Book Review: The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

The Univited Guests by Sadie Jones

Rating: 5/5
Number of pages: 272
First published: 2012 (May 1st)
Genre: contemporary fiction
I got this book: for review from Harper (an imprint of HarperCollins)

This was a real fun book to read! The beginning of the book reminded me of The Stranger’s Child (Alan Hollinghurst) while the ending was more like Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons). Of course, the story is nothing like these books, it’s just me with my weird associations!

The Uninvited Guests: What it is about

At Sterne Manor, around 1900, things are not well. Edward Swift, the man of the house, has gone to Manchester in an attempt to borrow money that will save the family from having to sell their house. It’s also his stepdaughter Emerald’s 20th birthday and preparations are made for a wonderful dinner.

Then a group of unexpected guests arrive – a train has derailed and this being the nearest house to the accident, the survivors have been sent here. Caroline, Edwards wife and Emerald’s mother, does not concern herself with such matters and leaves it to her Emerald and Clovis, her teenage son, to take care of the guests. In fact, she’s not very good at taking care of anything because there is also the much younger daughter Smudge, who has spent days in her bedroom pretending to be ill, with not a single visit from her mother to check up on her.

Meanwhile, the invited guests have also arrived – a childhood friend of Emerald’s and her brother, and the nearby farmer who is richer than the Swifts themselves (who Caroline wouldn’t mind marrying Emerald).

The guests from the rail accident want to know when they can leave (and would like some food in the mean time, please), the dinner party is about to begin, and Emerald and the servants are trying to keep on top of it all. Then another uninvited, and unwelcome, guest arrives at the house. Things run out of hand fast.

The Uninvited Guests: What I thought

I loved this book. The atmosphere is great, there is a real sense of being in a manor house, snobbish Caroline, working-class railroad guests and it reads just like a book written in the era itself. I also loved the supernatural feel of the story – what’s real and what isn’t?

The quirkyness of the story is great too: the mother who doesn’t care about most things, the farmer who is richer than the manor house owners, the problems phoning the railway for information, a horse that is brought into the house, the dinner games that are played and so much more.

It was beautifully written but still a fast read. I mentally chuckled all the way through the book.


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

30 Responses to Book Review: The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

  1. I’ve been seeing this book around for a while now and it does look fun 🙂

  2. bibliosue says:

    Oh this does sound fun — the description makes me think of old BBC comedies. I’m going to put this on my to-read list.

  3. I thought the title of this book was already intriguing, and now that I have read your review, Judith, I’ll have to put it on my wishlist.
    Yes, you did it again.

  4. Everything about this book calls to me. An old manor, a quirky family, mysterious guests? Yes, please!

  5. jenn aka the picky girl says:

    I also really liked the small things between the people attracted to one another. Ernest feels like Emerald is laughing at him, when she’s really much more like him than either can imagine. Same with Clovis and Patience.

    I also really loved the scene with John (but don’t want to give it away). It was so human.

  6. raidergirl3 says:

    I too enjoyed this book alot. Just plain fun! I just noticed that the names of the potential beaux were Ernest and Patience, kind of funny, but I imagine they were common in that era.

    Great review!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Raidergirl, I didn’t really notice their names, but you’re right, they are funny. They are indeed names that you’d see a lot in those days.

  7. Iris says:

    I really really want to read this. Sadie Jones has been on my wishlist for a while, let alone a novel set around 1900 with supernatural aspects! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much.

  8. heavenali says:

    Really like the sound of this one : )

  9. Cat says:

    It has been getting some mixed reviews but I loved it – glad you did too!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Cat, I was surprised when I posted my review at There were almost equal number of people for each star rating! I can’t understand what they didn’t like about the book. Good to hear you loved it too.

  10. That’s three rave reviews I’ve read of this book now. I really must pick it up!

  11. Athira says:

    I’ve been really curious about this one. Although I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book, I feel intrigued by the plot, so I’m glad to see that you recommend it.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I have the feeling you’d like this, Athira. I was surprised at the mixed review, I thought people would enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

  12. I think this just sounds so amazing!

  13. Katrien says:

    This sounds great! A book to add on my whishlist!

  14. Mystica says:

    Humor always such a nice part if its in a book!

  15. Sandra says:

    great review! I really want to read this book.

  16. Pingback: Uninvited guests « Tararua District Library

  17. Pingback: Review: The Uninvited Guests | Giraffe Days

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