The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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?

Summary from Goodreads

I have mixed feelings about this one. The writing was excellent, straight forward, appropriate to each voice. The narrative, while slightly disjointed to me, actually propelled the mystery forward.

Most of the characters were, to me, pretty terrible people. The only two people I liked were Olivia and Hannah. Even so, I found the other characters interesting, and some of the characters were obviously marked by trauma, which gave them a little bit of a sympathetic edge.

I liked it. It was interesting. I almost wish it had more of a classical mystery narrative, but in this case, I think the mystery was mostly emotional and cerebral. The ‘why’ was the larger focus, instead of the ‘how’ or the ‘whodunnit’.

For those who like thrillers focused on the history and personality of the characters, and flashbacks in the narrative that leads up to the present, this would definitely fit the bill. I did enjoy the read, and found the characterization to be interesting and realistic.

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