The Guest List by Lucy Foley PDF
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Summary of The Guest List by Lucy Foley PDF
In a culture concerned with finding the next big thing, going back to basics is sometimes the best way to stand out. Lucy Foley, a British author, has built a reputation for herself with two suspense books that accomplish just that, the most recent of which will be released in the United States this summer. THE GUEST LIST is a delicious mix of Agatha Christie-inspired psychological suspense and contemporary psychological suspense. This is a “locked room mystery” written for readers in the year 2020, a narrative about secrets between spouses, partners, and siblings, and how they collide in a lethal way. THE GUEST LIST is a novel set on an isolated island off the coast of Ireland that provides readers a unique invitation to one of the year’s most anticipated parties: the wedding of a powerful digital magazine editor and a TV golden boy. The wedding has been meticulously arranged; the only unknown factor is the guest list. Will our bride and groom’s reunion with old friends, classmates, and relatives go as smoothly as they hoped? Will ancient secrets and resentments resurface, or will they remain hidden? When the wedding party is stranded on the island due to a storm, emotions rise until someone is killed. THE GUEST LIST is a great reminder of why the classics never go out of style, with an eye for high fashion and high-stakes secrets as well as traditional mystery book structure and inspiration.
Details on the plot:
The bride, her plus one, the best man, the wedding planner, the bridesmaid, and the bridesmaid’s bodyguard
Guests assemble on an island off the coast of Ireland to commemorate two people combining their lives as one. The groom is a rising television star who is both gorgeous and pleasant. The bride is a magazine publisher who is brilliant and ambitious. The expensive gown, the isolated venue, the opulent party gifts, the boutique whiskey: it’s a wedding fit for a magazine or a star. Although mobile phone connection is patchy and the waves are rough, every aspect has been meticulously planned and will be meticulously implemented.
Perfection, on the other hand, is reserved for plans, and humans are all too human. Resentments and petty jealousies blend with reminiscences and good wishes as the champagne is popped and the festivities begin. The guys have been playing the drinking game since they were in high school. The bridesmaid unintentionally destroys her gown. An uncomfortably caring toast is given by the bride’s oldest (male) friend.
Then someone is found dead. Who didn’t send their best wishes to the happy couple? Why, perhaps more importantly, are you doing it?
Lucy Foley’s Guest List.jpg
If Ruth Ware writes modern-day homages to Agatha Christie’s work, Lucy Foley writes modern-day “popcorn reads” in the same vein, albeit with a little more drama and over-the-top flare. Foley’s suspense writing style, which she established in her great crime debut The Hunting Party and subsequently entrenched in THE GUEST LIST, is a delectable blend of conventional crime setup and wicked, sometimes downright cruel characters with a dramatic bent. Imagine reading a cross between an Agatha Christie novel and a tabloid gossip column: that is the closest way I can think of to characterize the tone of Foley’s work, and I mean that in the best possible manner. Fans of atmospheric, classic crime-inspired tension will like Foley’s works as “popcorn reads.” They’re intricately crafted mysteries and tightly wrapped riddles, as well as compelling human dramas and psychological suspense stories.
Foley puts a new spin on the old “locked room mystery” in THE GUEST LIST. The scene: a lonely island off the coast of Ireland, a place haunted by the ghosts of a dark past—the perfect setting for a mystery. The protagonists are a “golden couple,” a lady who runs a hugely successful digital magazine and her soon-to-be-husband, a man who is swiftly becoming a TV superstar after starring in a wilderness survival reality show. Oh, and don’t forget about their extended family and friends, who will number in the hundreds when our story takes place. The event: our golden couple’s wedding, which our bride and her meticulous wedding planner have worked painstakingly to prepare, with no detail neglected, from the dinner menu to the aroma of candles to be lighted during the reception. It’s set to be a national event… and it just could be… but not for the reasons our bride and groom hope. Long-buried tensions begin to surface when the bridal party reunites and rekindles long-lost friendships and flirtations. These tensions will boil over into full-fledged violence throughout the course of the wedding weekend, and one of the group will die by the end of the story. Who will be the protagonist of the story? Who will be the assassin? What will be the motive for the assassination? THE GUEST LIST is a unique “whodunnit” in that the crime isn’t revealed until the very end of the novel. The anticipation of what’s to come – and the delectable drama that unfolds as we reach this dangerous tipping point – will keep the reader turning the pages of this addictive suspense novel.
