Another multi POV thriller where someone is dead, but you spend the whole novel finding out who is dead and who did it? okay, I’ll bite. The Guest List by Lucy Foley has been on my TBR for a few months, and while it wasn’t as fast-paced as I expected, and got a bit overwhelming coincidental at times, I did enjoy it–ultimately, it was a 4 star read for me.
It’s Jules and Will’s wedding, on an island off the coast of Ireland, a kind of spooky place, but it was cheap, and it’ll be the first wedding there, so it feels fancy in that way. In this multi-POV novel, we get a lot of perspectives, and we move from the day before the wedding to the main event: the lights going out and the waitress seeing a body in the darkness. So throughout it we get the perspective of Will, the up and coming celebrity. We get Jules, his successful bride to be who got a note telling her not to marry him. We get Jule’s best friend Charlie’s wife, a plus one who feels very left out of it all. We get Johnnno, Will’s best friend, and one of his mates from the boarding school they attended that left them all a bit…darker, than when they arrived. There’s Olivia, Jules’ much younger sister who is dealing with her own things. We also get Aoife, the wedding planner and owner of the Folly, where this all takes place.
Everyone has secrets–there’s dishonesty, cheating, affairs of the heart and the body, suicidal dealation’s, self-harm, school boy horror stories. But while it seems everyone could have a motive for a handful of other people, the question remains: who did it? And what, exactly, did they do?
This is one of those novels that sounds super impressive in the way the author is able to weave together all the plot points—and I liked how varied each POV was, length and voice. There was also a good spooky-factor without the need to vilify the Irish, add a supernatural element, etc.
HOWEVER…when SO MANY coincidences start adding up, when so many plots lines interweave, it almost becomes overwhelming. Especially when only ONE person does it…so the other people’s traumas and misdeeds are just there as really dreadful background noise. And this book does have some DARK elements in it–but apparently only one of those was dark enough to lead to death. I mean, I guess the point is that ANY of them could have done it, but only one person did it, didn’t they?
I did like how they dragged the “who’s body” element out in a way that felt natural–a lot more focus on the buildup than the aftermath, because once there’s a dead body….the story is kind of over, unless it’s a courtroom thriller. And courtroom thriller this is not. It’s pure character-based suspense.
The Guest List is available wherever books are sold.
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