Reviews

 

“Anne Korkeakivi’s writing has all the best qualities of an Ishiguro novel. Clare, a seemingly selfless diplomat’s wife, the epitome of restraint and hermetic detachment, unravels before us into a woman of dangerous allegiances, passions, and moral dilemmas, in prose that is both beautiful and razor sharp. Paris is depicted with subtle complexity, a city that reposes as it threatens, full of scorn and grace. Korkeakivi’s sense of detail is remarkable while grounded in authenticity. An Unexpected Guest is a feast of a novel.”

– George Hagen, author of The Laments and Tom Bedlam

 

An Unexpected Guest is a lovingly detailed account of a day in the life of the wife of a British diplomat in Paris. But what a day! She deals with protocol, place settings and a temperamental cook and at the same time a troubled son, an Irish complication, and a suspected Turkish terrorist. Virginia Woolf meets Eric Ambler — and readers meet a charming heroine who rises to all occasions.”

-John Casey, National Book Award-winning author of Spartina and Compass Rose

 

“Anne Korkeakivi writes wonderfully about embassy manners, food and Paris, and she writes even better about the darker world that threatens to disrupt not just Clare’s seating plan for dinner but her entire life.  An Unexpected Guest, like its heroine, is a novel of great elegance, enormous surprises and unexpected depths.”

-Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The House on Fortune Street

 

“A taut tender suspenseful novel, delicately told.”

– Fernanda Eberstadt, author of Rat and The Furies

 

“Anne Korkeakivi knows her expat life as well as the protocol of diplomacy–from the flowers and trees and markets of Paris to the meetings behind closed doors. Clare is an observant, intelligent woman whose elegant existence includes endless dinner arrangements, to-do lists, and the necessity of irreproachable behavior. Yet she has a secret that one fateful, harried day seems destined to burst and shatter her comfortable life and that of her family. 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, author of In the Company of Angels and Falling Sideways

 

“Korkeakivi creates a Paris as crisp and unruffled as her heroine–and just as likely to surprise.”

– Elizabeth Bard, author of Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes

 

“Deep private tension animates the perfect ambassador’s wife as she manages one of the most important days of her husband’s career, the complexities of her surprising past converging rapidly upon the present where an entire emotional life is balancing on a delicate, invisible wire. A beautifully written novel about living with our many selves.”

– Nicola Keegan, author of Swimming

 

“A beautifully modulated first novel… Korkeakivi produces a knowing comedy of manners, a politically charged thriller and a genuinely moving study of the human heart.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review, “New and Notable Fiction April 2012”

 

“…Moving between the starched-napkin ambience of high-level diplomacy and urgent questions of revolutionary activity, this engaging debut novel gently probes both without forcing insurmountable choices on its characters.”

– Barbara Hoffert, in Library Journal, “Especially Promising Literary Debuts, Spring/Summer 2012”

 

“Surprising…depth and magnitude… Korkeakivi fluidly fuses the past and the present…powerfully exploring whether redemption from past regrets is possible and the lengths one must go to attain it.”

Publisher’s Weekly, pick of the week

 

A seemingly simple Parisian dinner party fraught with hidden tensions sets the stage for Korkeakivi’s exploration of a woman who is deliberate yet fragile, calculating yet honest, in this captivating first novel about appearances concealing truth. American Clare Moorhouse is the wife of a British diplomat in Paris. A sudden dinner party, essential to the delicate chess moves of her husband’s political career, sends Clare into the beautifully described streets of Paris to pull together each detail, as befits a diplomat’s wife…. Drawn from the same cloth as Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the easy narrative flow, smooth pacing, and interesting characters compel in this title about genteel intrigue of both politics and the heart

– Julie Trevelyan, in Booklist

 

“Elegantly written and supremely suspenseful, this is a novel of uncommon depth and intelligence.”

– Book-of-the-Month Club

 

“The book is as wonderfully self-possessed as its leading lady, and winningly suspenseful as well.”

Whole Living

 

“[In] this promising debut novel…  Korkeakivi shares Woolf’s flair for making everyday rituals (buying flowers, setting the table) seem profound.”

