A Book Review: The Paying Guests

“My wife, the rare library card holder.”  This is how Joey described me as we drove to the Denver Public Library a few weeks ago.  That’s right, I DO go to the library still and I kind of LOVE it.  As soon as I walk in, I feel such a sense of inner peace.  This is my place and these are my people.  But being a library goer also means waiting for the books you want to read, having to return books when you haven’t finished them yet, and the worst… waiting weeks then getting slammed with three books at the same time.  Book time management is the name of the game.

I was lucky enough to be able to check The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters out with plenty of time to spare before January Book Club and actually finished it weeks ahead of time.  Gold star for me!  I also made it through this one pretty quickly, though that doesn’t necessarily mean I liked it.


I’ll spare you the recap and just say that my biggest issue with this book was that it seemed to have a split-personality plot disorder.  Meaning, it was headed one direction for the first half of the book, then BAM! took a turn in the middle and went a different path entirely.  Our meeting was really interesting because it was pretty divided between those who were really into the first half of the book and not so into the second half and those who felt the exact opposite.  (Or those who just straight hated the whole thing, start to finish…).

As for me, I’m choosing to focus on the redeeming factors.  The historical fiction aspect — it takes place in post-WWII England — and the actual writing, which I thought was well done and especially descriptive.  Sarah Waters was such an expert in the way she described the house that most of the plot took place in.  You could just picture it so clearly and it wasn’t until after our meeting that I realized how big of a roll that house played.  If only the plot had been a little more focused and the ending hadn’t wrapped up a little too cleanly to be realistic.

Have you read The Paying Guests?

What are you reading right now?

Do you have a library card?

2 thoughts on “A Book Review: The Paying Guests

  1. Hi Lauren! I’m Kate and I’m actually new to your book club. I stumbled across your blog, and hope you don’t mind me saying “Hello!”

    I’m obviously thrilled that you’re a library devotee, as I am a librarian who will frequently give unsuspecting victims my “libraries are valuable and not dying out!” elevator speech. It seems I should’ve stuck with “The Paying Guests” just a little longer! Oh well, at least I’ve already read (and loved!) our February book so hopefully I’ll have more enthusiasm at our next meeting.


    • Oh my gosh, HI Kate! I’m so glad that found my blog and said “Hello!” I remember you saying you were a librarian at our book swap and I honestly think that’s SO awesome. I don’t blame you for disliking The Paying Guests, but yes, this month’s book is already far better. See you in a few weeks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s