Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Invitation” as Want to Read:
The Invitation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Invitation

by
3.75  ·  Rating details ·  3,478 ratings  ·  310 reviews
An evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately -- and dangerously -- to hide.

Rome, 1953: Hal, an itinerant journalist flailing in the post-war darkness, has come to the Eternal City to lose himself and to seek absolution for the thing that haunts him. One evening he finds himself
...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Little, Brown and Company (first published July 14th 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Invitation, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Anne
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,478 ratings  ·  310 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Invitation
Sandra
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-uk
A wonderful historical read that evokes the period of the 1950s.
Rome 1953: Hal and Stella meet by chance at a glittering party hosted by the Contessa, a fundraiser for her film project.
They spend the night together. Hal feels he has met someone special but to his dismay, Stella disappears as quickly as she appeared
Later, the Contessa invites Hal, to be the journalist on a fabulous trip – a yacht, skimming its way along the Italian Riviera towards the Cannes film festival, for the launch of her
...more
Bill Kupersmith
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading The Invitation was another experience of time travel such as I’d enjoyed with Anton DiSclafani’s The After Party. But on this round the time warp was vicarious. Lucy Foley’s book reminded me so much of another that affected me hugely as a teenager, Lawrence Durrell’s Justine, which some sixty years ago introduced my boyish imagination to a fictional world of incredible sophistication. The parallels are remarkable. In both an expatriate English writer exiled penuriously to a Mediterranean ...more
Jess
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Victoria Hislop
Glamorous and gorgeously written... but vaguely improbable, repetitive and (dare I say it?) a little superficial.

In my opinion, this is by far Foley’s most accomplished work yet. Having been relatively unimpressed by The Book of Lost and Found and Last Letter from Istanbul, I was dubious at first - but the temptation of the Italian Riviera was too good to resist. In this aspect, I was certainly not disappointed. The Mediterranean setting is wonderful and the ambience is stunning; Lucy Foley has
...more
Maureen
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An invitation to journey on a yacht along the Italian Riveria to the Cannes Film Festival. What’s not to like?
The scenery is breathtaking. I have been fortune enough to recently visited theses beautiful towns. It brought back memories for me.
This is the compelling story of two strangers who meet by chance and the secrets that they have kept.

Hal and Stella first meet in Italy at a cocktail party for the rich and famous.
Hal is there under false pretenses. Hal doesn’t feel he belongs there.
He is o
...more
Sandra
This book is so conflicting. I wanted to like this book a lot. The setting is interesting, the cover is stunning, the era is interesting, but there is just too much of could have been.

Let me explain:

-The romance between two people struggling with their past has the potential to be interesting.

-Exploring the innerworking of the film world and rich circles in Italy as oppose to Hollywood is doubtlessly worth reading as well.

-And post WWII Europe is a place that allows for endless stories, recovin
...more
TL
Aug 14, 2016 marked it as dnf
I received this via Goodreads FirstReads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.
---

Just didn't grab me:(
...more
Joanna Park
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Invitation is definitely one of those books that takes you to another time and place. I really felt like I was travelling through post war Europe with the characters, experiencing all the sights with them. I now really hope to travel through Europe at some point and visit all the countries they did.

I loved the Countessa! I thought she was such a fantastic character, so full of life (despite her age), welcoming, friendly and a tad mischievous. Her obvious care towards her guests and her meddl
...more
Jenn
Nov 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
I would love to go to Italy. I thought this book might take me there, but it only put me to sleep. The story was soooooo slooooooow. I can't even tell you what it was about. I'd read a sentence several times - my mind was wandering. It didn't keep my interest at all. DNF @ 34%. ...more
Elsa
Aug 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Genuinely one of the worst books I’ve ever read.
Karen Mace
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardback
I was very lucky to receive a hardback - stunning cover photo! - copy of this book from the publishers Harper Collins, in return for a fair and honest review.

If you are looking for a holiday from the comfort of your own home this summer, then I can highly recommend this book! Set mainly around the Italian Riviera, this is a stunning story of romance, secret pasts, glamour and chance meetings. Some things are maybe just meant to be....

