Review – The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.
 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
 
Thirteen guests.
One body.
 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.

One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

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Publisher – Harper Collins

Date Published – 20th February 2020

Pages – 384

Format – Hardback

Category – Adult Fiction, Thriller

Source – Purchased

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Please note Tales of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible

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This book had me hooked right from the first page all the way through until the last. I could not turn the pages quick enough.  An absolute blinder of a book!

Suspense, tension, secrets, lies, cruelty, revenge and an island full of history, folklore, ghosts of the dead and treacherous terrain.

The Guest List tells the story of the wedding of Jules Keegan, publisher of a successful magazine and Will Slater, reality TV star.  The wedding venue, a remote island off the west coast of Ireland (which is actually based on the real-life island of Cormorant).  As the guests start to arrive the secrets and lies begin to unravel themselves and a killer will strike when there is no way of escaping.

The book opens on the wedding night where following a power cut a scream of terror fills the night sky and this immediately sets the scene of what is to come.  Trapped on an island, a storm cutting off access to the outside world, power cuts, suspects and a killer on the loose.

Cleverly told from multiple points of view, Jules (The Bride), Aoife (The Wedding Planner), Johnno (The Best Man), Hannah (The Plus One) and Olivia (The Bridesmaid).  The shifts in points of view and the story telling was executed to perfection especially with the jumps between the wedding night, the night before and now.  Each character was unique and had their own story to reveal to the reader with possible secrets and lies to uncover and there was a good mix of family, old friends and possible enemies.  My favourite character was Hannah, the plus one, there was just something about her that I connected with and really felt compassion towards her.  I also ended up really liking Johnno.  I’m unsure if this is a little bit of an unusual choice, but he really grew on me throughout the book.  Lucy Foley sprinkles just the right amount of love/hate into her characters that you find yourself torn as to if you should love them or hate them (with the exception of one character who I disliked from the get go, but they were written that way – no spoilers here though).

The whole wedding atmosphere is really cemented by the other characters in the wedding party whose perspective we don’t get to read about but they are very much involved in the story.  Like the groom’s friends from his boarding school past.  As much as I eye rolled so much at them, they really give the atmosphere of a wedding with all their antics, drinking and stories of the past.

Many reviews have drawn comparisons to the amazing Agatha Christie and the island to me was very reminiscent of that in And Then There Were None.  However, to me, I had an over whelming sense of An Inspector Calls by J B Priestly.  This may be an odd comparison, and without giving too much away, there was just something about the way the story unfolded and the characters developments that made me think of this play.

There were a number of times in the book that the realisation of what was unfolding for the characters as I was reading made me literally grab the book so tightly with an exasperated nooooooooo! that I made the cat who was quite comfy on my lap jump off and look at me in disgust.  I know this is all part of and parcel of what a good thriller should do, but its been a while since I’ve physically shouted at a book!

 Lucy Foley really creates a captivating mystery where the reader not only has to guess who the murderer is and their motive, but who the actual victim is as this is not revealed straight away which for me ramped up the suspense and page turning as I could not devour it fast enough to find out.

I especially loved towards the end of the book (remember no spoilers here) that there were some short snappy chapters that all ended with the same moment in time happening and you really felt like you’re in that moment with them, the tension building to the big reveal and finale.

I highly recommend grabbing this book and devouring every single page.  There are things you may see coming, but definitely things you may not.  The smallest of detail could end up being the biggest clue …. who will be the victim, but most of all who will be the killer?!

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales of Yesterday books!

You can buy a copy of The Guest List here

About Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.

Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.

Say hello at www.facebook.com/LucyFoleyAuthor and follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyFoleyTweets and Instagram @LucyFoleyAuthor

Happy Reading!

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