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About the book
  • Published: 15 February 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099563693
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

The Uninvited Guests

The prizewinning and No 1 bestselling author Sadie Jones moves to a gorgeous and bewitching historical setting in a blissful new novel which is full of surprises

Welcome to Sterne, an old manor house, somewhere in the north of England. It is not-quite-home to the Torringtons – the head of the household has been forced to make a dash to Manchester in a last ditch attempt to save the family from financial ruin. It is a May night, unseasonably stormy, 1912: for Emerald Torrington, it is turning out to be a rum sort of twentieth birthday.

Emerald has argued with her brother, and little sister Smudge is sick in bed. A small supper party has been planned but the thought of the guestlist makes Emerald shudder: the conventional Suttons (yawn) from Berkshire and Farmer John, a well-off tenant, who has most definitely set his cap at Emerald. The cook toils in the kitchen over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses. And only a few miles away a horrific train crash on a branch line brings a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savoury survivors to seek shelter at the house. One of these in particular is most definitely not a gentleman.

The party does not go as planned. There is not enough food to appease the traumatised passengers, and they will keep escaping the confines of the morning room. To add to the mischief, Smudge has smuggled her pony Lady upstairs, to make her portrait in charcoals on her bedroom wall. But the old house will have to relinquish more dark secrets if Smudge is ever to get Lady to go back down stairs...

The Uninvited Guests is the delightful, surprising and outrageous new novel from bestselling Sadie Jones: prepare to revel in the opulence of Edwardian country house life, but above all, expect a spooky and unexpected ride...

  • Pub date: 15 February 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099563693
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Sadie Jones

Sadie Jones is a novelist and screenwriter. Her first novel, The Outcast (‘Devastatingly good’, Daily Mail) won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Her second novel, Small Wars (‘Outstanding’, The Times; ‘One of the best books about the English at war ever’, Joel Morris), was published in 2009, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her third, in 2012, was The Uninvited Guests (‘A shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class... a brilliant novel’, Ann Patchett) followed by Fallout in 2014 (‘Intoxicating and immersive’, The Sunday Times).

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Praise for The Uninvited Guests

“Dazzlingly well-written. The style is exuberant and extremely funny. This is a midsummer's night dream of a book, mythic and unforgettable”

Financial Times

“What a delicious literary cocktail Sadie Jones's latest novel is: part suspense, part Edwardian romcom, richly evocative of time and place... It's a spiffing tale and, even though it is at bottom a metaphysical love story, it is far more believable than Downton Abbey”

Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

“Highly entertaining… An elegant comedy of manners with the usual undercurrents of jealousy, desire and conflicting loyalties… Jones shows that she can turn her talent for storytelling to a more stylised form with a light and playful touch, and without compromising her sharp insights into the human heart”

Stephanie Merritt, Observer

“Fans of The Outcast and Small Wars won't be disappointed. Wonderfully spooky and atmospheric”

Viv Groskop, Red

“With its Mitfordesque dialogue and pacy plot, this is a deliciously fun read”

Beatrice Hodgkin, Easy Living

“Stylish, witty and inventive”

Independent on Sunday

“The Uninvited Guests is a bizarre and exuberant comedy of manners, combining elements of romance with those of the carnival....it is a great deal of fun, and a welcome alternative to more traditional country-house dramas”

Hannah Rosefield, Literary Review

“Beautifully written with real popular appeal, this cannot fail to be another winner”

Sunday Herald

“This creepy and entertaining tale unfolds around a fascinating cast of charactesr, and Jones's loving eye for period detail misses nothing”

Clare Longrigg, Psychologies

“The prose is visceral, rich with “the smell of many wounds”, and thick with painterly detail”

Sunday Telegraph

“A creepy tale….set in a country house awash with secrets and strange happenings”

Bella magazine

“She takes relish in recreating a familiar Edwardian landscape, peopled by eligible cads and imperious dowagers... Jones’s highly combustible period piece makes the dramas at Downton look like a stroll in the park”

Emma Hagestadt, Independent

“Darkly humorous, quirky and engrossing, this is a ghostly tale full of twists and turns”

Choice Magazine

“What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen, here is love and error in a ramshackle manor house complete with railway survivors, a birthday party and a pony. I was completely captivated by its madcap nature and then, utterly unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became. Passing like a spring fever, here is a fairy tale that stays with you long after it is gone. I couldn't put it down”

SARAH BLAKE, author of The Postmistress

“The Uninvited Guests is at once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class. It is so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment. It is a brilliant novel”

ANN PATCHETT, author of State of Wonder

“What opens as an amusing Edwardian country house tale soon becomes a sinister tragi-comedy of errors, in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed in true Shakespearean fashion. Sadie Jones is a most talented and imaginative storyteller, and The Uninvited Guests is a very clever novel”

JACQUELINE WINSPEAR, author of Elegy for Eddie

“I will be surprised if I read anything stranger this year but I can’t help admiring Jones’s whimsical invention and the quality of her writing”

Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express

“A modern Mitford saga”

ASOS Magazine

“Award-winning Sadie Jones' third novel is her best yet. Hugely enjoyable with a superb, supernatural twist”


“Cooly playful...the luscious prose is precisely steered”

Helen Dunmore, Guardian

“An intelligent and poignant reflection on death and loss… a fabulous read”

Lesley Mc Dowell, Glasgow Sunday Herald

“Sadie Jones…enters new literary territory with a whimsical Edwardian farce that takes its lead from the darker offerings of Saki and JB Priestley...The novel's denouement is satisfyingly outlandish”

Emma Hagestadt, Independent

“With elegant ease, Jones spins a good old-fashioned comedy of manners”

Katie Owen, Sunday Telegraph

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