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, and the group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.
Three couples. 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.
Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for over twenty years, and has written for publications including the Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman is her debut novel.
Hooray! So good ! So good! So good! I felt like I ran 10K marathon. I can’t move my hands. I clasped my reader so tight and now my poor hands suffer from the worst kind of addicted reader’s cramp syndrome ( I don’t know if there is disease like that: I could be the one invented it so they may feel free name it after me!)My heart is pounding so fast! It pumps in my ears like the worst kind of mashup of techno- death metal rhythm.
Cancel your entire schedule! Call it sick! Cancel your husbands, your kids, your colleagues, your friends! This book earns your entire focus! Grab your finest bottle of wine, reserved your favorite couch at your home, just lay down, disconnect your phone, put your ear plugs, wear your most comfy PJs and jump into this beauty blind! Hundred percent enjoyment is guaranteed!
This book is smart, exciting, intriguing, stimulating, twisty fun! Think about 6 close people seem like know each other very well gathering around an exotic Portuguese villa to celebrate two of them’s wedding reception as they grit their teeth, clench their fists, barely restrain their boiling anger, fantasizing to cut throats of each other, keeping very dirty secrets which may change everything in their relationships and ruin their entire lives! Are you sold? You’d better be! Let’s make a quick look at the synopsis!
Ross and Rachel have been friends forever and they have never gotten a break! Okay! I tested you to make sure you’re still reading. I’m correcting: Noah and Rachel has been friends since their college time and everyone has thought they were destined for each other but as we see after 20 years later, they chose to marry with different people, had kids and interestingly Rachel became best friend of Noah’s wife Paige as Noah learned to tolerate Rachel’s husband Jack. So they’ve been seeing each other for years as long time family friends.
When Jack’s wanderer brother Will decides to tie the knot with dazzling, young, beautiful, daunting Allison ( Ali) : an old employee of Jack’s company, they find themselves at a gorgeous villa in Portuguese perched on a cliff-edge overlooking surfing beaches of Nazare!
Seems like they have time of their lives but they don’t! Sorry Rachel, you’re not the baby Francis and you’re doomed to put in a corner. Even though you’re performing last dance scene of Dirty Dancing with your husband, only dirty thing about your marriage might be bunch of terrifying secrets that ruin everything you’ve worked for!
Before they arrive the location, Rachel feels husband’s hostility around Ali and Ali acts so strange. When Jack comes clean he tells them Ali had an affair with one of his company’s coworkers, Rachel still feels like her husband didn’t tell the entire truth. He still rejects to warn his brother because he doesn’t want to risk their relationship.
Ali’s extra flirty manners around her husband force her rethink the situation. Could be the guy Ali’s cheating Will, her own husband?
But unfortunately Ali and Jack are not the only ones keep terrible secrets from them! Rachel has its own which can damage everything in their beautiful lives! But time is moving fast! The marriage ceremony is about to begin! Each of them is ticking bombs! Guess who is gonna blast first and create a massacre?
I was thinking to give four stars this book because I found some characters so much naive ( yes Rachel, you’re a saint but be a little wiser to gather the clues dancing in front of her eyes) and some of them are truly irritating. ( I’m not gonna give my names. No intention to ruin the surprises) But I liked the gripping, engaging story line, smart, complex development and rich, layered characterization.
The author skillfully wrapped up the conclusion and I liked the way how the karma worked for each character. Everyone got what they deserved.
So I’m rounding up 4.5 to 5 heart pounding, high tension, I think I will wear gloves from now on not to bite my nails anymore during whirlwind, extremely gripping readings stars! I think this is my favorite book of the author.
Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Minotaur Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
The Guilt Trip has a whopper of a soap opera packed into a destination wedding weekend. As the story starts, we meet Ali, a walking, talking, mess of unreliableness, acting wild and crazy when drunk (or pretending to be drunk), mega liar, blushing bride to be. She is marrying Will, brother of Jack. We see the story through Rachel, Jack's wife and staunch defender (for now) of all the ditzy-ness that makes up Ali. The story starts at the airport and I'm worn out even before the trio gets to the check in counter.
