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review 2020-10-03 04:28
Lucy Foley: The Hunting Party
The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley takes readers to a remote mountain stay, where friends gather but one of them is about to be murdered:

During the Christmas/New Year break a group of friends from Oxford takes a break to an isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands, an old hunting lodge that has been converted into a luxury stay. The only people on grounds this time of year are the manager and the game keeper, both who has secrets and something they are running from. On December 30 a huge blizzard hits the lodge stopping all in and out travel, the guest and workers are snowed in and may be for some time, however, they have been assured they have enough food in order to wait till the storm passes. Two days later, on New Years day, one of them is dead. There is a murderer amoung those who are at the lodge, and all of them seemingly have a reason to commit such an act.

This book does a lot of things right but I think where Foley really excelled in the format that she chose to write this book in. There are multiple points of views, not just the guest but the manager and games keeper as well. This offers a well rounded story, most of the characters backstories as well as their feelings about the others. There is not just one opinion of a person but many. This helps the reader feel as if they are part of the group staying at the lodge and start to form their own opinions about the characters.

I felt that Foley was able to keep the suspense throughout the book, as you know a murder is going to occur as this is how the book starts out but you don't know who is going to be murdered or who the murderer so it is a fun ride to see how these events play out. The multiple points of views keeps you guessing about who will be murdered and who the murderer is likely to be and you will probably change your mind a few points along the way.

This book really explores how much people change over time and how some people want nothing to change while others just want to move on and love the person that they have become. Sometimes it is hard to keep those friends you have had forever as people take different life paths, no matter how hard you try to hold on to them. This is probably the most common theme throughout the book.

This is the first book I have read by Foley and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading another one of her novels.

Enjoy!!!

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review 2020-07-30 14:35
The Hunting Party
The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

It was their annual trip, situated on a secluded campground, for which the everyone was planning on attending.  She had ordered enough food for weeks, which was good as an unprecedented amount of snowfall fell while they were there. Then, they found the body.  It was finally discovered after hours of searching but the question on everyone’s mind was why and who?  Why would someone do this and who amongst them is the guilty party?  They are in a secluded area yet its size is massive enough to hide the likes of other unwanted guests. 

 

This year’s New Year’s mini-vacation was going to be a snapshot of all their previous years. They had been coming together since their days at Oxford but now their group was getting bigger. These few days gave the group, a chance to catch-up, a year of activity and to reminisce about their college years. I enjoyed the diversity amongst the group and how some of them had changed over the years.  It was entertaining how some individuals continued in the path they set in college and how some had matured and started to become adults.

 

As they arrived, the Gamekeeper (yes, that is what he was called) arrived to take them to the lodge and their cabins.  Doug was shifty guy, I thought, from the moment the author introduced him and I kept waiting for more information on him as I read.  The image I had of him was disturbing (and hysterical, if I thought about it) and I know he couldn’t have looked that way or no one would have gone near him.  The place was perfect, and secluded. Have I mentioned that? There is also a woman Heather, who runs the place who seems nice but as you read, you learn she has some secrets.  Oh, let’s not forget Iain.  Iain is the hired hand at the lodge and does odd jobs.  Yep, you don’t hear much about him but what I read, I definitely want to know more about him.

 

They discover that there’s another couple staying at a section of the lodge, who are more prepared for the elements of this secluded site than our large party but let’s not concern ourselves with these Icelandic individuals.

 

Oh, it’s a grand time at the lodge, partying and living the good life, well at least for some of the group.  There are those who are in the spotlight and those who are hugging the wall, just watching the scenes unfold. This was interesting how these individuals took to the group and how their lives had evolved over time.  Was there anyone who was watching the whole group?  There had to be a “fly on the wall,” taking in the group’s interactions and conversations, privately and openly. 

 

I’m not so sure I enjoyed all the flashing back that occurred in the book.  The chapters were set up in 3 Days Earlier, 2 Days Earlier and Now fashion and then, we would read about different characters views on that day.  I had to stop for a minute and tell myself where I was in the story as time shifted, for events that occurred really made a different in what day you were in.  I liked the mystery surrounding the death and how the author laid that out.  I was right about one part of it but I had many individuals who I thought could be the second half of it.  It was a fun book and I was glad that I read it. 4 stars.

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review 2020-06-09 20:29
The Guest List
The Guest List - Lucy Foley

It was a slow burn at first, as the bridal party gets situated on the deserted island first.  The groom is a celebrity, his bride a publisher and the bridal party is a mish-mash of individuals, all linked to the couple, who each seem to have some hidden secret.  As the events of the story unfolded, I loved how the book picked up speed. As I tried to put the book down, to attend to other matters, my mind wouldn’t let go of the island, as the lights flickered, and the guests tried to make sense of what was happening.   

 

I could see why the couple had chosen this island for their special day with its seclusion, size, and the service that the owners provided. I really enjoyed the mixture of characters that the author included in this book and their interactions with each other.

 

When the big day arrived, the guests arrived on the island, ready for day of celebration.  With an abundance of individuals to keep track of, I found this confusing at times yet the connections that they had with one another, made this book intriguing and remarkable.

 

As the secrets start to surface, I didn’t know who might be the next one to unburden their heart.  Some of these, I had suspected but there were some that, made my jaw drop.  With twists and turns, and ups and downs, this book was a great escape. 4.5 stars

 

I received a copy of this book from the Book Club Girl Early Read program. This review is my own opinion of the novel and I thank Harper Collins and the Book Club Girl Early Read program for sending me this copy.

