Book of the Week

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. Photo: PA Photo/Virago.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. Photo: PA Photo/Virago.

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The Paying Guests

by Sarah Waters

Meticulous Fingersmith and Tipping The Velvet writer Sarah Waters heads back a century for her sixth novel, the compelling and richly written The Paying Guests.

Opening up in London in 1922, we meet Mrs Wray, a formerly well-to-do widow and her spinster daughter Frances who have fallen on hard times following the late Mr Wray’s poor investments, and are forced to take in lodgers to make ends meet. The Paying Guests does fall short of topping some of Waters’ justifiably praised earlier novels. There is much to be said in Waters’ deft characterisation.