“The guest list” by Lucy Foley, is more enjoyable when read in one sitting. By reading the novel in this way, each chapter leads perfectly to the next, and the reader can imagine the events as vivid scenes in a movie.
The mystery takes place on an island off the Irish coast. The island, also known as “The Folly”, is a popular wedding venue, and a wedding is the reason for the location.
Each chapter is from the perspective of a different character: Aoife, Julia, Olivia, Hannah or Johnathan. None of these characters are particularly likeable.
However, the unpleasant nature of these characters has nothing to do with lazy writing; the characters are complex but deeply imperfect.
Aoife is the wedding planner and co-owner of The Folly. She is strange and has a story wrapped up on the island.
Julia is the future bride who aspires to perfection, or at least to illusion. Throughout the novel, Julia tells herself that she and her fiancÃ© look great together. A disturbing note telling Julia not to marry her fiancÃ© won’t stop her from achieving the perfect marriage.
Olivia, Julia’s younger sister, is shy and depressed. She went through great grief that is not immediately clear at the start of the novel.
Julia is angry with her sister for her so-called “attitude”. She worries that this will ruin her perfect marriage.
Hannah is married to the bride’s best friend, Charlie. Hannah has always envied their story; she spends the whole weekend worrying that their relationship is not as platonic as they make it out to be.
Johnathon is the groom’s witness. Being with the groom and all their old buddies reminds him of when they were in school, and he spends the miserable weekend as he relives the unspeakable things they did as “kids.”
Everyone has secrets; everyone has something to fear. The book slowly reveals these secrets and fears by highlighting the complex relationships between the main characters.
Unlike most mysteries, there is no murder to solve at first, but it quickly becomes clear that something is wrong. And everyone has something to hide.
âThe Guest Listâ is a captivating short read through and through. If you like easy-to-follow detective stories, this book is for you.
Like any good mystery, there are a twist or two, and they’re not so easily predictable that the book is boring. Yet the twists and turns aren’t so weird as to ruin the suspended disbelief necessary for fictional tales.
Once you’re done, you can go back and find the many warning signs of all the things to come and wonder how you missed them in the first place.