The Paying Guests by Sarah Walters

'The Paying Guests' is set in 1922 in South London, Mrs Wray and her daughter Frances have recently acquired lodgers, Mr and Mrs Baker, with them they bring modern ideals and materials, unlike anything Frances and her mother have seen. Tensions grow between the newly married couple as Frances and Mrs Baker's, Lilian's, relationship grows beyond friendship into something far more intimate. Frances and Lilian dream of a different future together and form plans of how they would get there, until a terrible accident takes place, and they're both thrown into the world of trails, judges, and murder, as the future they planned for escapes the pair. 

To be honest, this is the only Sarah Walters book I've ever read, despite the fact she's praised so often, and I only read it because I had to for my English A-Level. Saying this, I don't think I'll be rushing to buy another one of her books.

So you would think the actual plot of this novel would be thrilling, considering that a scandalous love affair occurs as well as a murder in a post-war London; but no, it's actually boring and the book never focuses on any of the action - only the dry, and boring monologue of the narrator. The action in the novel is completely ignored in favour for the emotional struggle Frances experiences, which grows tiring after the first fifty pages of the novel.

The narrator in this book, Frances, is one of the least likeable characters I've ever met - because she's just boring. I found that she was just dry and had no character development at all, she just seemed to moan for the whole of the novel and compared her lover to things like boiled eggs (which will never sound romantic no matter how hard you try).

The other characters in the 'The Paying Guest' are no better, no one seems to have any real character development, and sometimes they seem to step out of character and do things that don't make sense with how they've been portrayed so far. They all seem unrealistic and they're not believable at all, even though they're from a different and society, none of the characters seem to fit or make sense - none of them have any purpose in the novel.

Overall, the book was just disappointing and far too long. I would not recommend this to anyone, unless you like reading through hundred of pages of dry, repeating monologue, and only a few pages of action or substance in the novel.

Rating: 1/5


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