A sinister tale of haunting beauty, from The Outcast author Sadie Jones. It is the eve of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday and the family has assembled at Sterne, the once grand, now crumbling, family seat.
The cake is iced, the wine decanted, the house gleams invitingly. But before the first dish can be served, a mysterious group of strangers arrives at the door.
Victims of a local train accident they are seeking shelter at the house. The Torringtons welcome them in but there is something unsettling about the group and, as night falls and a storm rages outside, the family begins to wonder if something more malevolent than stranded travellers is in their home...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/02/2013
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099563693
- EPUB from £2.99
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by herschelian
I was deeply disappointed in this book, as I had enjoyed Sadie Jones' previous fiction very much. The Edwardian setting of the story was well drawn, but the plot was peculiar to say the least. It was as though the author hadn't decided what type of book she was writing. There were places where the action became farcical, and with the best will in the world I could not suspend my disbelief. The description of the attempts to coax the pony down the stairs went on and on, and on and on... I kept hoping it would improve and something would pull the tale together but it never did. Lets hope this book is just an aberation in a long writing career, and that Ms Jones' next book will get back to reality and fine writing.
Review by riverwillow
I've never read anything by Sadie Jones before, so reading a book by an author new to me is always exciting. It was an interesting premise, an Edwardian family living in an isolated manor house who, following an accident, agree to provide sanctuary for a group of strangers. But somehow it didn't quite work. The real ghosts at the feast were the ghostly echoes of the great ghost stories which flitted across the pages, but never quite settled or formed into anything substantial making this a unsatisfying read.
Review by sianpr
This is a very different story from Sadie Jones 1st 2 novels and while well written I found it a much less engaging read. Although another historical novel, there is no social justice angle, which lent the earlier novels weight. There are just too many country house novels around at the moment and I'm bored with reading about the so called problems of the landed gentry (or those posing as the landed gentry) to maintain their country piles while doing nothing useful with their lives and living off the blood, sweat & tears of their forelock tugging servants. The characters in this novel have few redeeming features & it was hard to feel any empathy with any of them, except perhaps for Smudge & her adventures with her pony in the bedroom! A strange mix of ghost story & farce.
Review by RidgewayGirl
This is the first book that I've read by Sadie Jones. I read it knowing nothing about it, but that Jones is a well-respected author, the cover is striking and it was there on the English language shelf at the local bookstore. This is the kind of book which should be read all in one go, or as close to that as possible. It has the feel of an Oscar Wilde play, were Wilde to have written about a disastrous birthday party.Emerald is turning twenty. Her stepfather, whom she does't love, but also doesn't hate the way her brother Clovis does, won't be there. He's on his way to Birmingham in a last ditch attempt to get the money that would allow them to stay in their beloved home. But her best friend, Patience, will be there, along with her brother. The housekeeper has prepared an elaborate menu, everyone is dressed up, including Clovis and Emerald's much younger sister, Smudge and the celebration is about to begin when news comes of a horrible train derailment on the branch line, and the survivors are to sheltered at Sterne until the railroad can collect them. What follows is an unusual evening, where the celebrants try to continue as though nothing is different, and despite one of the travelers having insinuated himself into their festivities. The survivors, sequestered in the morning room, are growing increasingly unhappy and, it seems, numerous. And Smudge has brilliant plan of her own. This is pure entertainment, of the kind involving crossed communications and new reactions to old friends, but also high comedy and an increasing feeling that things are very much not right.
Review by wyvernfriend
This tried to hard to be many books, it tried to be a comedy of manners, but left out most of the comedy; it tried to be a gothic novel, but failed to raise the tension to make it truly that. It feels like a vaguely magical realistic period piece with unlikeable characters and I just didn't care enough about what happened.The Torrington family are struggling, great dilapidated pile of a house, daughter turning 20 and now a train crash has landed them with several survivors. Only the survivors aren't of their class, and they're not sure how to deal with them. But what's going on isn't obvious and it will change the people involved.I didn't care, wish I had stopped reading after the 30 pages or so that I found tedious because it didn't change, no matter how much I wanted it to.