The Guest List

The Guest List

A Novel

Book - 2020 | First U.S. edition.
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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?
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2020]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780062868930
Branch Call Number: FIC FOLEY
Characteristics: 313 pages ; 24 cm


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On an island off the Irish coast, guests gather to celebrate the perfectly planned wedding of a handsome and charming rising television star and a smart and ambitious magazine publisher. But expert planning can't fix spotty cell phone service, rough waves, petty jealousies or dead bodies.

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Jun 11, 2021

If there’s such a thing as the perfect whodunit, this is it. I absolutely loved this one. It’s got everything: suspense to the very end, deliciously complex characters with mysterious motives, a lavish and exotic setting, and terrific writing. The setting is an island “wedding venue” off the coast of Ireland where a handsome movie star groom is about to marry a gorgeous posh publisher/website owner bride. It begins with an investigation underway, something about a “body” only it’s not clear if a murder has taken place or even a dead body found. Perhaps someone only reported seeing a body or someone went missing.

Then the back stories begin. We learn the groom and most of his ushers are all “Trevellians,” having attended the same prep school, one of those bully-filled Lord of the Flies type places. The rather dim best man did too, but he was there on a rugby scholarship and wasn’t “one of the boys,” being too rough and from a poor background. The bride and her sister have a strained relationship. The sister seems to have a screw loose and is a cutter. The bride demands everything be perfect and is more than a little demanding. Something bad happened at the stag party but we don’t know what. The wedding planner, an attractive woman who runs the venue, seems mismatched to her fat husband but is the soul of efficiency. There’s way too much drinking, some dangerous peat bogs, a raging storm, crumbling cliffs. What could possibly go wrong?

The stories are told by all the characters in turn and we learn that not all is right beneath all the lavish perfection. We begin to learn who the likely candidates are for victim and who has motives against each. The author skillfully manages to keep from us whether anyone died, and, if so, who it might be until almost the very end. The responsible party or parties for whatever happened is revealed only at the absolute end, and it caught me by surprise. The suspense was delicious.

This belongs to that genre of mystery that is not quite a locked-room mystery since the crime doesn’t seem impossible, and it’s not a pure whodunit where we follow along with an investigator. It resembles the classic game Clue where a body is found and the suspects are all together in a closed location like, for example, Murder on the Orient Express, but without the Poirot equivalent. The characters/suspects/victim tell the story themselves. I listened to the audiobook and the actors were just marvelous.

MGBustillo Jun 09, 2021

A dark mystery set on a island reserved for a lavish wedding. Behind every character is a hidden motive and behind every motive is the need to survive!

ArapahoeMorgan Jun 08, 2021

A dark and foreboding mystery that will keep you constantly guessing. Each guest has their motives, secrets, and surprises.

May 28, 2021

An easy read that holds your interest. Interesting structure. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

JCLSteveC May 25, 2021

Mystery full of shocking twists. You will not see it coming. I love how the chapters are titled by and written from the perspectives of the guests.

May 21, 2021

This book was a pleasant surprise! Enjoyed the depth of each character. Plot twists and a page-turner!

May 18, 2021

Loved this book! Good plot and well written.

May 07, 2021


This book was so atmospheric and well-written, and those twists totally got me.

It's Jules' and Will's wedding, and they're having it on a remote Irish island. The guest list is long, and with so many people mingling from different parts of the couples' lives, there is bound to be some drama. It is a dark and stormy night, as it goes, and indeed, something is about to happen: someone is about to die.

My favourite part of this book is the atmosphere. I could *feel* the island so perfectly, could hear the waves crashing, feel the boat rocking on Hannah's ride over, could smell the brine of the sea in the cave with Olivia. It was just so perfectly written to transport me into this world and onto this island, which is another one of my favourite parts of the whole thing: Lucy Foley's writing is top notch. I was disgusted when I supposed to be, concerned all throughout, and overall just captivated by the way Lucy writes each character.

The first part of the book is more slow-moving. I was hoping to be wrenched into the story off the bat, but it does take a bit to get going. Once it's there, though, hoooooo boy, I could not put this baby down. I was suspicious off the get-go, but as more and more information was revealed and I started to make connections, I just had to know what was going on and if I was right.

And...I wasn't. And I absolutely love that. When a book can take me fully by surprise, but when that shocking revelation makes sense looking back - that feeling is unparalleled for me.

I think I just wanted more out of the ending, especially for Hannah. I wanted more of what comes after for these characters, when really, it kind of left on a cliff-hanger (hah). They are all such equal parts sympathetic and not, and I want to know more about them all beyond this one hellish weekend.

This book was so atmospheric and well-written, and those twists totally got me. My favourite part of this book is the atmosphere. It was just so perfectly written to transport me into this world and onto this island, which is another one of my favourite parts of the whole thing: Lucy Foley's writing is top notch. I was disgusted when I supposed to be, concerned all throughout, and overall just captivated by the way Lucy writes each character.

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Life is messy. We all know this. Terrible things happen, I learned that while I was still a child. But no matter what happens, life is only a series of days. You can’t control more than a single day. But you can control one of them.


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