The Guest List by Lucy Foley – A book review

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – A book review

It is not so common that a book that takes “a modern twist on Agatha Christie” gets rated so high and raved by bloggers I admire. So let’s review The Guest List by Lucy Foley, a book that has been on the Amazon best sellers for more than ten weeks now.

Have you read The Guest List by Lucy Foley? What other contemporary murder mysteries worked well for you? Is there any author who might come close to Agatha Christie? Let us talk. Share on X

About the book

Guest List by Lucy Foley Book Cover

Book Name: The Guest List

Author: Lucy Foley

Genre: Fiction – Thriller

Characters: Will Slater, Julia Keegan, Hannah and Charlie, Olivia, Johnno, Aiofe and Freddy

Setting: Inis an Amplóra, or Cormorant Island, Ireland

Summary

In a secluded island in the coastal regions of Ireland, the modern day power couple Jules and Will Slater are tying their knots. A couple of close friends and the wedding party choose to stay in the island the night before the wedding. The weather is not helping and storm seems to be approaching as well.

But just as the celebrations begin, a distraught waitress stumbles in and announces that she saw a body. The ushers walk into the deadly night to check it and the cops from the mainland are called as well.

Will the ‘happily ever after’ and the ‘death do apart work’ for this couple? And who kills whom forms the rest of the story in The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

My initial thoughts

This closed room murder mystery follows the usual whodunnit pattern and it works well. Despite having multiple POVs (six of them), the narration is quite simple and doesn’t confuse much.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley has a number of suspects and motives, as any good murder mystery should.

In spite of all the numerous red herrings, I guessed the murder much earlier and I am sure so would other regular mystery lovers.

What worked for me

  • The closed space murder mystery stretched over a 48 hours is fast paced and entertaining.
  • The red herrings keep the reader focused on the wrong things and would work very well if you are not a regular mystery reader.
  • The reader is unaware of the murderer is as well as the victim until almost the end making it more fun.

What may have been better

  • Except for one or two, I found all the characters annoying and/or horrible. But I don’t think these characters slowed down the whodunnit part.
  • I would have loved a bit more loose/open ending. I guessed the murderer from miles away.

Bottom line

If you are an Agatha Christie fan, The Guest List by Lucy Foley is a good read for you. But be warned that this contemporary murder mystery might prove to be a bit easily solvable, if you read whodunnits regularly.

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Have you read The Guest List by Lucy Foley? What other contemporary murder mysteries worked well for you? Is there any author who might come close to Agatha Christie? Let us talk.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – A book review

Normal People by Sally Rooney – A book review

Have you read a book that makes you an emotional fur ball and then climaxes with an open ending? Do you love or hate such a book? Let us talk about Normal People by Sally Rooney, shall we?

Have you read Normal People or anything else written by Sally Rooney? Do you like character driven plots? What other books that handle emotional abuse and depression exceptionally well? Let us talk. Share on X

About the book

Normal People By Sally Rooney Book cover

Book Name: Normal People

Author: Sally Rooney

Genre: Fiction – Drama

Characters: Marienne and Alan, and their mother Denise Sheridan , Connel and Lorrainne

Setting: Ireland

The plot

Normal People begins with Marianne and Connell as teenagers who are from different social backgrounds attending the same school. Connell’s mother works in Marianne’s mansion. Connell is kind of the popular jock at school while Marianne is ostracized and is rather invisible.

They begin a sexual relationship but later puts an end to it, because Connell doesn’t want his friends to know about it. When they enter University, their roles reverse. Now Marianne’s intelligence and wit wins her friends while Connell feels so out of it and gradually slips into depression.

Their on/off romance continues and they lean on each other time and again, whatever their romantic entanglements were then. Did they end up with each other forms the rest of Normal People by Sally Rooney.

My initial thoughts

As I was saying earlier, Normal People made an emotional wreck of me. I rarely get affected so much by a book that I had to stop take catch a few breathes while I am reading. This book did that to me.

The plot as such is not anything that we have not read earlier nor very intriguing. But it is the writing and characters that made me come back for more, repeatedly. The protagonists felt so real that made me reach out to an old time friend, just to ask if they were doing fine. We all were normal people, once.

Flawed characters that are deep and emotionally broken? Sign me up. Her penchant towards self destruction and his gradual slipping into depression hurt me viscerally.

The only issue I had was not being able to understand why Marienne’s family hated her so much or some kind of background about it. Every time she felt unworthy and mistook abuse as love based on her family, especially the men, my heart broke.

I loved the social commentary parts in the book as much as inner thoughts of the characters.

What worked for me

  • CHARACTERS. Such deep, flawed and real characters.
  • I love plot-less plots, if you get what I mean. Character and angst driven plots are the best and Rooney did a great job at that.
  • This might be a make or break thing, but for me, the open ending seemed like a perfect finish to Normal People.

What may have been better

  • I wanted to know more about Marienne’s family and their treatment towards her. How and why would they?
  • Some readers may have an issue with the style of Rooney’s writing. Trust me you will get used to it in a bit.

Bottom line

If you are interested to read a character driven plot that will affect you emotionally, Normal People should be your pick. Normal People by Sally Rooney deserves all the praise and accolades it has been getting. I am definitely reading more from Rooney in future.

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Have you read Normal People or anything else written by Sally Rooney? Do you like character driven plots? What other books that handle emotional abuse and depression exceptionally well? Let us talk.