In an effort to be a bit more social, and read and discover more new books, I thought, “hey, why not join more book clubs?” This was before I got fully immersed in bookstagram over at Instagram, so now I have quite a few books to read that, uh, require a lot of juggling. Eep.
The Paying Guests is the sixth novel by renowned Welsh author Sarah Waters. It is set in Camberwell, south London, in the year 1922. Central to the story is Frances Wray, old enough to be a spinster, who lives with her mother in their sizable family house that they can barely afford to keep in good condition due to extensive debts accumulated and left behind by her late father. They are purported to be comfortably middle class before this, and so in a desperate move to earn money, the Wrays take in paying guests (apparently the polite way to call lodgers), Leonard and Lilian Barber, a young married couple of the ‘clerk class’, who bring something other than money into the Wrays’ lives.
The Paying Guests was published in 2014 by Virago, and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2015.