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76 Reviews
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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Steely American in Paris
Usually I don't enjoy novels set inside the diplomatic corps where the characters are pulled out of shape by impenetrable protocols and fish-fork etiquette. But I found Anne Korkeakivi's AN UNEXPECTED GUEST to be absolutely delicious. Clare Morehouse, wife of an English diplomat serving in Paris, is attempting to give a dinner party essential to her husband's career on...
Published on March 29, 2012 by Louise Farmer Smith

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, slow at times
I picked up this book due to the reviews by other customers. I was quite disappointed and felt a sense of relief when I finished the book. The first half had some interesting intrigue but by the halfway point, the story line plodded with many repetitions. The writing is ok but at times I found the switchbacks between present and past to be poorly executed. There are...
Published on May 27, 2012 by KitchenMD


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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Steely American in Paris, March 29, 2012
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This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
Usually I don't enjoy novels set inside the diplomatic corps where the characters are pulled out of shape by impenetrable protocols and fish-fork etiquette. But I found Anne Korkeakivi's AN UNEXPECTED GUEST to be absolutely delicious. Clare Morehouse, wife of an English diplomat serving in Paris, is attempting to give a dinner party essential to her husband's career on a night her son is AWOL from his private school, the cook is in a snit, and one of Clare's old lovers is lurking. And this isn't just any old lover, this is a terrorist on the run whose background with Clare is enough to drown her whole family in scandal. This lady does, however, know her fish forks and has nerves of steel. I could not stop reading.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and compelling novel, April 11, 2012
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This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
An Unexpected Guest is a beautiful and compelling novel. In gorgeous prose, Anne Korkeakivi tells the story of Clare Moorhouse and Clare's two lives - as a graceful, efficient diplomat's wife in Paris who is planning a dinner party and as a woman of passion who hides a secret past. Paris comes alive in the book as does every character. Korkeakivi skillfully weaves the city, Clare's marriage, her past and present until they all converge. The novel is filled with suspense, insights, and substance. It's a wonderful book.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and evocative, April 10, 2012
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This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
I had a bit of trepidation starting out, wondering if this would be too precious and mannered to be truly enjoyable, but my fears were laid to rest within a few pages. This book will draw you in with the intensely beautiful writing and the sympathetic main character and the gripping story will keep you riveted.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicate strength, April 1, 2012
By 
Mina Samuels (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
An Unexpected Guest is written with such delicate strength that you hardly notice the multiple depths of the seemingly light story unfolding in its pages, until the full power of its narrative is laid before the reader. What a wonderful book. Full of gorgeous writing and luscious images, wrapped around a haunting story of the past looping forward to the future.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Treat!, April 18, 2012
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This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
I received an advanced reading copy of this book through Goodreads and was excited at the thought of diving in. Ever since I visited Paris with a school group tour in my teens, I dreamed of living and working there, specifically at the American Embassy.

Life, however, had other plans for me. But thirty years later, I still wondered what a diplomat's life could have been like, especially in Paris. Anna Korkeakivi's delightful book helped me fill that void and drew me in, letting me re-experience the sights and sounds of Paris, and provided insight into the pressures of a fictional diplomat's spouse.

For someone like me who cut their teeth on the best that literature has to offer, An Unexpected Guest was an unexpected treat. The prose was educated and precise, as tempered as the emotions you'd expect from the very proper American spouse of an English diplomat. The secrets and intrigue in the storyline were an added bonus, and the ending was satisfying.

(As an aside, the freelance proofreader/copyeditor inside me hopes that the typos that I caught in my reading of the ARC will be corrected in the hardcover and Kindle versions.)

