Book Review: The Paying Guests-Sarah Waters

the paying guests

First, I should apologize for being gone for so long. Things have been a whirlwind lately, but I’m happy to be back and deliver some bookish news and reviews for you all.

There has been so much buzz about Sarah Waters’ new novel The Paying Guests, so I knew I had to get my hands on a copy somehow. I had previously read Waters’ Tipping the Velvet and had really enjoyed it, so I was truly looking forward to reading her newest work. Sarah Waters has a marvelous way of writing thats pulls in the reader very slowly and surely, and once you’re in,  you’re completely hooked. She pays attention to detail, and takes her time with her characters.  You can tell her love of  historical backgrounds and early 20th century settings, as she creates a world and story with both of these things.

The novel is interwoven with relationships and their rise and fall and shortcomings. The relationship between two people, Frances Wray and Lilian Barber are peeled layer by layer, leaving the characters exposed and vulnerable in the reader’s hand. Frances Wray and her widowed mother decide to take in tenants due to the hardships left by the First World War. Lilian and her husband Leonard Bernard move in to the house with Frances and her mother, and it is here the shift is made. Relationships are made and tested, love intervenes and pushes the boundaries, and mental and physical spaces are stretched and pulled. Waters creates interesting dynamics between characters as mysteries and secrets unfold at Champion Hill.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Paying Guests, and would recommended it to anyone who wants a good juicy historical fiction. I poured through the pages and was never left with a dull feeling. If you know or have read anything by Waters, then you know what to expect. I was impressed with how she creates relationships and builds upon them, all the while creating shifts in the setting and further deepening the plot. It was not a difficult read, and it was quite enjoyable (although lugging around a 564 page hardcover is not so fun).  Towards the end of the novel, the story dragged on a bit, and I just wanted it to come to a conclusion (you’ll understand why if you’ve read the book). Also the ending is extremely anti-climatic and I was very disappointed by the way it ended. I felt as if Waters herself didn’t know how to end the novel, so it transfers that way to the reader. With that being said, overall I was highly pleased with The Paying Guests and would give it a giant thumbs up. It’s a bestseller must read and Waters has a long career ahead of her if she keeps writing great stories like this one.  A sure read, The Paying Guests isn’t one to disappoint.

withwith with how she creates relationships and builds upon them


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