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?
I feel like I might be in the minority on this book because I wasn’t really blown away with it and it seems to be vastly popular. Did I find it entertaining while reading? Sure. Was it memorable or particularly creative? Not so much. It’s one of those books that’s just sort of “meh” for me and left me feeling really disappointed and while I originally thought I could give it a 3 star rating I’m settling for 2.5 because the more I thought on it the more I knew I disliked it.
The story centers around a group of people going to an isolated island off the coast of Ireland for a wedding. During the wedding celebration they discover a dead body. That’s pretty much it, of course the guests are all hiding secrets etc and we read on to find out whose body was found and who committed the crime. From here the story switches back and forth between “before” the body was found and “after” the body was found between many, many different character POVs. We are waiting to find out who the body is and who killed them. I thought overall this helped keep the story mostly suspenseful at least enough to keep turning pages BUT I personally felt there were too many different POVs. If it weren’t for the names at the top of each chapter I would have been left even more confused about the POV changes, it just felt like too much with five similar-ish character POVs. I did like that it made it so the plot had a lot of moving parts that all came together in the end, but overall I found it to be redundant. Like each character spent so much time hiding secrets from each other and we get flashbacks of their past and all of that slowly leads up to the secrets being revealed on top of trying to find out who was killed and who did it. It made the timeline feel really messy and when we finally get to the ending it felt like trying to fit EVERY detail together was a stretch.
There are plot twists but I figured out what the “big” twist was long before it was revealed, it gave me a thrill to figure it out on my own but I was disappointed that I wasn’t surprised more. After that nothing shocked or surprised me and it felt very flat and anti-climatic. Everything just seemed really obvious and predictable, which was really unfortunate considering this is a whodunnit. Very underwhelming. And some of the twists especially with the ending felt over the top and a little ridiculous.
One thing I did really like about this book was the setting: an isolated Irish isle complete with old buildings and a cemetery. It was very atmospheric and eerie and it had a lot of potential for a murder mystery but that fell short. Yep, that’s all I have.
The characters were not very enjoyable, they were all pretty annoying and I felt like they were constantly getting on my nerves. The women would not ever speak up about any of the questionable things going on or things that were actually bothering them, they would just stand by and let things continue. And the men acted like a bunch of douche canoes, pranking and drinking 24/7. They acted really immature and it got really old really fast. Seriously all of these people were pretty horrible and not in a “they’re unreliable narrators and this is fun” kind of way, just horrible people straight up. I could mention each character by name but there really isn’t a point, they all read the same.
I also previously mentioned that there are five different POVs from members of the wedding party, guests, and the wedding planner. It was too much. Not to mention they all felt like they had zero personality so whenever the POV did switch it felt like reading the same character regardless. We also get flashbacks to the characters’ past while at the same time flipping back and forth between the days leading to the wedding and the day of the wedding when the body is found, so overall the timeline for events was pretty messy and it could get hard to keep track of. And the reason for the flashbacks is to reveal what “awful” secrets they’re all hiding and honestly, they weren’t shocking and some of them were just plain weird.
What I Loved:
- I did finish the book, the pacing kept it going
- Irish isle setting with neat old buildings
What I Didn’t Love:
- Too many POVs
- Predictable story
- Twists weren’t shocking and some felt really ridiculous
- Horrible characters that were also really flat
- Timeline jumps around too much
Overall it did keep me turning pages but this was hardly the big mystery it was made out to be. A lot of the “secrets” the guests were hiding were…strange. A lot of them just seemed way too over the top and it seemed like a stretch to fit everything together. It was predictable and not as fun as a murder mystery should be, in my opinion. I loved the idea but overall the execution left a lot to be desired.
Trigger Warnings: Self Harm (On Page), Mention of Abortion, Mention of Suicide, Hazing Stunts, In General Cruelty, Cheating, Mention of Revenge Porn
**** Huge thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ****