Title: The Guest List
Author: Lucy Foley
Format: Audiobook, Full Cast
Available as physical, audio, or ebook https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Library-Lucy-Foley/dp/1094156434
“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…And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?” Publishers summary.
This alternating POV book gives off strong Agatha Christie vibes in a classic who-done-it murder mystery. But even though the format is familiar, the twists and turns are unique to a modern setting and will keep readers guessing. Half the fun is keeping up with all the story lines and figuring out whose motive could lead to murder.
What I loved
I really enjoyed this mystery as a summer read. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by a great cast with a different narrator for each point of view. This adds so much to the presentation of audiobooks as the narration can really make or break a book. This one is spot on! There are a lot of familiar themes in this book including English boarding school culture, Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, and bridal party love triangles.
Gothic horror elements abound in this thriller and I loved the isolated historic location, history of ghost sightings, stormy weather, and plethora of suspects. They came together with a host on interesting characters that led to a fun, if not overly original, mystery. Foley left enough clues for readers to work it out without them being too obvious.
What I didn’t
While I loved the Gothic elements to the story, the overall flow was pretty formulaic. The characters are all flawed people, which is part of the commentary, but there wasn’t quite enough likability in any of the characters to make you really root for (or against) them. A little more character development would have gone a long way for me.
“But that’s nostalgia for you, the tyranny of those memories of childhood that feel so golden, so perfect.”
Overall, I’d recommend this book to fellow mystery fans as a fun read. It was an entertaining modern Gothic story and I enjoyed keeping track of all the motives and making my guesses, even if it followed a pretty standard script.