The Paying Guests

How well she filled her own skin! She might have been poured generously into it, like treacle.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, book review

Title: The Paying Guests
Author: Sarah Waters
First Published: 2014
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.56)
I would recommend this book to: Anyone looking for a light read.
The Beginning: The Barbers had said they would arrive by three.

What a disappointment Sarah Waters’ new novel turned out to be. And I wasn’t even expecting much, as I’ve had mixed feelings about her writing in the past. My first Sarah Waters read, Fingersmith, entertained me. It was fast-paced, nerve-racking and had some great settings, but the story itself seemed downright silly to me. My expectations were very low when I started Tipping The Velvet, which I happened to adore! It even made it to my top 5 books of 2013.

Naturally, I didn’t know what to expect from The Paying Guests. But to be utterly bored was definitely not expected. The story is so simple: two women fall in love and accidently commit a horrible crime. Will they get away with it and still have each other? This clich√© dragged on and on for 564 pages.

I think part of my problem was the setting. Fingersmith took place in the gutter of London, a creepy old castle and at a mental asylum, and is full of deceit and plot twists. Tipping The Velvet took place in music halls with cross dressers playing with their identity. The Paying Guests takes place in a house. A house that is constantly cleaned. This wouldn’t matter if the characters were fascinating and the story brilliant. This one wasn’t.

What’s more, I found the characters stupid. Reading The Paying Guests was like watching an accident in slow motion. I wanted to run in and scream ‘NOOOO’. The only positive thing I have to say is that the writing was good. And I was slightly entertained about 50% of the time.

4 thoughts on “The Paying Guests

  1. I’m listening to Juliet Stevenson reading it as an audiobook right now, in part because it appears to me that anything read by her automatically goes up one star for me. I’m about 80% through it and I can see that I might respond just as you have if I were turning pages but as an accompaniment for commuting or shopping, I’m enjoying it.

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