W&C: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

There’s a lot going on in my life right now (as I’m sure is obvious by the lack of posts) but I can’t deprive this site of W&C.

The Guest List was a book that I wavered on. I mean Reese Witherspoon likes it but I also bought Where the Crawdads Sing because of her book club and well… I’ll post about that some other time. So, instead of buying the book, I downloaded the audiobook. They’re much easier to return or exchange if you don’t like the book so it was a win-win for me!

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 with the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

I have to recommend that everyone listen to the audiobook. Not only is it a great story but the narration is performed by multiple people and in accents true to the characters involved (at least to my American ears, that is).

Murder mysteries are so hit-or-miss but Foley delivered. The detail and imagery is poignant and each character balances on the edge of vague just enough for the mystery to be, you know, a mystery. That’s not to say that they are flat – actually they’re relatable versions of characters you’d find in a mystery dinner party game.

Foley also makes a tactful decision to not show all her cards at the start – an element of the book that drove me so far into the story that I was visibly frustrated when my boyfriend asked me if I wanted anything for dinner. Job well done.


Lucy Foley studied English literature at Durham University and University College London and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry. She is the author of The Book of Lost and Found and The Invitation. She lives in London.

Image and synopsis from Bookshop

Author bio from Harper Collins

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.