Set in 1912, The Uninvited Guests
is contemporary with the beloved TV series Downton Abbey
, and its playful take on class dynamics - and refusal to take itself too seriously - will appeal to fans of that show. That being said, Sadie Jones's novel, although set in an English country house in the early twentieth century, might as well be worlds away from the unstudied privilege enjoyed by Lord and Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey
The Torrington family is on the brink of insolvency, occupying a largely vacant manor house that's on the verge of needing to be sold and is inhabited by far more rodents than people. As the novel opens, Edward Swift - second husband to Charlotte, stepfather to Emerald, Clovis, and Imogen (Smudge) - is off to London to see about a loan that can save Sterne, his beloved wife's ancestral home. His return a mere twenty-four hours...
Beyond the Book
Readers and viewers seem endlessly fascinated by the English country-house genre. From classic and award-winning novels such as The Remains of the Day
, or Mansfield Park
, to the mysteries of Agatha Christie and P.D. James, to television epics such as Upstairs, Downstairs or Downton Abbey
, they offer both the writer and the reader a concentrated glimpse into a rarefied social milieu, one that often prompts both romantic intensity and social commentary. Although many of these works are historical in nature, they nevertheless seem relevant to contemporary society, especially when (as in The...