EXCERPT: NOW – The Wedding Night
The lights go out.
In an instant, everything is in darkness. The band stop their playing. Inside the marquee the wedding guests squeal and clutch at one another. The light from the candles on the tables only adds to the confusion, sends shadows racing up the canvas walls. It’s impossible to see where anyone is or hear what anyone is saying: above the guests voices the wind rises in a frenzy.
Outside a storm is raging. It shrieks around them, it batters the marquee. At each assault the whole structure seems to flex and shudder with a loud groaning of metal; the guests cower in alarm. The doors have come free of their ties and flap at the entrance. The flames of the paraffin torches that illuminate the doorway snicker.
It feels personal, this storm. It feels as though it has saved all its fury for them.
This isn’t the first time the electrics have shorted. But the last time the lights snapped back on again within minutes. The guests returned to their dancing, their drinking, their pill-popping, their screwing, their eating, their laughing…and forgot it ever happened.
How long has it been now? In the dark it’s difficult to tell. A few minutes? Fifteen? Twenty?
They’re beginning to feel afraid. This darkness feels somehow ominous, intense. As though anything could be happening beneath its cover.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.
All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .
MY THOUGHTS: The air of menace is palpable from the outset, but we don’t find out at whom it is directed until almost the end. There is no shortage of possibilities. It seems that all the main characters bear a grudge against someone, and all have secrets to hide and protect.
Most of the characters aren’t at all likeable, but the cast is an interesting one. The story is told from multiple points of view: Jules, the bride, a success in her own right, who is marrying Will, star of a TV ‘survival’ show;
Olivia, the bride’s sister and only bridesmaid, fragile following her own failed romance;
Johno, best man, odd man out, serial failure, and friend of the groom from their boarding school days;
Hannah, the plus one, mother of two and wife of the bride’s best friend, Charlie;
Aoife, wedding planner and venue owner with her partner Freddie.
Add to this mix the ushers, also Will’s friends from boarding school, and the combination becomes even more volatile.
The story is told over two days, that of the wedding, and the preceding day as the wedding party arrives on the island.
Lucy Foley has created an incredibly atmospheric setting for her novel. There is a whispering cave, a graveyard, a crumbling castle edifice, and a wedding party trapped on an island during a violent storm.
The secrets are slowly revealed, the suspense teased out as we await the inevitable. But who will be the victim? And who is the killer?
A surprising and inventive novel.
THE AUTHOR: Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.
Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Guest List by Lucy Foley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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