Once at the beautiful Portuguese villa I realize I don't want to hang around any of these people. Ali, Jack, and Rachel meet up with Will, and longtime friends, Noah and Paige. Rachel and Noah have a history back to their college days, Jack and Ali have history from work, and once the rumor mill gets going between the group, tensions and suspicions run wild and rampant. Infidelity is a main topic, with lots of almost evidence, lots of lies and misdirection, and nobody saying what needs to be said.
There is a bang up ending that left me pondering what really happened. I'm not up for these fancy smancy affairs (of any kind) so I mostly wanted for the party to be over. I'm glad these unlikeable people have each other (until they don't). Just who is lying and who is telling the truth?
Publication: August 3, 2021
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Rachel and Jack. Noah and Paige. These couples are about to attend Ali's and Will's wedding. However, the fireworks are already popping before they even leave the airport. Will these couples survive this wedding?
This book frustrated me in a variety of ways. It felt like it didn't have an identity. Is this book supposed to be a mystery/thriller, a romance, or a drama? As a mystery/thriller, the chapters were too long. Also, the book was extremely predictable. I had a good inkling of what was going on in the first couple of chapters. As a romance, this book fell completely flat. The Guilt Trip didn't really capture the nostalgia of an old love. Also, for all of the rumored activities, there was not a great amount of steam. It felt mostly on the PG side of things when this book should have had more The Hunting Wives flair. Finally, this book as a drama failed to deliver. The plot wasn't really moving along fast enough. The dialogue was where the book was really progressing and most of the book could have just been skipped. The Guilty Trip could have been much better as a short story.
Overall, this is a big pass for me.
*Thank you, NetGalley, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.
2023 Reading Schedule Jan Alice in Wonderland Feb Notes from a Small Island Mar Cloud Atlas Apr On the Road May The Color Purple Jun Bleak House Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary Aug Anna Karenina Sep The Secret History Oct Brave New World Nov A Confederacy of Dunces Dec The Count of Monte Cristo
You know how sometimes you can spend an entire day or longer preparing an elaborate meal (like the Thanksgiving feast for those of us in the States), and then you realize the actual eating of said meal takes under an hour?
Sandie Jones’s latest novel reminded me of that scenario in that it takes 90% of the book to prepare readers for a thrilling event that’s over and done with before you have a chance to savor it. The questions then are 1) if all the lead-up is enjoyable in itself, and 2) if the finished product made it all worth it.
In order to answer yes to the first, you really (and I mean REALLY) need to enjoy the type of backstabbing domestic drama where gossip is king and everyone is possibly/probably banging someone they shouldn’t be. A handful of couples go away together for a destination wedding weekend in Portugal, and as the story moves along you realize friendship and faithfulness are in very low supply.
I personally did find the final pages of the book to be quite compelling, but I’m also glad it wasn’t one page longer. While it wasn’t a total turkey, this melodrama was a bit overstuffed.
My thanks to Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio for the advance reader and listener copies, respectively. The audiobook has single-person narration performed by the very well cast Clare Corbett.
The first half of this novel definitely entertained me. Rachel was living the life: stay at home mom to Josh, beloved wife of Jack, and best friend to Noah and his wife, Paige. Maybe this was not the reaction the author was aiming for, but I had quite a few chuckles (and eye rolls) over Rachel's frequent tortured suspicions and "head in the sand" coping mechanisms. Rachel was not evil or conniving - she, like so many before her, chose the safer path in love and wanted to maintain the status quo, even if she had to delude herself Jack was indeed the faithful and loving husband she had "settled" for.
