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?
The Guest List is, for me, the perfect read. A classic, modern ‘whodunnit’ set in an atmospheric location with various points of view, all combining to make an absorbing and exciting read.
The characters in this novel are varied and interesting, and feel like people I can imagine in real life. I really like books that flick between the point of view of different characters, and this novel does just that throughout but without ever becoming confusing, as each chapter starts with their name and their relationship to the wedding party. There’s five main characters who give their side of the events before, during, and after the wedding – the bride Jules, ‘plus one’ Hannah, half-sister of the bride Olivia, the wedding planner Aiofe, and best man Johnny. Through their recounting of events we learn more about them all and try to work out who’s involved in the ‘incident’ that takes place right at the beginning of the book (I don’t want to give too much away here).
The story builds slowly as tension ramps up higher amongst the guests, and I loved the way Lucy Foley effortlessly leads us further into their world, as we’re unsure ‘whodunnit’. It’s atmospheric and very entertaining to read – and very easy to find yourself turning page after page without wanting to put it down!
Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins UK, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.