Sarah Waters is definitely one of my favourite authors. I can’t forget how she completely caught me with the twist in Fingersmith, I never saw it coming and that is unusual. Tipping the velvet, Nightwatch and The Little Stranger are also fantastic books and I am currently debating whether to go see the film version of The Little Stranger. I bet it’s a great film but will it live up to the book and the eerie house I have imagined?
The Paying Guests is Waters’ last book to be published and I have held onto it for a while before reading it. Here Waters has expertly recreated a time period i.e. 1920s. The details are perfect and the atmosphere feels authentic, however, this book weighs in at nearly 600 pages and I’m afraid to say it is easily 200 too many. There are two distinct parts of the book where the plot stalls and we plod along in Frances’ and Lilian’s lives. Once in the middle of the book and then again close to the end and since the book is a primarily a mystery and a bit of a thriller; we need more pace.
In addition, the love story in the book which doesn’t feel real to me. I can’t place my finger on it exactly but there is a hollow feeling to it, or maybe that is what Waters intended? They go through a huge ordeal, and for what? A ghost of a relationship.
Although I have criticised The Paying Guests, it is only because of how good Waters’ previous books are. This is still a good book and I enjoyed it but a little more editing was required. More importantly, I can’t wait until Waters writes another. I will be first in line for it as always.