It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.
This is vintage Sarah Waters: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling story.
‘As in every Waters novel you will be hooked within a page . . .The Paying Guests is the apotheosis of her talent; at least for now. I have tried and failed to find a single negative thing to say about it.’ Charlotte Mendelson, Financial Times
‘Absolutely brilliant’ Jacqueline Wilson, Sunday Times
‘A lot of work must have gone into writing this novel but it is no labour at all to devour’ Lionel Shriver, New Statesman
‘Brilliantly involving . . . juicy, beautifully observed’ Metro
‘A stay-up-all-night page-turner’ Glamour
‘Masterly . . . Waters is a cracking storyteller’ Tatler