Review : The Guest List

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

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.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

I loved this book. There’s not a lot I can say without giving spoilers but Foley does a great job of tying up all the loose ends (and there are a lot in the beginning) into something shocking. None of the characters are perfect, even the ones you think are in the beginning and a lot of the characters are withholding information from you, which I think is interesting. Lies are everywhere, and everyone is hiding something, whether or not that something is the reason a body ends up dead (you don’t even know who died until the end which adds to the mystery.) 

It’s the type of novel that once you get into it, you won’t want to stop reading (or in my case listening.) Near the end, at  the end of every chapter I had an “oh shit that just happened” moment. If I was physically able, I would’ve stayed up all night to finish.

Now for why I thought the loose ends tied up neatly. I’m going to be honest, at first I thought most of the stories were just background into the characters so that we would empathize with them later. I was left trying to not only figure out from those backstories which person was the murderer, but who died. Then all the plots came together and it clicked. Will as the victim made perfect sense. I about cackled when I found out it was him. He definitely deserved it which made the ending all the more interesting. Suddenly, everyone had a motive. Will had caused Hannah’s sister to kill herself. Johnno’s chance at a tv role was stolen. Jules was angry at being taken for a fool. Olivia was broken that she couldn’t talk to anyone about her dating Will without hurting Jules. And as for Aoife? Well she was the sister of the boy Will and Johnno killed years ago in a game of survival. I almost couldn’t believe it when I found out all of those details, but I thought back on it and the clues were all there. 

I definitely plan on reading more books of hers in the future.