Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

One of the things that I’m discovering about Lucy Foley is that she is fantastic when it comes to character development. I’ve read two books by her so far and in each, the voices are varied and pointed. I also must say that I listened to both as audiobooks. It’s easy to get swept away by all of the accents, the acting from the voice actors, the emotion behind the words. 

I honestly think I like this book better than The Hunting Party (read my book review for it here). Usually, there is a bit of confusion where there are so many characters. So many points of view. A blending of time. Crossing plot directions. Not for Lucy Foley.

As a fellow writer, I want to see her story grids. I’d like to crawl in her head and see how she comes up with all the characters and make them all have depth and purpose. In the story’s plot, there’s an ebb and flow of small twists and big surprises and I love it. No small feat to keep the reader, reading.

I actually listened while cooking dinner and planned to stop when it was time to eat but every time I felt like I was at a good stopping point I just….kept going. In the book, you really dig into the many layers of a wedding party, and the event’s guests, and see all the horrors of what is supposed to be a beautiful day.

The setting is just as lovely as it was in The Hunting Party. In The Guest List, the setting is strong and idyllic: a secluded place, torturous waters, a nervous host, and no way to escape. At the end of this book I found myself wanting more! I enjoyed the distraction.

So, I would definitely recommend The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

Link to Book

Book Reviews: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

This book had an interesting cast of characters, an idyllic setting amongst woods and snow, and a slow pace. I appreciated the slow pace as it gave me a chance to get to know each character, and play whodunnit. I’ve always been a fan of Clue type books and movies, especially ones like The Hunting Party, that go back and forth in time.

There were a few twists in the novel that felt predictable if you paid attention, but it was still worth it. Seeing how it all turned out at the end definitely made this one a good Weekend Read. 

One thing that I disliked about the book was that it has this slow build and just when it starts to pick up it’s over. That may be my fault though. When you listen to an audiobook, your phone is most likely turned off.

You can’t see that you are nearing the end. You think it’s going to keep going and you’re invested and possibly on the edge of your seat and then you hear the words “Epilogue”. I even paused in the car just so I could listen because things were ramping up and then I was shocked to discover the end wasn’t as impactful as I expected.  

That being said, one of the great things about listening to audiobooks is that you can truly hear the difference between characters. Their mannerisms, the pauses between words, the terror in their voices. That’s why I love listening to books with a large cast. Being a writer myself, I know how important it is to make each voice stand out and give them depth. 

Lucy Foley paid careful attention to this in The Hunting Party and it translates well. It also doesn’t hurt that the accents were so cool. And you know how Americans love accents!

One of my favorite characters is Miranda. Her arc is amazing because she knows she’s terrible. She knows she’s a shitty friend. She even feels guilty about it sometimes. Rarely, but it’s there. Does this stop her or make her change her ways? No. We all know a person like Miranda. Maybe it’s a friend you love to hate. Maybe it’s a sibling you wish would be nicer. Heck, maybe it’s you. You might see some of yourself in Miranda, so watch out!

I also love the setting in this book. And the way characters said “loch”. This ‘snowed-in’ novel is perfect for this quarantine time. Being in isolation, not able to leave, not able to touch anyone, even being upset at an unexpected guest couple. It’s perfect for the winter weather as well.

Link to Book

If you have any suggestions, don’t forget to leave me a comment or send a message to me on social media.

Good Readdance,
Jade