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The Guest List Reader Reviews

The Guest List

Rachel Hall

Atmospheric take on Agatha Christie and a cast of wedding guests whose secrets unravel over the course of a murderous marriage!

Atmospheric take on Agatha Christie and a cast of wedding guests whose secrets unravel over the course of a murderous marriage!

Lucy Foley sticks with the tried and tested formula of The Hunting Party and arguably perfects it with a palpably more ominous atmosphere and a bleak setting on an island with a blighted past for the marriage of online lifestyle magazine editor, Julia (Jules) Keegan, and the star of a TV survival show, Will Slater. Whilst they might not have been together long, ambitious Jules’ recognises that together they will make a golden couple - successful, talented and blessed with good looks. But when a typed note is delivered warning that her husband to be is a cheat and a liar her own private reservations that the marriage is a mistake multiply. As the wedding party arrives at The Folly, the newly restored fifteenth-century property of wedding planner, Aoife, Jules starts to wonder if they are amongst friends or foe and just who sent her an ominous message that she cannot forget.

The novel opens with a snapshot of the wedding night and a scream of terror ringing out as the ushers leave a marquee of guests to discover the source of the cries. Cutting back and forth between that fateful moment firstly to the day before the wedding and then to the actual wedding day, the story is gradually fleshed out. As the multi-stranded narrative moves between the perspective of each of the five narrators Lucy Foley excels in exploring their personas to reveal insecurities, hang-ups and resentments.

Sharper characterisation, a cast that feels noticeably maturer than The Hunting Party and yet also harbours wholly understandable reasons for enmity towards the eventual victim had me fully invested in the outcome, with the author’s insightful observations on human nature punctuating the story with wry humour. Whilst I identified the guilty party all five of the narrators have a plausible reason for killing the victim, meaning the reader is kept on their toes right into the close with the tension creeping ever higher. Although ultimately I couldn’t quite swallow the coincidences that connect the stories of two of the narrators, it did not detract from my enjoyment and a tantalisingly slow reveal that culminates in a credible denouement.

Christie might well have approved even if it is all a little more sordid and scandalous than the golden age! Devilishly good entertainment and a compulsive page-turner with plenty of fireworks!


Alexandra Harper-Williams

A great successor to The Hunting Party - another captivating thriller by Lucy Foley

The setting of this book is a remote island in the Irish Sea where the wedding of Jules and Will is just about to take place. The guests arrive and it is not long before one of the wedding party is dead.

A classical whodunnit in the style of Agatha Christie with a real sense of foreboding and despair beautifully underlined by the stark surroundings, as well as twists and turns at every corner. I loved the fact that the story was told from different points of views by different narrators, alternating between past and present, making the whole story quite complex and not at all predictable.

The main protagonists were all highly flawed and not particularly likeable, but as a reader, it was fascinating to learn more about their stories.

Some of the plot is a bit far-fetched, but somehow this wasn’t much of a problem for me, as it was fascinating to learn more as the story progressed.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Guest List and look forward to Lucy Foley’s next book.

Miriam Smith

All in all, a first-class thriller of the most traditional kind, it keeps you guessing from the first page and doesn’t end until the very last one. Well done Lucy Foley on another fabulous novel!

After the success of The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley has once again written an entertaining novel along the similar previous winning lines. In keeping with a good old traditional, Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, she ensures readers are kept enthralled with a truly atmospheric and character-driven thriller. The Guest List is Lucy’s latest book and is a cracking mystery that is a modern take on an old fashioned plot.

“A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly when someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the couple well and more importantly why?”

The story is told from the viewpoints of the bride, the best man, the bridesmaid, the plus one, the wedding planner and ‘the body’. I love how each of these chapters were titled with the individual person and who they were to the story, so from the very beginning you knew exactly who everyone was. These chapters tell the character’s story and each of their involvement in the run-up to the murder and are interspersed with the chapters relating to the current events of the wedding night.

