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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

This is an unusual book, and while there were certainly parts of it that I didn't care for, overall I would recommend it.  The story takes place in the aftermath of WWI, which sets it up perfectly for the story that it tells, and  much of it focuses on the profound social change that was going on at the time.  The two main characters come from very different social classes.  Frances and her mother are left without financial resources after both father and brother are killed in the war.  The brother in battle and the father from illness but Frances is quite sure there is an element of both grief and regret at play as well.  Frances works like mad to clean the house, fix it up, and to cook on a shoestring budget for their boarders, who are a middle class couple seeking work in the city.  So it is a role reversal, but that is more of a backdrop to the story than the tale itself.  Suffice it to say that there is a torrid lesbian affair that alludes to the changing social norms, and then there is an accidental death that leads to a moral quandary.  Never a dull moment, you can say that.

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