Book club questions for The Guest List by Lucy Foley will take a deep dive into this murder mystery. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review first.
Reese Witherspoon picked The Guest List and I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown for her June book club picks. Two very different books. It seemed that The Guest List was the initial pick as bookstores across the country added the Reese Book Club logo to it prior to June. But I’m glad she also added I’m Still Here, which you all should definitely read if you haven’t yet! I also wrote book club questions for it as well.
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 wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
Book club questions for The Guest List
- When you read a murder mystery, do you try to solve the mystery as you read the story?
- We read the perspectives of Aoife, Hannah, Jules, Johnno, Olivia and a little with Will. It also jumps back and forth between the present and the events leading up to the murder. What did you think about reading all those different perspectives? Which character were you most engaged with? Which one the least?
- Let’s first start with Jules. Why was she so eager to marry Will despite not knowing him for very long? Why did you think she chose to ignore the letter that said not to marry him?
- We have Olivia who is depressed and pretty haunted. When she’s describing Steven and what happened, did you suspect it was Will or were you surprised at that reveal? Do you think she’ll ever tell Jules about what really happened with him?
- What did you think about Hannah’s storyline? She’s horrified to find out that Charlie and Jules slept together after the birth of their child. Do you think Hannah will leave Charlie or will they stay together?
- Johnno is distraught when he finds out that Will sabotaged his chance of being on the show. Let’s talk about how that reveal caused him to finally confront Will about their coverup.
- A fellow classmate named Darcey at the boarding school died after Will and Johnno tied him up and left him behind with no way to escape. Johnno is traumatized and feels guilty while Will takes no responsibility and tries to say it was an accident. Let’s talk about our thoughts as we read this. What does this say about Will how he always thought he was going to get away with everything?
- But that’s not the only person Will harmed. He did an act of revenge porn on Hannah’s sister and she eventually killed herself. Let’s talk about this reveal.
- Did you think it was interesting that Will was so involved with all those horrible actions that impacted so many of the characters? Or did you think it was a little much?
- What did you think about the reveal that Aoife is the sister of Darcey? What did you think about her reasons for having their wedding at the island? Were you surprised that she ends up being the one to murder Will?
- Let’s talk about Johnno taking the blame for Will’s murder despite being innocent. Do you think the truth will ever come out about Aoife?
- Were you satisfied by the end?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Guest List! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
If you haven’t read Lucy’s previous novel, The Hunting Party—your book club should check it out! I personally liked it better than The Guest List.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
The trip begins innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps, just as a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead. . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage says. But how close is too close?
The Herd by Andrea Bartz
The Herd by Andrea Bartz is fantastic! My favorite thriller of the year so far.
The name of the elite, women-only coworking space stretches across the wall behind the check-in desk: THE HERD, the H-E-R always in purple. In-the-know New Yorkers crawl over one another to apply for membership to this community that prides itself on mentorship and empowerment. Among the hopefuls is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest after a stint of book research blew up in her face. Luckily, Katie has an in, thanks to her sister, Hana, an original Herder and the best friend of Eleanor Walsh, the Herd’s charismatic founder.
Eleanor is a queen among the Herd’s sun-filled rooms, admired and quietly feared even as she strives to be warm and approachable. As head of PR, Hana is working around the clock to prepare for a huge announcement from Eleanor—one that will change the trajectory of the Herd forever. Though Katie loves her sister’s crew, she secretly hopes that she’s found her next book subject in Eleanor, who’s brilliant, trailblazing—and extremely private.
Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suggest foul play, everyone is a suspect: Eleanor’s husband, other Herders, the men’s rights groups that have had it out for the Herd since its launch—even Eleanor’s closest friends. As Hana struggles to figure out what her friend was hiding and Katie chases the story of her life, the sisters must face the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other—and confront just how dangerous it can be when women’s perfect veneers start to crack, crumble, and then fall away altogether.