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Book Review | The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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

I remember a lot of hype and buzz about this book last summer, and now that I’ve (finally) gotten around to reading it for a “mystery” Halloween bingo square, I see what all the fuss is about. And why over half of our library system’s copies are currently checked out or in transit to other locations. It is that good.

I really enjoyed this book, and thrillers/mysteries aren’t my usual genre (that would have been my mother). It’s probably more thriller than mystery, to my uneducated eye. We know from the publisher’s description that Someone Will Die, but do be warned that this is a slow burn and it takes a while for the plot to really get going. The creepiness factor is definitely there. The potential fluff and fun of a June wedding is offset by the isolated setting of rocky coasts, dangerous bogs, and crumbling headstones. The book frequently bounces back and forth between six POVs, in addition to multiple points in time. I felt the author handled these very well. Everything was clearly labeled, and I didn’t have any trouble following along. There are definitely some loose ends that could have been tied up better with editing, but none of these really bothered me as I flew through the book, eager to find out what happened next. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect… yeah, I can see they’re there, but they didn’t detract from the escapism and enjoyment at the time. All of the main characters are described as white, with one secondary character described as Black.

Thank you very much to Harper Collins Publishers, William Morrow, and NetGalley for the ARC.

The Guest List is available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.