The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
About The Guilt Trip
Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali. The group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.
As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about.
One fatal misunderstanding . . .
But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.
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This book was a different read than I was expecting. While the cover description led me to expect murder and mystery, the story’s emphasis is instead very much on the characters’ relationships and group dynamics. Personally, I feel this was a bit of a marketing issue with this book.
But setting aside my initial assumptions about the book, it was still an okay read for me. While there wasn’t the action or suspense I’d been expecting, I was still curious as to what was going on. The author has a unique writing style which helped add to the story. And with so many layers of secrets and lies fueling this group of friends, it kept me engaged.
As you near the end of the book, things start happening quickly. This was very different pacing from the rest of the novel and took me by surprise. It also left me a bit confused about certain points. (No spoilers, but there were a few aspects to the final chapters that didn’t fully add up for me…) It was almost like reading a different story and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.
My recommendation: If you’re looking for a murder mystery, this isn’t the story for you. I would only recommend this for those looking for a family drama full of gossipy secrets and a heavily dialogue-driven plot.