The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Published: June 2, 2020 by William Morrow
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Synopsis: The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
Review: This book was one of my most anticipated of the summer. The synopsis is great, the cover is intriguing, and the narrators for the audiobook were great. In the end, it was okay.
I really enjoyed the lead up to the climax of the story. Everyone had an interesting tale and some secrets to hide. Mostly they were not good secrets. They were pretty mundane except for one person. By the time we got to anything interesting we were already in the midst of the climax of the story. But I didn’t really mind because when you think about life most secrets are horrifying for the person keeping it and mundane for most other people.
It was fairly obvious that the author was going for an Agatha Christie vibe with the ending but unfortunately I think she picked the wrong Christie to emulate. By the time we find out who got killed, who killed them and why it just seemed a bit ridiculous. It was very convoluted and an innocent person ended up going to prison. I didn’t like that and it brought the book down for me. I know precisely the Christie ending that the author should have gone for, but I won’t tell. It would give away too much about the story.
3 thoughts on “Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley”
Your review is full of enticing bits – but it doesn’t make me want to read the book! How’s that for a review? I believe the literary term is ‘damning with faint praise.’ Good job.
I would resent that even more with an audiobook – because I can’t skim or skip forward to see if it is getting better or not, and iffy books are for me something I check the end of, and then decide if I want to read the rest.
On the other hand, it would be one to read to see if I agreed with your assessment, and could guess whether I could tell which alternate Christie would have been better.
What to do, what to do?
Thank you! I didn’t dislike the book, but it was obvious that we were drawing on Christie and I think, in the end, the author chose the wrong one. Her victim ended up being supremely unlikeable, so I was only outraged at the injustice of the wrong person being blamed for their death. An interesting book but didn’t draw me into the drama very well.
Who was it that said that the dead are easy to ignore?