This is a thriller, so, of course, nothing is as it seems. I actually didn't blame Rachel for marrying Jack and having no faith in Noah's declarations of love, because, as she reminded him, Noah used to brag about his conquests to Rachel all the time. Who can blame her for mistrusting his feelings for her when he finally got up the nerve to confess them to her? This part of the plot reminded me so much of the British TV series Lovesick, which I thoroughly enjoyed because some of the characters and scenes in that series were HILARIOUS! Daniel Ings and Yasmine Akron had me rolling on the floor with laughter. So good!
But I digress! The second half of the novel needed a bit more tightening up, and I felt that the ending was a bit confusing. There was an item that helped reveal the murderer which shows up in the last scenes of this story. And I still can't figure out the "why" and relevance of it showing up like that. This was one of the weakest elements of this story. Why go to all that trouble to plant what was certainly only circumstantial evidence (and which might not ensure a conviction)? Why make it overly complicated like that? So many people were injured during that scene. It would have been better to just rouse one of the injured wedding guests and thereby produce an eye witness who shows up after all that drama at the hospital, and who remembers seeing the culprit make their last minute escape. That "planted evidence" was a bit lame, sorry.
And did I guess the twist? I don't see how anyone could NOT have seen that one coming, so I read on to see if I was right, and I was not disappointed. The epilogue did exasperate me somewhat, though, because even then the author was busy misdirecting our attention and pulling little "surprise" hat tricks on us. When I first started reading this ARC, I was anticipating rating this one a 4 out of 5 based on the first half of the story, but as I progressed through the last half of the book, I kept coming up with so many holes and errors in this narrative that I reduced my rating to a 3.4. (One serious error: one of the characters used to be morbidly obese, and yet once they shed the weight, they had a beautiful, toned body with no visible stretch marks? Also, certain shenanigans would be followed by abrupt changes of heart, then back to shenanigans again - make up your mind, will you?!)
As I said, the second half of the story needed serious editing. Still, that first half - and even bits of the second half, were well written, and were a great and entertaining read. One good thing from reading this one: I might search out the Lovesick TV series and give it another watch!
N.B.: The Portuguese dialogue/conversations at the destination wedding location were spot on! Well done!
My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Well I’m giving this one a 3* just because a 2* would mean I should have stopped reading it half way through!!!!
This is one of those books that I kept hoping would get better and the ending was surprising, however it wasn’t enough to save this book from the “wouldn’t recommend” pile.
As you know from the blurb, three couples are going to Portugal to attend the wedding of two of this group, Ali and Will. Paige and Noah are married, as are Jack and Rachel, but things aren't always the way we think in a marriage, are they? Will is Jack’s younger brother and crazy in love with Ali.
The book promised “a gripping domestic suspense” but I found nothing special or new in this novel. The only suspense I really felt was when the men were out surfing and things didn't go as planned!
Most of the first half of the book is filled with Rachel’s inner thoughts and suspicions, her dialogue with the others and basically how unhappy these couples are in their marriage. It was tedious.
The marriage took place at a very picturesque spot. I did enjoy the descriptions of the cliff side restaurant and venue and the crashing of the waves off the ocean.
The characters were not relatable and mostly unlikable.
I have to add that I always expect that a novel should be well written. The author had a propensity for writing things such as “Erm...erm yes, yes they did” and “Er, no, I was intending to” , his constant use of these terms drove me batty.
There are other high reviews out there so I’m probably in the minority. If you have this one, go in blind and see what you think!!
This novel is set to publish on 8/17/21
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Three couples. A trip to Portugal for a destination wedding. A gorgeous villa overlooking a scenic and violent ocean. Everything will go smoothly like they always do in this scenario...right?
Rachel and Jack, and their friends Noah and Paige, are not looking forward to the wedding of Jack’s brother, Will, and his future wife, Ali. For one thing, none of them see to really care for Ali...and can’t understand what Will sees in her.
As events lead up to the big day, tension fills the air as Rachel thinks Jack is acting a bit funny, Noah brings up his own history with Rachel, and Ali seems to rub everyone the wrong way and put them on edge.
