The Guest List by Lucy Foley
|The Guest List by Lucy Foley|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A splendid follow up to The Hunting Party: Foley is definitely an author to add to your 'must-read' list. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384/10h40m||Date: February 2020|
|Publisher: Harper Collins|
|External links: Author's website|
The boat trip out to Inis Amploir, off the Irish coast, might have been enough to put some guests off, but it was the wedding of the year. Will Slater (television personality, if not yet a celebrity) was to marry Jules Keegan, online magazine publisher, in the ruined chapel on the island. The bride's sister, Olivia, would be her only bridesmaid and the wedding planner and chef are Aoife and her husband, Freddy. They gave a huge discount to get the couple to the island, but surely it would be worth it for the publicity?
The Master of Ceremonies is Charlie, best friend of the bride. Charlie's wife, Hannah, is just a mite suspicious about the closeness of Jules and Charlie, but she's honest enough to admit (if only to herself) that she's just a little bit smitten with Will. Once she's over her seasickness she's determined to enjoy herself even if she does realise that she and Charlie (he's a geography teacher) are perhaps not in the same financial bracket as the rest of the guests. Most of the guests seem to be from Will's schooldays: he was at Trevellyans, a minor public school which put me in mind of Gordonstoun. Boys would be made into men, no matter what the cost.
Will's father, who's at the wedding, was the headmaster of Trevellyans and he's suspicious of Will's best man, Johnno Briggs, whom he suspects of being a bad influence on his son. Johnno never really recovered from what happened whilst he was at Trevellyans and he's one of the few guests who hasn't made much of his life. He's also conscious that he virtually had to force himself on Will as his best man. It didn't help him to remember to bring his suit though.
I first encountered Lucy Foley when I read The Hunting Party: was that really a year ago? It still seems so fresh in my mind, but if The Guest List was to be anything like The Hunting Party then I was in for a treat. At first, I thought I might be in for much the same sort of treat: the settings might be dramatically different, but it's still 'a locked room' mystery, with a group of mismatched people cut off in a remote location, but I needn't have worried. Foley takes her wayward party guests off in a different direction and delivers a cracking story.
The characters are exceptional. They come off the page and worry you. There's a feeling of hidden menace in the group of Will's old school friends who are to be his ushers, which leaves you nervous. They might all have good jobs (Femi's a surgeon) but there's a pack mentality and a lack of social conscience which frightens. It certainly frightened poor Charlie when he went on the stag do: he's still not prepared to talk about what went on.
I'd planned on reading the book over four days: in the event, it only just crept into the second day, by dint of being finished at five in the morning. I had to find out what happened! I really didn't see the ending coming, but all the clues were there: I just didn't spot them. It was a really good read and Lucy Foley is now firmly on my 'must read everything by' list. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.
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