“That spring was the start of everything, for me. Before then, I might have been half-asleep, drifting through life.”
The Invitation by Lucy Foley is set in Rome, 1953, when Hal and Stella meet by chance, two outcasts in a city far from home. It’s a bright awakening for Hal. He believes he’s found the love of his life – his Stella, his star. To his dismay, the mysterious girl disappears as quickly as she swept in, and Hal’s life as a journalist falls back into its familiar routine. But when he’s asked by an Italian Contessa to assist on a trip of a lifetime – acting as the reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian Riviera towards Cannes film festival, Hal can’t believe his good fortune. Especially when a familiar beauty becomes a passenger.
A beautifully atmospheric historical fiction with a pinch of mystery, The Invitation is a gorgeously written story with vivid descriptions and sun-soaked destinations.
With The Guest List being one of my favourite thrillers, I was interested to read some of Foley’s earlier books and have had this one on my kindle shelf for a long time. I didn’t really know what to expect at first. It certainly wouldn’t fit in on the thriller shelf next to her most recent releases, but there’s also still a lot of intriguing mystery throughout.
Instead, what we have more of here is Foley’s exceptional skill of transporting you to a different setting. I’ve read three thrillers by her now, each set in a different location (Ireland, Scotland and Paris), and every time I got a powerful sense of the location.
And that’s what I loved so much about The Invitation, as I felt like I was sunbathing on a luxury yacht on my way to Cannes film festival as I sat and listened to this on audiobook, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.
The mystery is intriguing and the characters are compelling, but I did find the story quite slow and a tad too lengthy to really keep me gripped, but the historical fiction side of the story was really accomplished.
I’m so glad I listened to the audiobook version of this one as I think I might have gotten bored without Emma Gregory‘s brilliant narration to help transport me to these beautiful locations. It’s definitely one to listen to while relaxing in the sun with a glass of something refreshing!
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