the guest list by lucy foley // book review

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?

well, since it is october, i decided to read more thriller and horror to get into the spirit of the month. so when i finally picked up the guest list, i was so glad i did because it was one of the best reads of this year so far! the book immediately captured my attention with its chapters shrouded in elements of mystery and darkness building up as i read; it left me wanting to turn page after page and devour the book in one sitting which i sadly could not thanks to research commitments. to provide a gist of the plot without revealing too much, the story is set over two days of a destination wedding between jules and will, a couple who have been together for a couple of months. the wedding is set to take place in an island near ireland and is being organized by aoife and her husband, freddy who is a chef. aoife, who seems to be quite attached to the island and seemingly wants to put it on the radar for large-scale destination weddings, is doing everything she can to make it the most perfect wedding. the story alternates between the present during which the wedding night festivities are interrupted by several disastrous events and a past told from various characters’ perspectives to explain the current events. i am usually very skeptical about multiple povs but the author has managed to make it work for this book! as we switch between the point of views of jules (the bride), olivia (her sister and bridesmaid), hannah (jules’s best friend, charlie’s wife), aoife (the wedding planner) and johnno (best man and friend of will, the groom), we learn the dark and dirty secrets behind everyone’s relationships from various perspectives; this, combined with the spooky island and its horrifying past sets the perfect atmosphere for a page-gripping thriller which leaves you at edge with new twists brought about by parts of the story revealed by the various characters. how everyone’s past is intertwined and the way their stories are told flow together so well that the pov switches do not seem jarring at all. as i reached the end, i was thoroughly surprised at how unpredictable it was and was frankly mindblown by the time the climax rolled around. after i was done with the book, i had to spend some time collecting my thoughts as i was feeling too many things from horror to sadness at once. i loved that foley was bold enough to make her characters rooted in reality, fleshing out all their flaws and insecurities which made the characters feel real and was the primary reason i was so invested in this book.

foley has also done a wonderful job melding the elements of mystery, thriller and horror into a 330 page book while managing to develop each character’s story and making them memorable in their own way. this is definitely up there with one of my all-time favourite thrillers and top reads of 2021!


have you read this book and what are your thoughts? any mystery/thriller books that you have enjoyed so far?

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2 thoughts on “the guest list by lucy foley // book review

  1. I have just finished this book and currently drafting my review! What a great, unique experience! I agree that it was such a page turner, loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

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