Hal and Stella are the two main characters of this book and we
...more
Liviu
A novel I picked up randomly in the bookstore to browse as the blurb seemed interesting and then I couldn't put down and had to read it until the end late in the evenings at home.

While it belongs to the "long ago" secrets sub-genre and it splits the action between the present (Rome and the Ligurian coast 1953, where the main characters meet and then go on a movie promotional trip on a yacht, he being an English expatriate, writer, journalist, though with an Italian mother and a brigadier father,
...more
KBookblogger
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
An atmospheric, beautiful and almost bewitching novel. More than that, it is a novel which truly encapsulates the complexities of human nature. Wonderfully descriptive and colorful - I could almost imagine myself sitting, looking at the brightly colored houses of the Amalfi coast from the Contessa’s yacht. I loved all of the different characters, especially the glamorous yet mysterious Stella and of course broken Hal who finds happiness again in loving Stella. Together they heal from their troub ...more
Julia
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought I was going to love this book, with its laudatory blurbs by Elin Hildebrand, Beatriz Williams, and Lucinda Riley on the back cover. Unfortunately, I just didn't get caught up in the story and was even a little bored at times. ...more
Chani
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very unexpected 5 stars! Don't you just love when that happens?
I have a different cover on my book, it's an ocean view with a yacht framed by a cliff archway, and it attracted me so. I finally picked it up and it was an instant hit with me.

What I really enjoyed was the plot's twists and turns, and the way Foley folds in stories that are within the overarching theme- possession and dispossession, with oneself and others.

This book is set before a backrop of war and I'm usually repelled by war
...more
Ellen
Jul 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was honestly one of the most boring books I ever read. I have loved other books by this author, but this one just dragged on and was insanely dull. . I kept on with it simply because I thought that surely it would get better. It did not.
Artemiz
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2017
The Invitation by Lucy Foley for me is a mix on four stories - Hal's, Stella's, The old sea captains and then the story that includes those three stories.

It's an interesting story, an interesting and appalling story about war, how it affects relationships, families and hope, but I really did not understand the necessity of the old captains story and how come everyone on the yacht treated Hal, the journalist, as their confessor, and they all told him about their personal secrets and tragedy. Tru
...more
Thebooktrail
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travel to the Italian Riviera with Lucy! link: Invitation to a cruise holiday

If I ever go on a cruise around the Italian Riviera, this is both the journey and the boat I’d like to go on. What a woman Stella was! I loved the multi layers of this tale – from Hal and Stella’s present day yearnings to their past troubles, the various characters on board the boat, and the story which was told in the film, this was a Gatsby-esque tale of how glitz and glamour can hide so many secrets and so much pain.
...more
Lynn Horton
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has great potential: mostly interesting characters, a fascinating era, wonderful settings, and two storylines that weave together well. (It's important to note that I don't typically like "time-traveling" storylines, but this one worked for me—probably because it's not another mysterious-letter-left-in-a-musty-suitcase tale.)

I thoroughly enjoyed "traveling" through Italy while reading The Invitation. The protagonist, Hal, is an interesting character, albeit a lazy one. The writing was
...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
I had to stay up and finish this one! Very good reading! I feel however that the blurbs on the back referencing this as a "dazzling romance" have missed the point entirely. To me this was more about obsession and the secrets kept - another summer read that deals with the deep scars they carry around and the quest for redemption, repair, creation of a new self. I do recommend! ...more
Kirstie
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this book and on the face of it I thought I would but it bored me to tears. There was no story of any great depth and the people who wrote such lovely things about it on the back must have been paid
I thought it would make me want to go to Italy but no such thing. And I felt no investment in the characters
Gail M
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
I got this from our neighborhood little library, with gloves on, sprayed it down with clorox solution and left it outside for five days. Unfortunately, it was not worth the effort. Plodding pace, shallow characters and completely predictable ending. I'll spray it down again and leave it for someone else left in the drought of closed public libraries. ...more
Alyssa Palombo
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written; an almost dream-like story with different connected narratives woven together.
Anne
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read and reviewed Lucy Foley's debut novel, The Book of Lost and Found on Random Things in January 2015 and was looking forward to reading The Invitation on my holiday to Croatia a few weeks ago.

