Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests SPOILERS!!

(62 Posts)
VerucaInTheNutRoom Thu 09-Oct-14 12:43:28

I've just got to the part where Leonard's body has been discovered and I've stalled. The writing is wonderful but I just can't seem to care about the two main characters and I'm finding it a bit tedious. Is it worth continuing ?

Ellisisland Thu 09-Oct-14 13:59:47

I fisnished it the other day and didn't think much of it to be honest.

I loved the writing style and have really enjoyed her other books but I didn't really feel this one went anywhere. It's one I've passed on as I won't read it again

I was disappointed as the reviews made it sound amazing !

hackmum Fri 10-Oct-14 09:41:09

I loved this book, and you clearly don't, but I can say that the pace hots up from the discovery of the body onwards. It's very tense, and if you enjoy courtroom dramas, then there's lots to savour. On the other hand, if you're not liking it so far it may just not be your thing.

AmeliaPeabody Fri 10-Oct-14 12:16:35

I loved it too! One of her best I think.

If you're still not liking it by this point and finding it tedious then I'm not sure. Personally, I would finish it.

VerucaInTheNutRoom Fri 10-Oct-14 16:00:07

I will probably finish it as I hate to give up on a book. Good to know the pace picks up a bit, thanks!

BettyMoody Sat 11-Oct-14 06:16:51

I loved it

ZaraW Fri 17-Oct-14 15:41:46

I was really disappointed, the start was good but then there were none of the twists and turns associated with Sarah Walter's novels I was waiting for something dramatic to occur and nothing did. It was all a bit tedious.

VerucaInTheNutRoom Sun 19-Oct-14 14:36:59

That's exactly how I feel, Zara.

riverboat1 Sun 19-Oct-14 23:00:58

I kind of agree with that. I loved the first half, Frances and Lillian were great characters and I thought their love story was really beautifully written, and pretty damn hot, to be honest.

So the second half really brought me back down to earth with a bump, and I found it really miserable reading. There wasn't anything to hope for, because both the 'dark paths' - getting away with murder but barely being able to live with yourself, or coming clean and feeling liberated of your moral burden but going to prison or even to the gallows - seemed equally awful prospects really. Yes, it had a kind of happy ending in so far as they got away with it and managed to stay together, but it didn't really feel believable that their relationship would survive all they had been through up to that point.

I think I would have preferred it to be EITHER

- a second half without any kind of murder, where it was more about Lillian and Frances overcoming all the 'normal' barriers of society, their family, their finances etc to be together

- a second half with the murder, but without us actually knowing who killed Leonard. We, with Frances, could be led to suspect it was Lillian but actually there could be more to it than that, maybe it was someone else entirely, which could come out over the course of the investigation trial. Or, we could be led to believe it WASN'T Lillian, only to find out it was and she had really done the 'desparate act' in order to be with Frances, and covered it up in a very calculated, cold-hearted way that made Frances not want to be with her any more.

VerucaInTheNutRoom Tue 21-Oct-14 22:31:04

Ach well, now you've told me what happens at the end, I don't need to finish it... wink

riverboat1 Wed 22-Oct-14 07:18:09

Oh no, I'm so sorry! I was dying to discuss it and when I saw the spoiler warning in the thread title I got carried away and just assumed we could post all. Really hope I haven't ruined it for you...

VerucaInTheNutRoom Wed 22-Oct-14 08:07:15

Lol, don't worry, I may have already had a sneaky peek at the last chapter. Oh the shame !

SkaterGrrrrl Sun 26-Oct-14 21:52:35

I thought it was very well written. Psychologically gripping. I didn't like Lillian or Len but I did like Frances, very much.
And loved all the little touches about society in London just after the Great War, the class barriers breaking down. Frances feeling conscious of her hands at a dinner, because they betray the fact that she does housework; or the young msn at the party who speaks to her, as he would never have dared to 10 years earlier.

SkaterGrrrrl Sun 26-Oct-14 21:53:13

man not msn.

Brices Tue 18-Nov-14 14:18:37

Really enjoyed this novel, her best yet. Fantastic atmosphere, loved the way the songs in particular built up the historical feel. Romance was top notch as usual but the crime part I felt did an excellent job in ratcheting up the tension.
Writing sublime you could really wallow in the details. Surprised to come on here and find differing opinions!

Southeastdweller Sun 28-Dec-14 21:00:14

I finished it yesterday and enjoyed it on the whole. It was slow in parts in the first half but I mostly agree with the comments here about it being gripping, the atmosphere being atmospheric, the social commentary, and the way she built up tension was almost unbearable at times...but the ending, oh my goodness...that was so very disappointing. Some other comments on other threads saying that the posters loved the ending influenced me in that I was predicting a 'wow' of a twist - I'd also read Fingersmith, so that also made me expect a twist. But the ending was just so dull and didn't seem appropriate with the superb storytelling of what had gone before.

DuchessofMalfi Sun 28-Dec-14 21:53:28

I thought the ending was quite shocking in that they got away with it. But I do know what you mean, Southeast. And by that point I'd pretty much decided there was no future happiness for Frances and Lilian.

I loved it but didn't like Lilian.

Still can't decide if Lilian really loved Frances or not. In the end I felt sorry for Frances, they won't be happy.

Southeastdweller Tue 30-Dec-14 19:16:49

The book being atmospheric, I meant to say blush

I agree, Pete - Lilian's feelings were ambiguously written in that respect...Frances deserved more.

iamEarthymama Wed 21-Jan-15 13:46:22

I adored Sarah Waters early books but hated the last one, thought it was pointless and now feel exactly the same about this one!
I agree the details are well drawn; I was brought up with grandparents who were born at the turn of C20th so I love this period
But this is tedious......I can't be bothered to finish it, which is very rare for me.
I guess I have to give up on Ms Waters, which is very sad

antimatter Wed 01-Jul-15 08:59:29

I just finished it - didn't really see the point of it, it was dragging.
What a shame as Fingersmith IMHO is one of the best books I read.

bibliomania Wed 01-Jul-15 13:31:46

a second half without any kind of murder, where it was more about Lillian and Frances overcoming all the 'normal' barriers of society, their family, their finances etc to be together

Yes, would have preferred this. Courtroom dramas are ten a penny, and this would have been more interesting (to me).

hackmum Wed 01-Jul-15 17:26:37

What I loved about it though was that the outcome of the courtroom drama was so unexpected - it seemed to be going in one direction and then ended up in another.

Actually, I loved lots of things about it, including the fantastic period detail - the way she conveyed how it felt to have so many men killed and others begging on the street. It was rather wonderful. She is rather wonderful.

antimatter Wed 01-Jul-15 17:49:12

She's mentioned shaving legs by women, I read something on the net and indeed in the 20's women started shaving legs, book was based in 1922. Would they have already been shaving them if they were like Frances and living in Camberwell?

EarlGreyhamGreene Fri 03-Jul-15 16:18:00

I bloody loved it, was gripped to the end - however, in retrospect, I suppose it does kind of wind down after the murder. Different tone, but I think she captures it very well - that sickening waking nightmare feeling.

Agree with hackmum that the period detail is just so amazing, and I particularly loved the class/gender stuff that Waters is so good at. Little touches like the mother wincing when she sees Frances cleaning the floor, and the posh neighbour's idea that "all the good men were killed off in the war"

I also love the absurdity of the difference between a death at home (murder), but her brothers' deaths were "legal" because they happened on the battlefield.

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