Title: The Other Guest
Author: Helen Cooper
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: July 26, 2022
After a shocking death at a luxurious Italian resort, two very different women must question everything—and everyone—they love in order to untangle truth from lies in this twisty, captivating read.
One year ago, Leah’s feisty 21-year-old niece, Amy, mysteriously drowned in the beautiful lake near her family-owned resort in Northern Italy. Now, Leah’s grief has caught up with her, and she decides to return to Lake Garda for the first time since Amy’s death. What she finds upon her arrival shocks her—her sister, brother-in-law, and surviving niece, Olivia, seem to have erased all memories of Amy, and fought to have her death declared an accidental drowning, despite murky circumstances. Leah knows she must look beyond the resort’s beautiful façade and uncover what truly happened to Amy, even if her digging places both her family ties and her very life in danger.
Meanwhile, in Central England, thirtysomething Joanna is recovering from a surprising break-up when she is swept off her feet by a handsome bartender. But when she learns that he is on the run from something in his past, and that their meeting may not have been a coincidence, Joanna realized that he may just a bit too good to be true.
What follows is a propulsive cat-and mouse game set against the Italian lakeside as the two seemingly-unconnected women are caught up in a dangerous conspiracy.
Why This Book
The Other Guest is a mystery novel that follows two different women in two different locations who are, in some way, connected to the murder of the older daughter of the couple who own and run a glitzy, exclusive resort in Italy. It’s the sort of place where only the rich and beautiful are seen, so, on the surface, it’s nearly blinding with it’s sheer beauty, but, underneath, the family is crumbling. Leah is staying at the resort to try to figure out what, exactly, happened to her niece while Joanna, in the UK, meets a man who might know something about that.
While I was disappointed about how these two ladies were tied together, I had to pick this one for the Shelf as it involves a bartender who, of course, mixes up drinks. But this bartender was close friends with the girl, Amy, who died, and might know more about her death than he lets on. Part of this book follows Amy and what led up to her death, including the close friendship and eventual crush she had on the very popular and handsome bartender. Of course, by the time Leah arrived to investigate Amy’s death, the bar is different, but there’s still a good amount of daytime drinking done by the guests.
My review: “The Other Guest wasn’t the riveting read I had hoped for, nor did I feel it really transported me to Italy. The characters’ secrets and watching them unravel was my favorite part, but I didn’t feel Leah and Joanna’s stories really wove together as well as they could have”
Fictionophile gave this 5 stars, saying “With themes of guilt, familial loyalty, megalomania, and keeping up appearances, this novel is ingeniously plotted and I was absolutely immersed throughout the entire book. The ending chapters were suspenseful and riveting”
Chick Lit Central said “Cooper has created an interesting structure in The Other Guest, with two protagonists who never meet. While Leah is the more pro-active of the two, aggressively pursuing leads about Amy’s death even when her own safety is jeopardized, Joanna is the more sympathetic”
Angelnetreviews.com said “it can take a little while to get your head round who is who and what exactly is happening. It is definitely worth persevering though as once Leah starts to unravel the truth about the uber luxury holiday resort all the threads come together and you realise what has really happened”
Rain’N’Books gave this 3.5 stars, saying “The story develops slowly as we see how these random lives get interconnected and the author has developed the plot excellently, though, I wonder if she left the twisty surprise a little too late”
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