I loved the book and am packing it up to send to my Francophile of a daughter. I think she'll love it, too.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, slow at times, May 27, 2012
By 
KitchenMD (Swarthmore, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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I picked up this book due to the reviews by other customers. I was quite disappointed and felt a sense of relief when I finished the book. The first half had some interesting intrigue but by the halfway point, the story line plodded with many repetitions. The writing is ok but at times I found the switchbacks between present and past to be poorly executed. There are much better books out there. I wouldn't waste my time on this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story !, May 27, 2012
By 
Bruce Miller "hyper2u" (Louisville, Kentucky and San Diego, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
Great Book ! Several stories within the story that somehow all came together at the end, not a distraction, but an added enhancement to the theme of preparation for a very extravagant dinner party on short notice. The story brought out many issues; among the most significant, the moral and ethical decisions of how to deal with matters of conscience and justice. I particularly enjoyed the character development of the participants in the story. Each of them could have been a story in themselves, particularly the Scottish Cook. The best line of the book was the comment about making a good Haggis (a contradiction in terms ?). Noteworthy ! This would not have been a book that I would have normally selected to read, but my wife kept insisting that I read it. I was not disappointed ! I only hope that Turk was absolved of the crime that he was alleged to have committed, and that Jamie survived his student crisis. This book has something for everyone ! If you should read it, I don't think that you will be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Decent, July 24, 2012
This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
Review:

Not every book has to be fast-paced in order to be entertaining, however, a slight increase in tempo would have been a welcome addition to An Unexpected Guest. The novel takes place in a single day - a deceivingly short amount of time - and chronicles Clare's preparations for a Parisian dinner party that could launch her diplomat husband's status. Each page is inundated with Clare's mental to-do lists, her thoughts, hopes, fears, interactions, and suspicions - every minute detail of her daily routine plotted meticulously, the pressure mounting with each passing hour. I love detail, especially flourishes of descriptive prose, and Anna Korkeakivi delivers a picturesque play-by-play of events. Unfortunately, by the novel's midpoint, the depictions have become monotonous, dawdling on like a Parisian soap-opera; without adequate action/drama and presenting too many unnecessary details. So much more could have been done with Clare's character, and I plodded on in search of any additional plot-lines that had potential, but the only real surprises were in the last three chapters, (no spoilers). I had never really read much about foreign diplomats before this book, but I like how Edward's job is explained and built upon, and I also enjoyed the view of Paris. Overall, a very interesting novel, but I felt that it lacked depth within the story-line and could have used some humor.

Rating: Bounty's Out (3/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An irresistible read from a master storyteller, June 13, 2012
By 
Elizabeth Coleman (Brooklyn, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
An Unexpected Guest is irresistible. Paris may be lush with spring, but it lurks with danger and intrigue. As Clare, the Irish-American wife of a British diplomat, arranges an official dinner, she fights to keep her secret buried for fear of destroying her husband's career and their family. The action unfolds over 24 hours, and the exquisitely measured pace of Korkeakivi's writing makes the dramatic revelations all the more satisfying. It is a page turner! Put yourself in the hands of a master storyteller and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Guest, October 26, 2012
By 
Marvi (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Hardcover)
A rare 5 stars from a discriminating reader!

How excited I am to have read "An Unexpected Guest," and to have discovered a truly fine
new author. It's been months since I have NOT been disappointed by yet
another contemporary writer and much touted novel and months since I
have experienced that intense tension between loving to read a novel
and not wanting to read it because then it will be over. "An
Unexpected Guest" is intelligent, arresting, subtle and morally
complex. The way the author has melded Clare's past with her son Jamie's
transgressions and with her encounter with an accused Turk is
brilliant, always enriching the moral and political issues of each
story in itself. I do find her husband Edward's "decency" a bit of a stretch,
given his political conservatism and allegiance to the often destructive
policies of his government, but Clare's's careful consideration of her
own responsibility--past, present and future--is always moving and
compelling.

I hope I won't have to wait too much longer for her next one!
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An Unexpected Guest: A Novel
An Unexpected Guest: A Novel by Anne Korkeakivi (Hardcover - April 17, 2012)
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