The Guest List book written by Lucy Foley was published last year (2020). Although I haven’t read The Hunting Party yet, I have heard a lot of positive reviews about it and it is on my TBR list. So when I saw The Guest List book on Amazon the other day and saw the author’s name I didn’t hesitate before buying. The story starts off immediately when we know there is a wedding on a remote island on a stormy night and someone screams.
The story jumps between the present events that happen in the story — the night of the wedding and the previous hours starting from the day before. It is a multi-person point of view book where the story progresses with each character’s narration of events that unfold. We meet Aoife, Hannah, Jules, Johnno, Olivia at the beginning who are — the wedding planner, the plus-one, the bride, the best man, and the bridesmaid respectively.
The story to put it simply is a classic whodunnit. But there is also extra spice because we don’t know what they have done as well. The well-written time jumps between the present which discovers what unfortunate event has unfolded while the previous hours give us a view into the setting, the characters, their backstories. There is no rush in their backstory. As the story progresses, we feel connected to all the characters but also know nothing about them. This makes us form our own theories about what might have happened. But we are not completely in the dark — there are subtle hints to keep us entertained. The pacing of the story is so great as soon as you hit 30 pages there is no keeping it down.
This book explores various problems of the adult world. A trigger warning is a must before you read the book- the topics addressed include suicide, blackmail, murder, abortion, physical abuse, depression, self-harm, and affairs.
My favourite characters were Hannah and Jhonno. Hannah is literally the one person in the story who has done nothing wrong. She is a married woman and a mother who longs for her young wild days yet never crosses the line. Jhonno might have done regrettable and cruel things but he has remorse. You almost root for him but you know everyone must pay for what they do no matter what little part they played.
- Will is the worst. He had so many chances to choose to be a decent human but boy he never chose it. From his schooling days till his marriage and career he has done everything to get things his way not caring about other people’s feelings. He has harmed a lot of people and has no remorse whatsoever. We can sense something is fishy when everything seemed a little too perfect. His life ending at the hands of one of his victim’s loved ones was expected.
Though I haven’t read present tense books prior to this one, Foley’s writing makes it easier. If you ask me The Guest List is a must-read thriller that will keep you guessing until the last few chapters.