Book Review: The Guest List by Melissa Hill

The Guest List by Melissa Hill
Release Date: 25th April 2013
Publisher: Hodder and Stroughton
Buy: Paperback  Kindle
5 star


When funny, kind and gorgeous Shane proposes, Cara is over the moon, and can’t wait to share the news of their engagement with all their friends and family.
Excitement, however, quickly turns to apprehension when it seems that everyone has a fixed idea of the perfect wedding and offers to ‘help’ with the planning. With tussles over the ceremony and the size of the guest list, sibling rivalry and insistent in-laws-to-be, Cara can see her vision of the big day being ripped to shreds.
So she and Shane determine to make a stand and do things their way. But when they announce their plans for a beach wedding on a beautiful Caribbean island, there is uproar. Threats are made, family secrets are revealed, and things turn decidedly stormy.
Will Cara and Shane manage to overcome all obstacles? Or will their dream wedding turn into a nightmare?



When Shane and Cara get engaged, they are unsurprisingly eager to start planning and share their good news with all their family and friends. But after attending the Wedding of an old college friend, whose big day has cost nearly two hundred thousand pounds, put both sets of parents into debt and caused the Groom to turn to alcohol to get him through the big day, Cara and Shane decide that they want something different for their Wedding. They decide on a beach wedding in glorious St Lucia. They’ll be sun, sea, sand and not an ice sculpture swan in sight…

However, when they deliver the news of their plans to their family and friends they are met with a somewhat less than positive reaction.

Cara’s Mum is horrified that the Wedding won’t be held in a Church, Shane’s parents are more concerned about their social reputation and how the choice of Wedding reflects on them, and Cara’s sisters reactions are no better – there’s the elusive Danielle who fled to Florida and rarely sees her family, and spoilt Princess Heidi, who will be seven months pregnant for the Wedding and concerned that she will give birth on the Island (thinking that this will make her child officially a ‘St Lucian’).

With so many obstacles to overcome (and more on the way) will Shane and Cara ever actually get round to tying the knot?


I love Melissa Hill’s books and I don’t think that I have come across a single novel of hers that I haven’t enjoyed. I thought that the synopsis for this story was intriguing and a really good idea. It also sounded a bit unusual and didn’t remind me of anything I’ve read in the past so I was eager to give it a go.

Wherever the theme of Weddings is concerned there’s always opportunity for drama, arguments, family secrets and lots of heartbreak and The Guest List meets all of that criteria. What’s more I’m sure that many people could relate to this story in real life – I would imagine the thought of running away and having a beach wedding has crossed many a couples minds at some point.

This was a classic Melissa Hill book, easy to read, thoroughly enjoyable and like some of her previous novels, there’s a brilliant twist right before the end. I found this a really great part of the story – especially how the scene was set when secrets were revealed amongst the family (in an underground storm shelter…completely normal…) I had absolutely no idea that this twist was coming either, which made me enjoy it all the more. The range of characters in this story were fantastic. Shane and Cara especially were really likeable. I found myself able to relate to Cara completely. She didn’t turn into a Bridezilla and she was sensible and honest. All I wanted was for her and Shane to just be allowed to have the Wedding that they wanted and I felt so much sympathy for the couple after they faced objection after objection which eventually caused their relationship to be put to the test.

However the niceness of Shane and Cara highlights the downright nastiness of some of the other characters. Shane’s parents are less than likeable and her younger sister Heidi is a nightmare! (Only very funny to read about…) I don’t think that what Shane and Cara wanted for their big day was unreasonable and at times it’s so infuriating that both of their families are behaving so selfishly. One of the characters that I loved was Kim, Cara’s Sister-in-Law. She is relaxed about everything, supportive and hilarious (when her daughter, Olivia, got ice-cream on one of her Gucci dresses, she was more concerned that all of the ice cream was gone!) she was just great.

I just had to keep reading to find out if Shane and Cara would get to tie the knot, and if it would be how they wanted. At times the prospect does look bleak…

I found myself quickly getting lost in this story; it’s a brilliant mix of humour, conflict and family drama, all brilliantly written. It will have you laughing, crying and screaming with outrage…

Another winner from Melissa Hill!


Melissa HillInternational #1 bestselling author Melissa Hill lives in Dublin and is one of Ireland’s most popular female fiction authors.
Her page-turning, twisty, contemporary stories are published worldwide and translated into 25 different languages. Her titles are regular chart-toppers in Ireland and internationally and in 2011 SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S (aka A GIFT FROM TIFFANY’S) became one of Italy’s Top Ten bestselling books overall.
One of her recent titles is currently in development with a major Hollywood movie studio.

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