“The Guest List,” a book review


Lily Plum, Staff Writer

“The Guest List,” by Lucy Foley, is most enjoyable when read in one sitting. By reading the novel in this fashion, every chapter leads flawlessly into the next, and the reader can picture the events like vivid scenes in a movie.

The mystery takes place on an island off the coast of Ireland. The island, also known as “The Folly,” is a popular wedding venue, and a wedding is the reason for the location. 

Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character: Aoife, Julia, Olivia, Hannah or Johnathan. None of these characters are particularly likable.

However, the unlikeable nature of these characters has nothing to do with lazy writing; the characters are complex but deeply flawed. 

Aoife is the wedding planner and co-owner of The Folly. She is strange and has a shrouded history on the island. 

Julia is the bride-to-be who strives for perfection, or at least the illusion of it. Throughout the novel, Julia reflects that she and her fiancé look great together. An ominous note telling Julia not to marry her fiancé won’t keep her from achieving the perfect looking marriage.

Olivia, Julia’s younger sister, is timid and depressed. She has gone through some great heartbreak that is not immediately clear at the start of the novel. 

Julia resents her sister for her so-called “attitude.” She worries it will ruin her perfect wedding. 

Hannah is married to the bride’s best friend, Charlie. Hannah has always envied their history; she spends the whole weekend worried that their relationship may not be as platonic as they claim. 

Johnathon is the groom’s best man. Being with the groom and all their old buddies reminds him of when they were in school, and he spends the weekend miserable as he relives the unspeakable things they did as “kids.”  

Everyone has secrets; everyone has something to fear. The book slowly reveals these secrets and fears by showcasing the intricate relationships between the main characters.

Unlike most mysteries, there is no murder to be solved at the beginning, but it becomes evident very quickly that something is off. And everyone has something to hide. 

“The Guest List” is a short read that’s enthralling from cover to cover. If you’re into easy-to-follow mystery novels, this is the book for you. 

Like any good mystery, there is a plot twist or two, and they are not so easily predictable that the book is boring. Yet, the twists are not so outlandish that they ruin the suspended disbelief necessary for fictional tales. 

Once you finish, you can go back and find the many warning signs for all the events to come and wonder how you missed them in the first place.