I did find The Invitation a little difficult to engage with during the first couple of chapters; there are quite a few characters to get to know and I wasn't sure about lead character Hal at all. However, the beautiful writing and the incredible sense of place soon drew me in, and before I knew it, I w
...more
Mummalovesbooks
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. It’s hard to describe without giving the story away but I thoroughly enjoyed it, full of depth and feeling with great eclectic characters. Set in the beautiful and glamorous Italian Riviera in the 1950s.
English journalist Hal begins an affair with beautiful American society wife Stella that is set to end in tragedy.
Stella is hiding her past in the Spanish civil war and the loss of her family behind her supposedly perfect marriage to her rich, powerful and controlling husb
...more
Paige
This was an enjoyable and entertaining read. I was caught up in the story and liked how things were revealed through both the dual timelines and dual character perspectives. This is a good choice if you want an easy flowing historical fiction read with a touch of intrigue and a bit of a romantic element.

I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
Sarah Beth
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I received an advance reading copy of this book as a giveaway on Goodreads.

This novel opens in Rome in 1953 and follows Hal, a journalist struggling to make ends meet and recover from his experiences during the war. One evening he finds himself a guest at a wealthy palazzo and meets the mysterious and beautiful Stella. For one night, they steal away, but Hal doubts he will see Stella again. But a year later, Hal is asked to serve as a reporter for a new film at the Cannes film festival. En rout
...more
Cbe
Feb 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, thank you Goodreads for the free copy of this book. I read a review of it and, having lived in Italy for many years, I thought I would enjoy revisiting places I knew well. Unfortunately, I discovered this is not really my genre and, although I finished it, it was not memorable - except for a sentence on page 108 (paperback edition) which marked the way I read the rest of the book. As the blurb correctly points out, the setting is the Italian Riviera. So, I ask myself how an author (who ...more
Elizabeth
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
I admit to reading some of the advance reviews and thought this book would be right up my alley. However, I was disappointed. It was not a bad book. It just did not hold my interest. I found the characters to be unlikable and flawed, but interestingly. After all the 5 star reviews, I feel like I must have missed something, but cannot bring myself to consider re-reading it. The one character I really enjoyed was the Contessa. She reminded me of a 1940's film star. She had warmth and was the one c ...more
Elaine
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Part of the blurb on the back of my copy of The Invitation compared it to Victoria Hislop's novels, which is what tempted me to read it. While it was OK, it didn't grab me in the same way that Victoria's writing does.

I didn't warm to any of the characters and was irritated that the mystery of the ending of the journal was not resolved - or did I miss it? I can't be bothered going back to check.
...more
Annika
Jul 17, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Did not finish, could not care
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • One by One
  • The Bridal Party
  • Invisible Girl
  • The Searcher
  • The Chalet
  • Little White Secrets
  • One Moment
  • My One Month Marriage
  • The Other Bennet Sister
  • His & Hers
  • The Wedding Dress Maker
  • The Other You
  • Finding Henry Applebee
  • Beneath a Burning Sky
  • The Sun Sister (The Seven Sisters, #6)
  • Trysting
  • The Berwyn River Killings (DI Ruth Hunter #5)
See similar books…
5,300 followers
I live in London, but love traveling - both in real life and on the page (hence the appearance of some far flung locations in my writing).

My latest novel is The Invitation - set in the film world of the 1950s, along the Italian Riviera.

My debut novel, The Book of Lost & Found, published in early 2015.

You can find my Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/LucyFoleyAuthor

and follow me on Twi
...more

Related Articles

  Die-hard mystery fans are always on the hunt for their next supremely satisfying whodunit. To help you stock that Want to Read shelf, we asked...
114 likes · 37 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I think, in art, it is as noble a thing as to to try to make people happy, to help them escape, as it is to make them think. And perhaps more difficult.” 2 likes
“... nature, who knows nothing of convention, has the audacity of a genius.” 2 likes
More quotes…