Fabulous Fiction Firsts #343
As reviewers praised Anne Korkeakivi's An Unexpected Guest * as a "beautifully modulated first novel... a knowing comedy of manners, a politically charged thriller and a genuinely moving study of the human heart", readers @ goodreads are divided. I'll let you be the judge.
Over the cause of one day (as in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway), Clare Moorhouse, the American wife of a British diplomat in Paris, methodically, with great attention to the every detail, arranges an official dinner which could help clinch a much-deserved ambassadorship for her husband. As she cuddles the temperamental cook, deliberates over the menu, debates with the florist over her selections, juggles last-minute additions to the guest list, her day is complicated by the unexpected arrival of a delinquent son, a good-Samaritan encounter with a suspected assassin, and a ghost from the past she thought buried in another life time.
While the bulk of the novel is interior as we travel the day with Clare, the pace picks up dramatically with the departure of the dinner guests. The day's events and rumination prompt Clare into action, as she seeks redemption for past regrets, and tries to safeguard her son from repeating her mistakes.
"An Unexpected Guest will draw you in and keep you breathlessly turning pages, even as you admire its intelligence and fine writing" ~ Thomas E. Kennedy.
* = starred review