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Book Review: The Guest List

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Book cover courtesy of Amazon

The Guest List, a novel by Lucy Foley, has spent the past 20 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list — and for good reason. Released February 2020, it depicts the intimate details of a lavish wedding, something that’s been absent from the world following the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, this novel brings all the wedding drama of family and friends colliding without ever requiring you to leave your couch.

Wedding guests gather on a remote island just off the coast of Ireland to celebrate the union of Will, a reality television star, and Jules, an infamous online magazine publisher. While most guests seem thrilled to be on the island, it isn’t the case for everyone. Olivia, sister of the bride and only bridesmaid, arrives on the island less than thrilled to be at her sister’s wedding for reasons initially unknown to the reader. Hannah, the plus-one, soon arrives on the island with her husband, Charlie, who is the bride’s best friend; though these two plan for the wedding to be a lovely getaway, trouble ensues when drinking games are introduced. The best man starts out with honest intent to make this a memorable night for Will and Jules, but jealousy and a troubled backstory soon unfold.

Wedding festivities only advance so far until guests are informed there is a body outside of the reception. After the body’s presence has been announced, each chapter presents itself a few days or hours before the body’s discovery as each character reveals their own personal jealousy and resentment for the bride and groom as they make their way through wedding festivities. Transitioning back to the present, the groomsmen are actively attempting to locate the body — and the killer. This novel alternates between the characters’ points of view as the story unfolds. Readers hear narration from Jules, Will, Olivia, the best man Johnno, Hannah and the wedding planner, Aoife. As each character develops, it is revealed that they all had reason to wish misery on the newlyweds instead of a lifetime of happiness, but who had a motive good enough to kill for?

Missing the normalcy of having events to get dressed up for, I decided to read this bestseller that depicted a large and lavish wedding. I was not disappointed in the slightest by the abundance of plot twists that left me physically taking a step back from the book to process what had actually just happened. The characters within this story are so carefully developed that you will begin to empathize with — nearly — all of them and want vengeance when they’re individually wronged. Every twist and turn this novel takes will stun readers and leave them wanting more. This new take on a whodunit novel will have readers guessing who the killer is — and guessing wrong — until the very last second.

By Rylee Petty, Staff Writer


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