The List of Guests.jpg
While there are two characters who are definitely crucial to this story (our bride and groom), our story is not limited to them. THE GUEST features a slew of ominous characters, and Foley does an excellent job of fleshing out the backstories of a number of wedding guests through the use of alternate narrators. With their ever-shifting views, the bride, the bridesmaid, the wedding planner, a plus-one attending the wedding, and even a childhood friend of the groom take turns narrating THE GUEST LIST. If not handled well, alternating narrators may be clumsy and confusing, but Foley is at her best here: the narrators she chooses, as well as the way their lives intertwine, make for compelling reading. THE GUEST LIST is nearly certain to keep readers turning the pages, with chapters that gracefully segue from one narrator’s most recent portion to the next. This framework is both enjoyable and necessary for our ultimate understanding of the underlying enigma of the story. Foley has planted all the clues they need to solve our story’s “whodunnit” in the varied perspectives of her book’s narrators, as keen readers will notice. You might believe the bride and groom had the most to hide at first, but it turns out that nearly everyone at this wedding has something dark to hide—or something sinister up their sleeve. Everyone may be a suspect in this sparkling, glamorous crowd.
THE GUEST LIST is a startling weight at its core for a book that is in many ways real “popcorn reading.” The GUEST LIST spends a lot of time relishing in the juicy drama and secrets of its cast of characters, but as readers delve further into those secrets, they will discover that many of these men and women are carrying great burdens. Much of this story is glitzy, over-the-top grandeur, yet there are poignant moments mixed in among the fun. This is not a deeply twisted or scary novel; rather, it is immensely engaging and a lot of fun to read, a true “popcorn read” in every meaning of the term. However, I thought it was fully to the author’s credit that she manages to weave a variety of topics that might feel relevant to readers into this otherwise fairly over-the-top suspense novel, ranging from marital issues to mourning to body image and more. This array of individuals isn’t particularly likeable—only a couple of them elicit sympathy!—but Foley skillfully weaves real, realistic issues into their colorful identities.
THE GUEST LIST is an addictive read: a “locked room mystery” that sends a lavish wedding on a collision course with calamity. For Agatha Christie aficionados, this is “popcorn reading,” a narrative with a beautifully built plot and plenty of tasty secrets for readers to unearth. I adored Foley’s criminal debut, The Hunting Party, but THE GUEST LIST was much better. THE GUEST LIST is similar in tone and setting to The Hunting Party, but it offers a more assured, sophisticated mystery for readers to unravel. This is a book that you’ll want to read in one or two sittings.
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?
Review of The Guest List by Lucy Foley PDF
“Evoking the great Agatha Christie classics “And Then There Were None” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” Lucy Foley’s clever, taut new novel, THE GUEST LIST, takes us to a creepy island off the coast of Ireland…Foley builds her suspense slowly and creepily, deploying an array of narrators bristling with personal secrets…Pay close attention to seemingly throwaway details about the characters’ pasts. They are all clues.” (New York Times Book Review)
I didn’t think Lucy Foley could top The Hunting Party, but she did! I loved this book. It gave me the same waves of happiness I get from curling up with a classic Christie. A remote, atmospheric island, a wedding no one is particularly happy to be at, old secrets – and a murder. The alternating points of view keep you guessing, and guessing wrong. I can’t wait for her next book. (Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient)
“Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None rolled into one…Fans of Christie, Louise Penny, and Ruth Rendell will absolutely love this book.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Lucy Foley gets better with every book…The characters leap off the page, the twists are darker and more unexpected, and the setting is straight out of a Gothic novel…Yes, there’s a murder, but there’s so much more than that. (The twists, I admit, are pretty good too.)” (Marie Claire)
“Lucy Foley has done it again….Cozy up with this whodunnit and watch the hours fly by.” (Good Housekeeping)
“An updated Murder on the Orient Express.” (Booklist)
“Wedding season means a thrilling web of mystery in The Guest List.” (Parade)
“[Foley’s] puzzle is solid, she plays fair with the reader, and overall her story is swift and entertaining.” (Seattle Times)
“Easily my favorite book of 2020 so far…Will keep you guessing until the very end.” (Better Homes & Gardens)
“No one may have come to the island intending to murder, but this destination wedding spirals into mayhem when it’s slowly revealed that most everyone in attendance is capable of becoming a lusting-for-revenge killer.”
About the Author
Lucy Foley studied English literature at Durham University and University College London and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry. She is the author of The Book of Lost and Found and The Invitation. She lives in London.