#21 The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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 . . .

Hardback | 384 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (20th February, 2020)

I never read The Hunting Party, but I feel like the hype surrounding this book was similar to her last. I ended up picking this up in Sainsbury’s where it was on offer for £5! It has taken me a while to get around to reading it but I am excited to see what’s in store.

It was both easy and difficult to read this. Easy because the language was smooth and there was a continual flow to what I was reading. Difficult because there were multiple characters taking the lead P.O.V in the chapters and then in-between moving character P.O.Vs, the book also moved in time and I found it quite difficult to process all the elements.

There was a wide variety of characters in this book and each character had a clear goal in mind and a clear backstory to back it up. However, I felt that the characters were too polished somehow, that their personalities and backstories were too clean and neat. It’s part of what made the ending – for me – fall flat because it felt too much like a neat little present rather than an explosive chaotic reveal.

I wouldn’t say I connected to any of the characters either because I felt like I was learning about them from afar, rather than standing next to them as the story continued. It was disconcerting to feel so disconnected to the characters, and not an experience I have any knowledge of.

I feel like the plot played it safe, and took the most obvious route, and that in turn, made the characters appear bland and uninteresting.

Easy to visualise in terms of it all taking place on an island. There wasn’t much I had to visualise scene wise. The featured characters had a lot of backstory, that while sometimes confusing, were easy to visualise.

Here’s the thing…at one point, I skipped to the end to see how many pages I had left to read. If that isn’t a sign of boredom, I don’t know what is. This wasn’t the book for me, navigating all the different characters and personalities was hard but beyond that, I didn’t feel like I was reading something that was interesting or something that captured my attention. It just left me feeling sort of ‘meh’ and honestly, I’ve read better versions of this type of story.

I feel a little shortchanged that the hype was such a disappointment to me. I also felt that the story really didn’t get going until about two thirds into the book. Like I felt the words on the page didn’t transport me into the thick of things, I was reading without experiencing.

I mean…this wasn’t terrible…but it wasn’t good either. It’s odd. I just didn’t get the enjoyment I wanted from this book. It just felt really neutral. There wasn’t anything that made me feel like it stood out or anything that was different or unique about it. This style of writing about a group of people who either know each other or are strangers, has been popping up consistently in the last year and feel like it’s enough now, I need something new to focus on. That was part of the problem, this book was too similar to countless others I’ve read recently and didn’t leave a lasting impression.

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