By: Carrie Pinkard
Welcome back to Literature in a Cup, a novel-tea monthly book club where we discuss the perfect book and tea pairings. Here’s what we have brewing this month:
The Guest List is the perfect read for anyone who missed the hustle and bustle of wedding season this year. This book is your one-way ticket to the destination wedding of Will and Jules, a wealthy couple who is sealing the deal just a few months after meeting. But what’s the rush? Is three months really enough time to sift through your lover’s baggage and decide on a lifelong commitment? And what happens when the reception is stopped cold by the appearance of a dead body?
The crisp fall air rolling in and the promise of Halloween around the corner make this the perfect time to read a murder mystery. Will and Jules are hosting an exclusive wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. The only way you can get there is braving the harsh waters by boat. A couple hundred people will ferry out to the island for the wedding, but for one the destination will be death.
Oftentimes at weddings, the sole focus is on the bride and groom. But there are so many other characters and stories that bubble beneath the surface. Like a groomsman who shares a dark secret with the groom from their school days that bonds them together. Or a sister with a scandalous romantic past. Or a married friend who seems to have eyes for the bride. The Guest List manages to tell all these stories at once by shifting between narrators. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different member of the wedding party or guest.
This bouncing between narrators creates an atmosphere of tension leading up to the wedding day. Weddings have a way of making us reflect on our own lives and status in the world, and sometimes we are less than enthused with what we see. The characters we get to live through are feeling a range of emotions from jealousy to anger to lust, and those emotions get ramped up to full gear as soon as the cork pops out of the reception champagne.
There are clues sprinkled throughout the book about the death and the murderer, but Foley does a great job at not giving anything away too soon. The book pulls you in so you feel like a guest on this cold, rainy Irish isle complete with a graveyard and spotty cell reception.
The Guest List will forever change how you attend weddings. You’ll start to look at the bride and groom not only through your own vantage point in the audience, but also through the lens of the wedding planner, bridesmaids, siblings, parents, and groomsmen. Because behind every couple is an interweaving mess of supporting characters. And if you don’t surround yourself with the right cast, things can turn out deadly.
About the pairing:
We chose to pair The Guest List with our Calm the F**k Down tea for a couple of reasons. The first is that many people in this book simply need to Calm the F**k Down. The groomsmen are rowdy and pull extreme pranks on each other like overgrown frat boys, the bride at times unleashes her inner Bridezilla, and the guests behave like zoo animals who were set free from their cages for one night and one night only. The second reason these two pair well is that The Guest List, like any good mystery, will raise your heart rate. You’ll be flipping through pages at warp speed trying to tie together all the loose ends and get a grip on the seating chart. Calm the F**k Down is a green rooibos blended that relieves stress and improves circulation.
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