Written in the vein of Big Little Lies meets Agatha Christie, the novel is set on an island in West Ireland. We are first introduced to Aoife (pronounced Ee-Fah) and her husband Freddy, a couple that owns a newly opened beach front destination getaway on the island. They are preparing to host the wedding of Jules, a well known online magazine editor, and Will, a popular survival reality star. This is the first big event the couple is hosting, and they hope the media coverage will help boost future bookings. What could go wrong?
In a word – everything. Will invites his childhood best friends to serve as his groomsmen; Foley makes sure to let the reader know that most of these men peaked during their years at the boarding school where they met. When they are together, they are insufferable, and it becomes Aoife’s unwilling responsibility to keep them in line. Jules, on the other hand, is always on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. She can’t seem to control her temper around her condescending mother or hide her disdain for her younger sister, Olivia, whose depression is for some reason extremely irritating to Jules. But she won’t let them ruin her wedding, this is her day after all. Even if the skies are darkening on the horizon the closer the wedding day approaches.
There’s also the weird relationship between Jules and her best friend Charlie, who brings along his wife Hannah as a plus one to the wedding. As soon as they arrive on the island, Hannah becomes second fiddle in her own marriage, as Charlie can’t seem to get enough of or stay away from Jules. This is not a normal, platonic male-female relationship, no no. Can you say gaslight, gatekeep, girl boss?
At the heart of the story is a death during the wedding festivities. This isn’t a spoiler, its literally on the book jacket. Each chapter inches you closer to the identity of the victim and killer, although it becomes pretty obvious about two-thirds of the way through. I gave this 3-stars because I was underwhelmed over all. It had promise, but by the end the novel it fell into a few cliche tropes that novels in this genre tend to lean on. All the pieces were there for an interesting, ensemble murder mystery, yet most of the characters were so unlikeable any of them could have been the victim/ killer and it wouldn’t have made much difference.