One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honour of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savoury survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor - and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.
The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band of visitors are not invited to taste. But nothing, it seems, will go to plan. As the passengers wearily search for rest, the house undergoes a strange transformation. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels.
Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.
The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from number one bestseller Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author of The Outcast triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises - where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety - and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.
The Uninvited Guests is at once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class. It is so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment. It is a brilliant novel.
What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen, here is love and error in a ramshackle manor house complete with railway survivors, a birthday party and a pony. I was completely captivated by its madcap nature and then, utterly unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became. Passing like a spring fever, here is a fairy tale that stays with you long after it is gone. I couldn't put it down.
What opens as an amusing Edwardian country house tale soon becomes a sinister tragi-comedy of errors, in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed in true Shakespearean fashion. Sadie Jones is a most talented and imaginative storyteller, and The Uninvited Guests is a very clever novel.
The Snakes is the devastating story of a family whose worst sins come back to bite them. In this extract, Bea and her husband Dan arrive at her brother Alex's hotel in France, having escaped London for a few months. To their horror they find Alex living alone, the hotel ramshackle and deserted apart from a nest of snakes living in the attic…