Welsh-born Sarah Waters studied English Literature at university and has been an associate lecturer with the Open University. In fact, she went straight from her doctoral thesis to writing her first novel. Her research-intensive books have been extremely successful, and are known for their lesbian themes, often set in Victorian society. Sarah's novels have received huge critical acclaim - Tipping the Velvet (1998) won the Betty Trask Award, and Fingersmith (2002) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Both of these novels were adapted for BBC television, and Fingersmith was nominated for a BAFTA.
The Independent on Sunday claimed that Sarah Waters is "one of the best storytellers alive today". Her latest book, The Paying Guests, is set to be another "unputdownable" novel. Sarah currently resides in London. More information about Sarah can be found on her official website: www.sarahwaters.com
The Paying Guests
'There came the splash of water and the rub of heels as Mrs Barber stepped into the tub. After that there was a silence, broken only by the occasional echoey plink of drips from the tap...'Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.' It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.
This is vintage Sarah Waters: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling story.