There’s excellent character portrayal in this book, the author really does know how to engage the reader with diverse and interesting characters. I personally didn’t take to the usher boys, typical ‘Hoorah Henry’s’ but I think that was what the author intended as they are linked to public schoolboy traditions which are really quite cruel. Olivia the bridesmaid and half-sister to the bride Jules was very endearing and I truly felt for her issues.

I loved how all the character’s stories entwined together in the end, even though highly improbable and I enjoyed how the denouement played out. It was excellently plotted and definitely kept me captivated.

The setting of the story this time was a remote coastal Irish island and was above and beyond atmospheric which set the scene perfectly. I could sense every gust of wind, the swirling sea and the dire weather to complete the feeling of the isolated environment.

All in all, a first-class thriller of the most traditional kind, it keeps you guessing from the first page and doesn’t end until the very last one. Well done Lucy Foley on another fabulous novel!

S. Harper

Another truly stunning whodunit by Lucy Foley. Absolutely perfect for any murder-mystery fans out there.

A high profile, celebrity wedding on a remote, storm-swept island. An idyllic setting. Complete isolation. Secrets. Lies. And murder.

Undoubtedly written in the same style as The Hunting Party, this sort of intense, climactic whodunit is something Lucy Foley obviously excels at – she has certainly found her niche. As with The Hunting Party, the identity of the victim is not revealed until the bitter end. The back-stories of each of the guests unfold gradually and we are fed just enough information to keep us constantly on our toes. Her characters are getting better and better with each novel and the dangerous, pack-mentality of the group of ushers was especially sinister. I really had the feeling that events could spiral out of control at any moment. The tension and intrigue build steadily and the underlying threat is palpable. It will keep you guessing right up to the bitter end, it really is a stunning read. Absolutely perfect for any murder-mystery fans out there.

Jennifer Stoddart

This is a suspenseful murder mystery with a difference - every chapter is told from a different character’s perspective. Highly recommended!

I absolutely adored this book about a glamorous society wedding held on a remote island which ends with the murder of one of the guests. The events are narrated chapter by chapter from the perspective of a different character which adds to the suspense. I did not guess the killer’s identity because it seemed that so many people would have motive and opportunity. Heartily recommended!

Jan Payne

A cool and contemporary murder mystery that is riveting from the offset. By the time you get to the end you'll be mighty glad that you didn't make "The Guest List"!

Lucy Foley has done it again. Like a cooler, edgier Agatha Christie she has brought the much-loved murder mystery right up-to-date.

Once I started on The Guest List I couldn't put it down. The setting is a high-end wedding located on a weather-lashed island off the Irish coast and once the wedding guests have been ferried over they are effectively "cut off".

Superbly atmospheric Foley paints a dark and brooding picture of the island and introduces a bunch of complex individuals each with a murky back story and each with a motive for murder. Foley racks up tension superbly - it's a long way in before we discover the victim, let alone the killer.

Just when you think you've cracked it she whips the rug out from under your feet. There is a fabulously unexpected twist as you near the end and I did feel that she should have left it hanging there - the co-incidences we must accept afterwards felt a little too far-fetched.

I'm a big fan and looking forward to much more from Lucy.

Charlotte Walker

Lucy Foley has hit on a winning formula with The Hunting Party and The Guest List!

I loved The Hunting Party, so I was thrilled when The Guest List was announced. 

Set on a remote Irish island with a dark past that adds an eeriness to the whole story, an incongruous place for a wedding but lavish and beautiful enough for the wealthy elitist wedding party and guests. And it's only the appearances that matter to the characters.

Like The Hunting Party, the story is told from multiple perspectives and from different time points so, for most of the book not only do you not know the killer, you don't know the victim either. All the different perspectives eventually tie together and carry you along for the ride. There are several different mysteries within the story to keep you interested in each character instead of rushing to solve the murder. 

I did manage to guess the identity of the victim but very much enjoyed guessing and being proved wrong about the killer and their motives. 

This is a great read for anyone who enjoyed The Hunting Party and classic Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries. It would seem that Lucy Foley has struck gold with a winning plot formula.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008297169
Publication date: 20th February 2020
Author: Lucy Foley
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, Family Drama, Star Books, Thriller / Suspense,