Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Title: The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the author of The Hunting Party.

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?


The Guest List by Lucy Foley is an atmospheric mystery set on an island off the coast of Ireland.

Julia “Jules” Keegan is a successful  on-line magazine publisher who is marrying television star Will Slater.  Their destination wedding is taking place on wild, beautiful and isolated Cormorant Island. Jules’ happiness about her upcoming wedding is marred by a warning note she recently received and her half-sister (and bride’s maid) Olivia’s troubling behavior. But she quickly overcomes the few qualms she harbors and she and Will are soon celebrating their nuptials. But during the after wedding festivities, everyone is a little on edge due to ferocious winds, an unexpected storm and power outages.  And then a terrified waitress reveals a shocking discovery…

Wedding planner Aoife and her chef husband Freddie are delighted their first island wedding features high profile celebrities. Despite its somewhat troubled history, Cormorant Island is the perfect destination wedding site.  Aoife has the upcoming ceremony well in hand but even she is a bit taken aback by the boorish behavior of Will’s boarding school mates Johnno, Femi, Duncan, Angus and Pete.  Little does she realize how unseemly their behavior will become after the vows are exchanged.

Julia’s best friend Charlie and hisplus-one” wife Hannah are also among the guests.  Charlie is acting as MC while Hannah tries to fit in with the strangers surrounding her. Despite their many years of marriage, she has never become friends with Jules and she definitely is a fish out of water.  Hannah is unea sy with Charlie and Jules’ long-term friendship but she tries to ignore the stirrings of jealousy she sometimes feels in their company.

Johnno and Will are best mates who met at boarding school.  However, while Will has become wildly successful and famous, Johnno is haunted by their time at Trevellyan’s.  His one shot at success  did not quite go his way and he is struggling since leaving his last position.  And after he is on Cormorant Island, Johnno begins to wonder if their friendship means as much to Will as he believes.

Nineteen year old Olivia has been a bit of a mess for quite some time and everyone is hoping she can make it through the festivities without causing a scene.  She and Jules have never been close and their relationship has deteriorated even more in recent months. Olivia unexpectedly connects with Hannah and she finds herself confiding her troubles to the older woman.  But will Olivia reveal the secret she has been carrying for so many months?

Alternating between several points of view, The Guest List is an entrancing mystery with an eerie setting and well hidden secrets.  The story moves back and forth between the events the day before the wedding and the day of the ceremony. The chapters from the various characters’ perspectives provide intriguing insight into who might have reason to harm any number of wedding attendees. With a vast pool of suspects and a plethora of motives, Lucy Foley keeps readers in suspense until the mystery’s stunning conclusion. Fans of the genre are sure to love this well-drawn, multi-layered mystery.

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Filed under Contemporary, Lucy Foley, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Guest List, William Morrow

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