Entertainment Weekly

 

“Spring’s New Fiction: The season heats up… in Anne Korkeakivi’s An Unexpected Guest: A Novel (Little, Brown), a thriller-like tale of a British diplomat’s wife intent on pulling off the perfect dinner party while plagued by memories of past indiscretion.”

Vogue (USA)

 

“Contains more hold-your-breath suspense than a rising soufflé.”

Vogue (Australia)

 

“April Book Pick: For Intrigue …Secrets from [the] past threaten to ruin more than just a dinner party.”

Good Housekeeping

 

“Serious geopolitics mixes with parenthood and the finer points of entertaining… Like her protagonist, Korkeakivi’s writing is cool, calm and composed.”

The New York Times

 

“The story is beautifully written as the author gives detailed and minute descriptions of Paris streets, tourist attractions, and the typical Parisian one might see on the streets. The emotional and riveting finish will challenge the reader to decide which path they would have taken. This book is a winner!”

– Pat Williams, in The Courier (Houston)

 

“A quietly intelligent novel about a woman who, at long last, learns to be honest with herself.”

– Yvonne Zipp, in The Christian Science Monitor

 

“Taut wit and luscious imagery.”

AudioFile, winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

 

“I thought it was absolutely terrific. It was one of those books, I really look forward to getting back to and reading the next bit – it’s gripping.”

– Anne Else, for Radio New Zealand

 

“A great novel from first-time author Anne Korkeakivi.”

– Frederic Colier, for Book Case TV (NYC Life Channel 25), “Pick of the Week”

 

“You get this impending sense of an explosion that might happen because deep inside of [Clare Moorhouse] is that adolescent girl she used to be in the eastern part of the States. And you can just feel that one day that might come out and the whole house of cards might come crashing down.”

– Helen Stubbs for World Radio Switzerland, “Speed Reads” book pick

 

“Ancora prima della pubblicazione, Quando eravamo foglie nel vento è stato incoronato dalla stampa come il debutto più promettente dell’anno. E, appena uscito, il pubblico l’ha amato senza riserve. Attraverso la voce di una protagonista indimenticabile, Anne Korkeakivi ci regala una storia di amore e colpa, redenzione e perdono, perché a volte quello che si credeva di dover nascondere è il dono più grande che la vita ci può dare.”

“Even before publication… crowned by the press as the most promising debut of the year…  And, just out, the audience loves unconditionally. Through the voice of a memorable protagonist, Anne Korkeakivi gives us a story of love and guilt, redemption and forgiveness, because sometimes what you thought of having to hide is the greatest gift that life can give us.”

– Radio Subasio (Italy)

 

“Given Korkeakivi’s impressive writing chops in fiction and non-fiction, such a wonderful debut novel shouldn’t be a surprise. But what a surprise it is. Her “unexpected guest” should be made welcome on bookshelves everywhere.”

– The Star (Malaysia)

 

“Korkeakivi, as a debut novelist, shows a deft and sensitive hand with a firm grasp on the underside of dealing in foreign affairs – making Korkeakivi herself a woman of intrigue. Watch for her.”

– Karen Brady, in Buffalo News

 

“As Virginia Woolf did with Mrs. Dalloway, and Michael Cunningham with The Hours, Korkeakivi brilliantly unearths the cataclysmic potential buried by the routine of one ordinary day.”

– Welland Tribune


“A must-read of Spring 2012.”

– MinnPost

 

“An Unexpected Guest déplace le suspense du côté des diplomates. À partir d’héros ordinaires, Anne Korkeakivi tire les fils d’une machination qui les dépasse..”

“An Unexpected Guest moves suspense into the world of diplomats. From ordinary heros, Korkeakivi pulls the thread of overwhelming machinations.”

– Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace

 

“Exquisitely written… it has been compared by reviewers to Virginia Woolf’s MRS. DALLOWAY. Korkeakivi’s sensibility is also reminiscent of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer-prize winning THE HOURS, in its universal themes of memory, morality, and social conscience.”

– Katja Pantzar, Blue Wings (Finnair)

 

An Unexpected Guest is a compelling debut novel that elegantly unfolds its narrative of a 24-hour period in the life of a diplomat’s wife, one of the year’s most complex and unforgettable literary characters.”

– David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

 

“A super character driven tale that brilliantly contrasts polished high level diplomacy with violent revolutionary fervor. The opposite poles to conflict resolution place Clare in the middle as she struggles with her ethics as to doing the right thing.”

