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    This was an enchanting book. It was beautifully written and the

    This was an enchanting book. It was beautifully written and the tale was beautifully woven. I felt like I was there, and I was sad when the book ended.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Interesting Read

    I'm not quite sure how to describe this book. I enjoyed, it but at the same time, found it a bit fragmented. It almost seemd as though the author shifted the story line while writing this book. It seemd to take a twist that didn't quite flow as smooth as it should have. Still, I did find I wanted to keep reading to see what happened next.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 17, 2012

    Not my type of book.Didn't find it entertaining.

    Didn't find it entertaining. Maybe because I didn't get the British humor. I thought it was boring and too imaginary.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2012

    Silly to the point of ridiculous

    I couldn't finish this book. The plot was so silly and ridiculous. I wasn't entertained nor did I care what happened to anyone in the book. What is the point of reading the novel when you have lost all interest in it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2012

    This is an unusual tale with a few twists. British siblings Emer

    This is an unusual tale with a few twists. British siblings Emerald, Clovis, and Smudge prepare to celebrate Emerald's birthday. Many "uninvited guests" arrive, creating stress for all, including the staff and the narcissistic mother. I enjoyed the humorous dialogue between Emerald and Clovis; however, I believe the plot could have been more developed, particularly, in the middle and end of the book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2012

    Enjoyable but strange

    Very different type of book, reminded me of the old zwilight zone shows with rod sterling -

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2012

    Never got into it.

    I started this book and read over 300 pages and still could not understand what was going on. I found it very difficult to get involved in. Do not recommend!!!

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    DREADFUL

    I bought this based on a recommendation in Family Circle magazine. Was extremely disappointed. Cliched characters, situations introduced and left unresolved, and the supernatural element was clumsily addressed. I'm willing to suspend disbelief, but not for writing as poor as this.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Strange

    Strange. So strange. Odd storyline with many unbelievable elements and no feeling of connection to any characters. Wish I'd saved my money.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 3, 2013

    I'm giving this three stars, but I have never really come down o

    I'm giving this three stars, but I have never really come down on the side of recommending it to anyone. I don't mind odd stories, but this oddity did not intrigue me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    I don't know what got into me

    To buy and read this book???! From the very first page, I knew I wasn't going to like it. Well, I was wrong: I hated it. You think the story is about one thing, then it goes another way, makes another turn, then ends up back at the beginning. And the characters are awful people, for the most part. You have to give the author credit for getting it published, though. Not sure how, but she did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Not very entertaining

    It isn't funny, intriguing, scarey, mysterious - I really can't find anything to recommend it. The characters aren't quirky enough to carry it off as a comedy, and too dysfunctional to participate in their own tale. And the ending, well predictable and dull.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Very wordy and rambling.

    Disjointed narrative , characters poorly developed,easily determined that people were dead..not worth the purchase ..one book to get from the library.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012

    Amazing!

    Full of surprises!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Good but not great...

    On the heels of Downton Abbey wrapping up a second season, I was very eager to stay connected to this time period in England and The Uninvited Guests was a strong recommend. While I enjoyed the book, the cold dreariness of the characters made it difficult to have much of an emotional connection, with the exception of the neglected daughter, Smudge (who provides the reader with a little quirkiness and humor). The story takes a sudden (and yet predictable) turn and leaves the reader wanting more than what the ending offered. While the book certainly didn't meet my expectations, I would recommend it as "filler reading" between better book choices.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Possibility

    Difficult to recommned - many people might not enjoy all the various characters. It was an interesting read - the ending seemed rather bizarre. MA38

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Do not listen to the first review!

    I may not have read the book but i met the author and let me tell you she is pretty nice. So if ya don't have anything nice ta say keep it to yo' self

    1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)