Reader reviews and comments on The Guest Book, plus links to write your own review.

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The Guest Book

by Sarah Blake

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake X
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake
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  • First Published:
    May 2019, 448 pages
    May 5, 2020, 512 pages


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There are currently 28 reader reviews for The Guest Book
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Nanette S.

The Guest Book
On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I rate his book an average 3. The story gave me a New York City feel while reading it. I kept getting "The Kennedys" and "Camelot" vibe and I did feel the "WASPYness" of the story. I didn't relate to any of the characters in this story, yet it kept me interested enough to keep reading. I usually enjoy family sagas, yet this story felt a little disjointed. It took me awhile to figure out the timeline and characters involved once I started each new chapter. Although I did enjoy the story, I felt like I was only getting glimpses of each character and their beliefs. I think this one may be a "take it or leave it" type novel.

If you don't mind at times reading a sentence consisting of 58 words, you will enjoy this book. If you don't mind reading a book in which settings change rapidly with few transitions, time periods skip from decade to decade, and characters appear and reappear, then Sarah Bake's book is for you. House Guest is an epic family drama of wealth, secrets, and mindless characters. I really tried to like this book, but I did not care for the religious and ethnic intolerance of the Milton family. Barnes and Noble selected this book for its monthly book discussion. Some of the group did enjoy the book but also agreed that it could have been about 150 pages shorter.
Nikki M. (Fort Wayne, IN)

A bit disappointing...
I was excited to receive an early access copy of this one, but it just didn't quite live up to the hype for me. I think sometimes you anticipate a great book, and then your expectations are unrealistically high. That usually leads to disappointment, which is what happened in this case.

Other reviewers loved it, so take my opinion with a grain of salt!
Judi R. (Jericho, NY)

Long Family Saga
The Guest Book was an ambitious undertaking by the author, Sarah Blake. It is a family saga spanning three generations in the early 1900s. There were many threads covering multiple chronologies told in alternating narrative voices. Blake has a lot of confidence in her readers' abilities to follow these threads and piece together hints and clues throughout the chapters.
What I liked: The writing is beautiful, poetic and descriptive. I enjoy historical fiction as a genre and especially like family sagas. Blake touches on the anti-Semitic and racist feelings among the elite upper crust society of this day in a poignant and aching way. This has relevance in today's culture as well. Many lessons to be learned.
What I didn't like: This book is too long. It got bogged down in too much minutiae. There are several characters named after relatives and sometimes it was confusing trying to figure out the timeline and narrator. The book could benefit from a family tree graphic, possibly making one available on a website. The chapters could be headed with a date or some other reference. Several details, although significant to the plot were so slightly developed that they could have been missed entirely by the reader. Some threads seemed to go nowhere, leaving some conclusions to the readers' imaginations.
That said, I was compelled to finish. I cared about the characters. Some I really liked. Some I really disliked, but I needed to know their stories. The author had some important points to make. The threads twisted and several remained unraveled in the end. I just wish the book could have been a little tighter and focused more on fewer story lines.

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