– Harriet’s Reviews

 

“Truly authentic and unpredictable, I found myself moved to tears at the novel’s end. Korkeakivi is an amazing new literary voice and one that I look forward to reading more from in the future. Five stars.”

– A Novel Affair

 

“Anne Korkeakivi has penned an irresistible story of many layers. The city of Paris comes to life in vibrant color, must more than a background to Clare’s day. The complexity of Clare’s character and her dilemmas are masterfully entwined with political turmoil and the intricacies of diplomatic life. An Unexpected Guest is a remarkable debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Korkeakivi will write next .”

– Just Another New Blog

 

An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi is the best book I’ve read in a while… spell-binding and very well written… Korkeakivi expertly blends past and present in this wonderfully entertaining story.”

– The Christian Manifesto, Lime Award, Best General Fiction 2012

 

“This is a story that stays with you… An intriguing peek into diplomatic lifefraught with tension and suspense…. Those who love Paris will delight in local detail… For all who love intelligent storytelling and thoughtful examination of the complex challenges of being human.”

– Janet Hulstrand, Bonjour, Paris

 

“Pick up Anne Korkeakivi’s debut novel, An Unexpected Guest (Little, Brown), and you’ll be in for some delicious armchair travel….”

– Fiction Writers Review

 

An Unexpected Guest is a captivating, character-driven exploration of guilt and redemption, of secrets and confessions, written with a style that’s as elegant as its posh Parisian setting.”

– Nights and Weekends

 

“I always know that I am reading a great book when I start to read faster. This was the case with An Unexpected Guest. The pace quickens as the story builds towards a surprising and (for me) deeply satisfying climax.”

– Kathleen Ferrari, “What I am Reading”

 

“Elegantly mixes politics and history with a complicated personal story… more than anything it is an intelligent book. Emotionally intelligent and politically astute.”

– Pieces

 

“Nice suspense as the novel progresses. …Atmospheric and moody, [Anne Korkeakivi’s] prose is sharp and it sets the tone for the novel.”

– S. Krishna’s Books

 

“One of those great reads that confines itself to the parameters of a single day…. Engaging and well-written.”

– Check It Out

 

“It is truly an inspiring and thoughtful tale of life, love, and choice.  Korkeakivi takes care to move the story along while interspersing the text with meaningful reflections.”

– Ruminations of a Relentless Reader

 

“The drama and intrigue in Clare’s life would have set Clarissa [Dalloway]’s heart racing; there’s far more than country-house dallying in her past, and it becomes its own highly-charged story…. Korkeakivi’s first novel is a valiant effort and a good read. Put it on your list for summer!”

– Blogging Woolf

 

“The story gripped me from beginning to end. And the novel, with a Paris backdrop, includes lovely descriptions and interactions with characters from different countries.”

– Cozy in Texas


“In this elegant novel, Korkeakivi gives us an intimate look into the intricacies of embassy life and how the expectations and requirements of that world affect Clare’s decisions in matters both small and large. Beyond this, [Korkeakivi] has created a complex and thoughtful character with whom we can empathize… An Unexpected Guest is an entrancing book which builds slowly, layer upon layer, but rewards the patient reader powerfully in the end… It stuck with me even after finishing the book and moving on to several others.”

– 5 Minutes for Books

 

“[An Unexpected Guest] quickly gains speed and complexity until you are breathlessly turning the pages in a mad dash to the end as a secret from Clare’s past is revealed in a series of unexpected events that unravels her carefully constructed façade. This story is as beautifully written as it is compelling.”

– Kiss and Thrill

 

“Read this… if you enjoyed Mrs. Dalloway or The Hours.”

– The Picky Girl

 

“Fabulous.”

– The FiFi Report, “Hot Books”

 

“Looking for a good read for the last long weekend of summer? I just finished Anne Korkeakivi’s An Unexpected Guest and couldn’t put it down.”

– I Dream of

 

“I loved this book… Clare is a character who lives in memory long after her story has been told.”

– The Great American RoadTrip

 

“A captivating, debut novel.”

