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08 January 2015

The Paying Guests

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is an historical crime novel set in 1922 London.

The widow Mrs. Wray and her adult daughter Frances find themselves in financial trouble after Mr. Wray passes away. It is not seemly for women of their class to work, so they have decided to take in lodgers. Most of the upstairs of the house has been converted into a suite of rooms - bedroom, parlor and kitchen - to accommodate the young married couple about to move in.

Lilian and Leonard Barber are moving away from his parent's house into their own space. Leonard, as part of the clerk class that will become the emerging middle class, works for an insurance house. Lilian spends her time decorating their rooms with an eclectic mix of items from cultures around the world.

Though Frances thinks of the Barbers merely as a source of income, an unlikely friendship forms between Frances and Lilian. A bond grows as they spend more time together - a bond that will lead to unexpected consequences.

Waters is a masterful story teller. Her historical fiction takes readers back in time in the way of few other writers. Start reading one of her books today - you will be hooked.

Waters, Sarah. (2014). The Paying Guests. New York: Riverhead Books.

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