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Reader Reviewed
The Party by Elizabeth Day

The Party

Literary Fiction   Family Drama   Reading Groups   
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The party is where it all unravels and where the dark secret between rich, aristocratic Ben and poor, middle-class Martin is exposed. We are kept very much in the dark about the secret until nearly the end of the book. The story is set in different time zones and locations. We start with Martin being questioned by the police just after the party. We flick to school and university days. We come back to Martin’s wife Lucy’s diary she is told to keep in the psychiatric unit. We move to the party itself and so on as the mystery builds and the two young lives are mapped out. Martin plots his way into Ben’s life with care until the perfect opportunity arrives and Ben is suddenly very much in Martin’s debt. So the friendship builds throughout their young lives, careers and wives, they are ‘best friends’ until suddenly they are not. The message is very much “If you’re lucky enough to be born ‘into it’ you are made, if you are not then you are wasting your life trying to break in”. This is dark stuff. All the way through doom hangs over the pages. Will Martin get his revenge? In an elegant read you’ll be hooked finding out. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

July 2017 Book of the Month.

If you like Elizabeth Day you might also like to read books by Benjamin Wood, Evelyn Waugh and Donna Tartt.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Maureen Gourlay - 'Really enjoyed it. Not read Elizabeth Day before but liked the writing style and will certainly read more of her books.'
  • Emma Barton - 'This is an utterly captivating novel that draws you in on several levels.'
  • Heather Byrne - 'Why is Martin helping police with their enquiries after The Party? A study of the relationships of two friends from school days to the present, exposing every skeleton in the closet.'
  • Celia Cohen - 'A well written thought provoking book.'    
  • Clare Wilkins - 'Gripping, disturbing and fantastically readable...Elizabeth Day’s latest novel is a compelling, twisted tale of obsessive love and dark secrets in the upper echelons of society.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Unnerving is the word I would use for this engrossing reflection of friendship, betrayal and cruelty. I was captivated from the start.'
  • Dana Captainino - 'The Party is an uncomfortable yet fascinating read.'
  • Carolyn Huckfield - 'This is an accomplished physiological story that is taut and tightly wound.'
  • Jayne Burton - 'I was swept up in the life of Martin, and carried along every step of the way.  A very exciting and well-written book, it had me on the edge of my seat'
  • Sharon Butler - 'I love a book that starts at the end and unravels as you read through it and The Party does just that!  It holds your attention to keep reading on... '   
  • Sally Doel - 'This is an intriguing and gripping story which keeps you firmly interested all the way through.'
  • Doreen McKeown - 'I really enjoyed this book, which is all about love, betrayal and revenge.'
  • Sue Packer - 'The Party is one of those books which part of me wants to read really quickly to find out what happened, but which I also want to read slowly and enjoy such a well written and intelligent book!'

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The Party by Elizabeth Day

A gripping story of obsession and betrayal, privilege and hypocrisy, set in the unassailable heart of the British establishment. 'Witty, dark and compelling' Sebastian Faulks 'As the train pressed on, I realised that my life was in the process of taking a different direction, plotted according to a new constellation. Because, although I didn't know it yet, I was about to meet Ben and nothing would ever be the same again.' Martin Gilmour is an outsider. When he wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn't wear the right clothes or speak with the right kind of accent. But then he meets the dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gains admission to an exclusive world. Soon Martin is enjoying tennis parties and Easter egg hunts at the Fitzmaurice family's estate, as Ben becomes the brother he never had. But Martin has a secret. He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell. It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of 25 years. At Ben's 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour. Amid the hundreds of guests - the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and newly rich - Martin once again feels that disturbing pang of not-quite belonging. His wife, Lucy, has her reservations too. There is disquiet in the air. But Ben wouldn't do anything to damage their friendship. Would he?


'Witty, dark and compelling' Sebastian Faulks

'I practically murdered this book in an evening I loved it so much. The Party is a terrifying, hilarious, brilliantly written original with a wit to die for'
Phoebe Waller-Bridge

'Superb - clever, gripping, psychologically acute
Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us

'Think Brideshead Revisited meets The Talented Mr Ripley with a dash of The Riot Club. I couldn't put it down'
Louise O'Neill, author of Asking For It

'As sharp, stylish and witty as the perfect guest. Beware: you'll be up far too late'
Lucie Whitehouse, author of Before We Met

'Elizabeth Day's latest novel is sinister and seductive and nothing short of breathtaking'
Francesca Seagal, author of The Innocents

'The Party is a compelling read, but it's a lot more than a page turner. Like Martin, the protagonist, we as readers are sucked into the lives of the privileged few and, like Martin, in turn tittilated, appalled, bewitched and ultimately punched in the stomach by their casual cruelty. We may have seen a hundred stories like this on the news, but Elizabeth Day's perfectly pitched dialogue and vivid prose brings it all to life'
Catherine Chanter, author of The Well

About the Author

Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day is the author of three previous novels. Her acclaimed debut Scissors, Paper, Stone, won a Betty Trask Award and Home Fires was an Observer book of the year. Her third, Paradise City, was named one of the best novels of 2015 in the Evening Standard. She is also an award-winning journalist and has written extensively for the Telegraph, The Times, the Guardian, the Observer, the Mail on Sunday, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th July 2017


Elizabeth Day

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


304 pages


Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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