I’m back with another review, this time of Lucy Foley’s The Guest List.
I picked it for my Charms read, as part of the OWLS Readathon, and I finished it in 4 days, which is a first for me in a long time.
Finishing this means I’ve completed 3 of the 4 exams (Charms, Herbology & Potions), and I only have Care Of Magical Creatures (the prompt for which is a book that features something with a beak on the cover) left.
I’m really happy with the progress I’m making, not just with the readathon, but with my tbr in general. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up for the rest of the month.
EACH HAS A SECRET, EACH HAS A MOTIVE.
Off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year.
ONE GUEST WON’T LEAVE THIS WEDDING ALIVE…
GUESTS ARE INVITED TO CORMORANT ISLAND.
The stag is set for the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. The setting is spectacular, the planning meticulous, the atmosphere alive with nostalgia as the guests toast the most golden of couples.
Yet under the cloak of happniess, dark secrets begin to spill and old grudges surface. And the wedding cake has barely been cut when someone is found dead.
As a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped – and the killer circulates amongst the guests.
IT STARTS WITH A PARTY.
IT’LL END IN MURDER.
//What I Liked//
The plot > Over the first couple of chapters we’re introduced to the wedding’s main characters- the ones who will eventually become part of the mystery of who’s found dead and who is pushed to murder- and each is as likely as the others in their possibility of being candidate for victim or killer.
There’s a ton of secrets and lying and drama at what Jules wants to be the wedding of the year, and I loved the whole soap-opera vibes as shiny images and reputations cracked the longer the guests were on the island.
The characters > There are 5 main narrators throughout the novel: Hannah, the plus one; Olivia, the bridesmaid; Johnno, the best man; Aoife, the wedding planner; and Jules, the bride.
Each change in perspective was clearly stated at the beginning of each chapter, but the characters themselves had their own personalities and histories, so it never felt like the same person just with a different name.
In the story itself, it wasn’t obvious who could be trusted, as slowly everyone started to reveal parts of themselves they usually worked so hard to conceal, and found themselves thinking more and more on the secrets they didn’t want anybody to know.
The slow burn > Lucy Foley does this thing in The Guest List where the story alternates between before and after the murder, and it’s perfect not only for keeping you wanting to read on, but it adds to the overall mystery, because during the ‘after’ scenes, you’re given clues that might tell you the identity of the victim, but might also be red herrings, and you won’t know until you get to the end.
There were consequences for what everybody did > It’s a small thing in comparison to the story living up to the promised drama of the synopsis, but when the characters argued or did something to upset somebody else, whoever was on the receiving side of things didn’t just shrug it off and go on with their day as if they weren’t bothered.
And, yeah, you want that in a murder mystery, but even the smaller incidents that didn’t have bearing on the crime itself had consequences, and there’s a particular conversation near the end of the book that I loved because it’s not something that I’ve seen a lot of.
//Not So Much…//
The abandoned hints > I know. It’s a mystery novel. There’s supposed to be teasers and clues and things about something that happened before the book starts, but there was one too many of the abandoned thoughts for my liking, including Jules and the note, and her history with Charlie.
I’ll admit those hints did make me want to find out the full story, but they didn’t have any great impact that couldn’t have been delivered another way.
I thought I had the who and the why all figured out, but got proven wrong at the last minute, and that’s what earned The Guest List the extra half point.
It follows a layout in how the story is told, but there are plenty of twists and surprises to keep you guessing.
Amazon/ Book Depository/ Waterstones