BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.

Excerpt from The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

The Uninvited Guests

A Novel

by Sadie Jones
  • Critics' Opinion:
  • Readers' Opinion:
  • First Published:
  • May 1, 2012
  • Paperback:
  • Jan 2013
  • Rate this book

  • Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

1

Edward Swift Departs

Since her marriage to Edward Swift, three years after the sudden death of her first husband Horace Torrington, Charlotte had changed her position at the breakfast table in order to accom­modate her new husband's needs: specifically, aiding him in the spreading of toast and cutting of meat, owing to his having suffered the loss of his left arm at the age of twenty-three in an unfortunate encounter with the narrow wheels of a speeding gig, out of which he had fallen on the driveway of his then home in County Wicklow. Having always faced the window and wide view, now Charlotte sat on Edward's left, and faced him.

Her eldest children, Emerald and Clovis, aged nineteen and twenty respectively, but for whom the word 'children' is not inaccurate at the point at which we discover them, did not like this new arrangement. Nor did they like or approve of Edward Swift; single arm notwithstanding, they found he did not fit.

Clovis Torrington balanced the pearl-handled butter knife on his middle finger and narrowed his eyes at his mother. His eyes were dramatic, and he very often narrowed them at people to great effect.

'We can't leave Sterne,' he stated.

'It would be a great shame,' acknowledged his stepfather.

Clovis curled his lip, loathingly.

'Clovis ... ' his mother growled.

Edward wiped his mouth with a napkin thoroughly and stood up.

'It's all right, Charlotte,' he said, kissing her forehead as he rose. 'I'll know more when I return, Clovis. And neither you nor your sisters — nor your mother — need worry about it until then, but enjoy Emerald's birthday and try not to fret. I'm sorry I can't be here for your guests.'

Charlotte stood, too, and linked her arm through his.

'You're both very naughty,' she said over her shoulder as they left the room.

Emerald had not spoken, but sat throughout breakfast rigid with self-restraint. Now she glanced at Clovis, tears blurring both the scowling sight of him and the vast tapestry that hung behind his head. It was a hunting scene of stags and hounds, a faded, many-layered narrative she knew by heart in all its leaping chases across the flowered forest floor.

'Fret!' said her brother with contempt at the word, stable­mates as it was with sulk and pet.

Emerald shook her head. In his present mood he was the very personification of all three. 'Oh, Clovis,' she said.

From the hall, Edward's voice carried easily to them: 'Clovis! Ferryman needs to be taken out. If you've time today I'd be very much obliged to you.'

His good-tempered authority would have been impressive — lovable — had the very fact of the man not been intolerable to them. Clovis was mutinous. 'He ought to take his damned horse out himself.'

Emerald pushed her plate away.

'He can't very well if he's in Manchester trying to save the house, can he?' she said, and she got up and left the room by the other door so as not to encounter her mother or stepfather again.

He did not go after her. Clovis wasn't somebody who went after people, rather people tended to go after him.

Unable to escape her misery, Emerald wandered up and down in the kitchen for a few moments, aggravating Florence Trieves and Myrtle, and then went out into the garden by the side door.

It was the last day of April. She felt the extraordinary soft­ness of the season on her face and braced herself for a strict talking-to; if it must be audible, she ought at least to get some distance from the house.

The air was complicated with the smells of sharp new things emerging from damp soil. Small tatters of clouds dotted the watery sky. To her left was the door to the kitchen garden and stables. Ahead of her, reaching far and further, in the broadest geometrical sweep, was the country over which Sterne presided. It spread out beneath and beyond, reaching into straining, dazzling blue distance, where the fields became indistinct and hills dissolved to nothing.

  • 1
  • 2

From The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. Copyright 2012 by Sadie Jones. Excerpted by permission of Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Country-House Genre

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start
discovering exceptional books!
Find Out More

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Blue Ruin
    Blue Ruin
    by Hari Kunzru
    Like Red Pill and White Tears, the first two novels in Hari Kunzru's loosely connected Three-...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman and a Thief
    A Gentleman and a Thief
    by Dean Jobb
    In the Roaring Twenties—an era known for its flash and glamour as well as its gangsters and ...
  • Book Jacket: Early Sobrieties
    Early Sobrieties
    by Michael Deagler
    Dennis Monk is sober now, and he expects some applause. Or at least some recognition that he's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Coin
    The Coin
    by Yasmin Zaher
    A popular choice for book jackets in recent years, perhaps especially in the historical fiction ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.
Book Jacket
Lady Tan's Circle of Women
by Lisa See
Lisa See's latest historical novel, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl
    by Bart Yates

    A saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Win This Book
Win Smothermoss

Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

A haunting, imaginative, and twisting tale of two sisters and the menacing, unexplained forces that threaten them and their rural mountain community.

Enter

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.