Oh this second lockdown has got me into such a funk. I won’t complain but I’m just not me at the moment. I haven’t been watching as many movies as I’d like to, but I’ve at least been enjoying reading before bed each night. I’ll have to step outside my book-related comfort zone again soon, but the last book I read was The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Last year I read and reviewed another book of hers, The Hunting Party, so it was interesting to compare the two.
Set on a tiny island off the Irish coast, The Guest List is centered around an extravagant wedding. Jules is the bride, hugely successful but slightly on edge as she’s received a strange warning note about her husband to be – Will. He’s a charming man, famous for his TV show which sounds not too different from Bear Grylls. His past is coming back to haunt him in the form of his best man Johnno. Add into the mix a couple who don’t fit in at all, but whom one of them has a long history with Jules, and an extremely troubled bridesmaid, and it’s a wedding bound for disaster.
The disaster strikes very soon into the book – a body is found. But we don’t know who, we don’t know how, and we don’t know why. The rest then is a slow burn story that enlightens us to the main characters and how they might be linked to this death.
I’ve read some slow burns that have irritated me no end because nothing seems to happen until the twist but this isn’t the case here, there’s always something new to learn and it made the book difficult to put down. There were twists that I never saw coming and although by the time we learn who the body is it isn’t so much of a shock anymore, there are still surprises to come.
My biggest, and maybe only problem with The Guest List is the exact same problem I had with the other Lucy Foley book I read – the characters are so unlikeable! I’m starting to realise maybe this is intentional or just Foley’s signature way of writing her characters. I’m just not used to it? I don’t know. Anyway – it didn’t stop my enjoyment of the book and I definitely recommend it to other fans of the genre.
You know when you’re desperate to get back into a fitness regime, and you treat yourself to some new trainers or a new gym top to give you that little bit of motivation and inspiration? That’s what I did over Christmas, but for books. I treated myself to one of the basic Kindle Fire tablets in a bid to get myself reading more. Is mid/late February too late to actually start your resolution?
The Hunting Party is the story of 7 friends who spend New Year’s together (as they have done every year) at a hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands. At the start of the book, we learn that a dead body has been found, but we don’t know whose – and we don’t know how. The book flicks back and forth between present day and a few days prior, until the climax at the very end. It’s quite a fascinating read!
I love a mystery and when I saw the Kindle version on sale for 99p, I bought it faster than you can say ‘whodunnit’. You’d think I would eventually grow tired of the genre or at least be able to work out the twists by now but no! Although it wasn’t perfect, I whizzed through the book quite quickly and I would definitely recommend it.
What I loved the most was how the characters were revealed as the pages went by. With stories like this the pace can sometimes be painfully slow if the reveal isn’t until the end, but I didn’t feel that here. We learn that none of these characters are angels, and so for a long time, it genuinely feels plausible that any of them could be the murderer. It isn’t until the last few chapters that you can confidently cross some of them off your suspect list.
I guess that’s the book’s biggest strength, but it also leads onto the only real criticism I have of it. Because these characters have all done bad things, some of them terrible, I couldn’t help but start to care less and less about them. That ends up leading to a climax that although very cleverly written, doesn’t have the biggest impact. I was left with a feeling of ‘well, they kind of deserved that’ rather than being outraged, if you get what I mean.
Still, it’s a solid read, well worth my 99p!