– Berkshire Women Write (MA) 

 

“Korkeakivi does an admirable job echoing Woolf but.. is at her best when she claims her own territory: Clare’s past life, a mini political thriller, unfolds delicately over the course of the novel, and provides an intriguing counterpart.”

– Columbia Magazine

 

“An Unexpected Guest is a patient book, impressively skillful for a first novel as Korkeakivi balances the artful arrangement of domestic life with the eruptive energy of past youthful passions, and the tension of present-day political fears.  And, to my surprise, about a third of the way through that slow and careful build suddenly becomes a compelling page-turner that I stayed up late, racing to finish.”

– Marina Budhos, Maplewood Patch (NJ)


“The book is reminiscent of both Ian McEwan’s Saturday and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. However, Korkeakivi’s clean and elegant prose gives the piece a distinct voice.  And without missing a beat, she moves between an American or a French accent to an Irish lilt to a Scots Celtic brogue, depending upon which character is speaking. … If this is only Korkeakivi’s first novel, I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

– Book Talk (Orange County/California Public Libraries)


“A well written and a delicious read.”

– Book Banter with Us (Bangor Public Library)

 

“Oh how we mothers try to make everything all right. I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.”

– Sweet Ann, Darien Public Library (CT)

 

“Like Claire’s event-filled day, An Unexpected Guest packs in a lot. It is a politically-charged thriller, a family drama, and a story of lost love, all set against the backdrop of the City of Light.”

– Staff Picks (Glencoe Public Library)

 

“Anne Korkeakivi beautifully describes the peripatetic life of a diplomat’s family: the lack of ties to places and people, the strains on children and relationships.  Set in Paris, we see that beautiful city through Clare’s eyes, and suffer with her as she is suddenly forced to come to terms with her past – her younger, more foolish and passionate self, and the mistakes she made that come back to haunt her.”

– Ellen’s Pick, Books on the Common

 

“Anne Korkeakivi is a talented writer and I enjoyed the aspects of this book about the expat life and her philosophizing in this area…. Definitely read this if you’re an Ian McEwan fan.”

– Itsallmadeup

 

“At first sight nothing much happens – when, in reality, a great deal happens. Many reviewers have compared the author to Virginia WoolfI think that the story, and the writing, stand on their own very successfully.”

– Dreaming of Open Seas, Best (Five) Reads of 2012

 

“Anne Korkeakivi does a fantastic job.. making it very thrilling indeed….  This is a great first novel that bodes only better things to come.”

– Notes for Novel Readers

 

“The tale [Korkeakivi] weaves makes the pages turn, and her descriptions make you want to slow them down so as to savor each moment she describes in elegant detail. If you love Paris you will lose yourself in this novel.”

– Prête-Moi Paris!

 

“I liked this book. It’s amazing to me the difference twenty-four hours can make in our lives if we have courage to face and overcome the failings of our youth.”

– Art @ Home

 

“An intriguing book of many layers and many storylines… The narration moves smoothly from the past to present and back again and it is a fast paced read that kept me page turning well into the night.. I look forward to reading more from Anne.”

– The French Village Diaries

 

“An Unexpected Guest is a story about regret, resolution, and redemption… an excellent start to a promising career.”

– Liquid Hip

 

“[A]n unexpected pleasure…  a remarkably well-written novel and a spellbinding read.”

– Read Her Like an Open Book

 

“Reading An Unexpected Guest is like standing on the shore watching the waves. As much as it seems to be just one single mass of water, it changes composition each time it comes in, stirring sand, moving shells closer to the land, and stealing things away as it rolls out again… For the traveler who reads, An Unexpected Guest brings Paris to life…  I found the book fascinating.”

– A Traveler’s Library

 

“I loved the insight into a diplomat’s life from this story. [The] choices the main character made in a day were suspenseful and life changing. Fascinating read!”

– Staff Picks (Kent District Library)

 

“The book would have been fun even if shopping had filled the whole novel… But more than dinner prep is going on… Korkeakivi’s novel moves smoothly while giving the reader a cagey look at diplomatic life after 9/11.”

– Readers Connection (Indianapolis Public Library)

 

An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi was a delightful surprise… Korkeakivi’s plotting and keenly wrought prose will keep you fully engaged until the last page. Highly recommended.”

– George Bozeman, in The Forum (New Hampshire)