This month my choice is The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.
If you’re looking for a skilfully written, endlessly addictive and wonderfully researched romp of a novel then Sarah Waters provides with The Paying Guests. Set in South London in 1922, The Paying Guests is part love story, part pacey courtroom drama. To make ends meet, an impoverished widow and her daughter are forced to take in lodgers to their dilapidated house in genteel Camberwell when they hear the terrible news of the loss of their loved ones during the Great War.
When Leonard and Lilian Barber, a married couple of the “clerk class”, move in with the Wrays, life changes completely. They bring with them music, laughter and vibrancy – a welcome change to a household where you could hear a pin drop. Young Frances Wray and Lilian embark on an unlikely yet undeniably passionate love affair in which corridor creeping and declarations of love ensue.
All seems set until we shift gears in true Waters style and what seemed to be an upstairs-downstairs novel with salacious intentions is turned completely on its head. Murder, intrigue, desire are all here in this topsy-turvy world where nothing is as it seems.
You won’t be able to put this book down – it grips from start to brilliant finish.