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review 2020-03-13 22:29
A twisted mystery and an homage to the classics of the genre
The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

I thank Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

Lucy Foley is a new author to me but I was intrigued by the premise of the book, which promised to be a look back at the classics but with a modern touch. The format is easily recognisable (a group of people isolated in a somewhat strange setting, a crime, and the suspicions that fall on all those present). I had recently read The Glass Hotel and although they are set in very different locations (the hotel here is in the Scottish Highlands), there were some similarities in the isolation of the place, and in the motivations of some of the employees to seek such isolation, but this is a more conventional caper, where everybody hides secrets, dislikes and even hatreds, and there is a lot of emphasis placed on the relationship between the university friends who go on holiday together even though they no longer have much in common, and whom we get to know pretty well during the book.

There are plenty of lies, obscure motivations, relationships that are not what they seem to be, infidelity, popularity contests, friction between the so-called friends, and the book is told in two separate timeframes, one after the crime (although a bit like in Big Little Lies, we hear about the aftermath of the crime, but who the victim is doesn’t get revealed until almost the very end), and another that follows chronologically from the time when the friends set off towards their holiday destination. Eventually, both narratives catch up, and we get a full understanding of what has gone on.  It’s a great strategy to keep readers guessing, and although I did have my suspicions of at least some of the things that were to come, I admit that there are some interesting red herring thrown into the works . Readers need to remain attentive to the changes in time frame to avoid getting confused as to when things have taken place, although this is clearly stated in the novel.

One of the problems some readers seem to have with the novel is that the characters are not terribly likeable. The story is narrated mostly from the point of view of several of the women: three of the female friends (Emma, the newest one to arrive in the group; Miranda, the Queen Bee who never quite lived up to everybody’s expectations; and Katie, Miranda’s best friend, the only single one, who seems to have outgrown the group in many ways ), and also Heather, the manager of the hotel, who has secrets of her own (and is one of the nicest characters)— all of them told in the first person—, and one man’s point of view, Doug, another employee of the hotel, although in his case we get a third-person account, and one marred by many of his personal difficulties (let’s say that he is not a very reliable narrator). Reading the events from several points of view helps us gain perspective and heightens our suspicions as to what might really be going on. I must agree that the characters, probably because we are privy to their internal thoughts rather than to others’ opinions of them, are difficult to like. Self-obsessed or obsessed with others, with random likes and dislikes, cruel, or unable to face the truth… none of them are people most of us would choose as friends. Considering this is a book about a group of friends, it does offer a particularly grim view of old friendships, emphasising the lack of sincerity and honesty and the dark undertones to most of the relationships between them. On the other hand, I must admit that dark —or at least grey— characters make for a much more interesting reading experience than goody two-shoes.  

The writing style is straight forward and manages to create a clear image of the characters in the reader’s mind. There are some rather memorable scenes as well, but the book takes its time building up the background and the relationships, rather than moving at a fast pace, but still manages to keep readers intrigued and interested.

As I said, I had my suspicions about who the guilty party might be and what was behind the murder from early on (the clues are all there), but nonetheless I found the ending satisfying, and I think most readers will feel the same.

In sum, a solid thriller, that brings back memories of old style mystery novels, with more emphasis on the psychological aspect, and which also has much in common with the domestic noir style (although here transposed to the Highlands). An interesting novel for lovers of the genre, and one that I’m sure in the right hands could be turned into a successful movie. 

 

 

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review 2020-02-26 21:34
The Hunting Party
The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

Miranda stands up and fires the cork into the loch, where it makes its own series of ripples, widening out in shining rings across the water. We drink straight from the bottle, passing it around like Girl Guides, the cold, densely fizzing liquid stinging our throats.

‘It’s like Oxford,’ Mark says. ‘Sitting down by the river, getting pissed after finals at three p.m.’

‘Except then it was cava,’ Miranda says. ‘Christ – we drank gallons of that stuff. How did we not notice that it tastes like vomit?’

‘And there was that party you held down by the river,’ Mark says. ‘You two’ – he gestures to Miranda and me – ‘and Samira.’

‘Oh yes,’ Giles says. ‘What was the theme again?’

‘The Beautiful and Damned,’ I say. Everyone had to come in twenties’ gear, so we could all pretend we were Bright Young Things, like Evelyn Waugh and friends. God, we were pretentious.

"Were"? Why the past tense? These people are still annoying. Incredibly irritating actually.

 

They are a group friends in their 30s who were all at Oxford together and are now spending New Years Eve at a lodge in the Scottish Highlands.

 

I have a lot of issues with this book. And I mean, A LOT of issues, starting with the characters, who all behave as if they are in their early 20s, not their 30s. None of them seem to have had a life. Any life.

And as much as Foley may have tried to re-create the Bright Young Things one might find in an Agatha Christie mystery, all of her characters are self-absorbed, arrogant, vapid, vacuous snobs. 

 

I also have issues with the setting of the "lodge in the Scottish Highlands" because it seems to have been written by someone who doesn't believe in research. 

 

And last of all, the writing is pretty bad. Any writer who has to resort to dropping brand names to describe something, has lost with me. Any writer who tries to define their characters by their fashion choices, is worse. Add a chick lit tone of narration to it, and I am out. 

 

DNF @ p. 81 of 391

 

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