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?
Bloody hell, what a bloody brilliant book!!! That was my first reaction and I’m sticking with it! The Guest List ticked all my boxes, so much so that I couldn’t help but visualise the extent to which my boxes have been ticked!
✅ Locked room trope: my favourite trope!! The wedding venue is a desert island off the coast of Ireland, the only people on the island are the bride and groom, their guests, and the wedding planner and her husband who take care of the lodging and the catering of the event, enough said, right?!
✅ Atmospheric, with Gothic influences: as if the location alone isn’t atmosphere enough, there’s gloomy Irish weather, including a storm on the actual wedding night, an old cemetery, creepy birds and creepy local folklore, a chilling Gothic vibe throughout the story that emanates a constant vague feeling of dread, and characters who are quite clearly hiding things
✅ Characters to love / hate: I don’t even care which, but I need characters that interest me, characters I feel drawn to, intrigued by, characters to love or to hate, and I got both right here in The Guest List!
✅ Mystery: there’s mystery IN SPADES! You have to wait until the very last part of find out what actually happened, and to whom!
✅ Secrets unravelling: oh come on, you know how I love that one! And there were so many in The Guest List!
✅ Twists and turns and wicked reveals: oh yes, twists and turns and wicked reveals galore, GALORE I tell you! I did see some coming, but others blew my socks off (or I imagine they would have, had I been wearing socks)
✅ A clever finale: I do love a clever finale, a devious one, one that I had not seen coming. It’s not a must, but it’s a nice little extra when it happens, and it sure happened here. I found the finale extremely satisfying!
The Guest List might be called a slow burner but it gripped me from the start, I could practically smell the secrets in the air from the get-go and I enjoyed the unfolding of the story tremendously. I loved The Hunting Party, but kids, this is something else! Lucy Foley has outdone herself and I’m pretty sure I will be adding this one to my Best of 2020 list come December. Highly recommended.