Revelations come to light that will test everyone’s patience, friendships, and relationships. Not everyone will return to their everyday lives unscathed.
This is more of a domestic drama with a touch of suspense than a thriller. I knew that going in, but it might help others to set expectations.
While I really enjoy Sandy Jones’s writing, The Guilt Trip feels longer than it needs to be as the first half is mostly Rachel and Paige talking back and forth about Ali and the other characters. It’s repetitive and gets old quickly. However, I was engaged enough to want to know what was going to happen, and flew through the book.
While there is absolutely nothing new that blew my mind, I quite enjoyed the direction it went in towards the end that showed another side to some of the characters and their motivations...revelations that would’ve come to light much sooner if everyone took a step back from jumping to conclusions. You know what they say when you assume...
The ending itself lost me as it went into confusing OTT territory that didn’t sync well, finishing with a “twist” that had a significance I didn’t really understand.
Overall, it’s a decent read that has its moments, but surely not one that will stay with me for very long.
Thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: 8/3/21.
Three couples have gathered at a cliff- side villa in Portugal for a wedding.
29 year old Ali is marrying Will, who is the brother of her former boss, Jack. Jack is married to Rachel, and she is best friends with Paige who is married to Noah, who was Rachel’s best friend growing up.
Got all that?
The first part of the book focuses on conversations, mostly between Rachel and Paige, who at 42 years old, with grown children, are feeling a bit insecure about if “they have still got it” in comparison to the gorgeous bride-to -be.
The second part of the book is a series of incriminations which resulted from those conversations and were often based on gossip and misunderstandings.
DROP THE 🎤
Once, Rachel grabs the microphone from the wedding’s DJ, the revelations come fast! Yet, it felt like it took a long time to get to this point...
This book was very reminiscent of another for me, and I cannot say that I found much to be surprising. But, I do read a lot of SUSPENSE.
Sandie Jones does know how to hook you from the start, so if you are a fan of the author, OR new to the genre, you may find it more entertaining than I did.
It was just average for me. 3⭐️
Thank You to Minotaur for my gifted copy. It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!
Rachel, Jack, Noah and Paige are a tight friendship foursome with a lot of history. It started with Rachel and Noah, who have been best friends since college.
There was even a brief time when they considered being more than friends, although they've kept that a secret.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Twenty-years later, Rachel is happily married to Jack, while Noah is married to Paige.
When Jack's little brother, Will, decides on a destination wedding with his young, sexy, flamboyant fiance, Ali, the foursome, with Ali in tow, travel to the beautiful country of Portugal for the event. They figure if nothing else, it'll be a nice little couples retreat for them.
Unfortunately, it never takes long for drama to arise when Ali is around. It seems to follow her everywhere, and as predicted by the friends, is created before they've even left the airport.
Ali's exuberant, over-the-top nature gets under everyone's skin. There's never a break with her. It's always something.
Rachel is unnerved to observe that Ali seems to be paying special attention to her husband. While Jack doesn't appear to be recipricating her advances, Rachel still begins to wonder, what exactly is going on there?
As they settle into their cliffside villa, things continuously worsen. Ali flaunting herself around is making everyone uncomfortable, especially now that Jack has revealed to the friends something he heard about her from a work colleague.
Is this even a woman he wants his baby brother to marry?
But Ali isn't the only one with secrets. Everyone has something to hide and as suspicions begin to creep across the group of friends, all is threatened to be revealed.
This was a compelling story. I definitely had fun reading it; particularly the first half. I'm all for excessive domestic drama. I love long-buried secrets, deceptions, betrayals; it's addicting. The setting was great and I loved the whole destination wedding scenerio.
I was hooked. Nevertheless, there were some finer details that didn't sit quite right with me. It's a good story, but not perfectly suited to my tastes.
Don't get me wrong, I liked it. I'm not mad I read it. It was interesting, it was shocking, wild and not a bad way to spend a weekend!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.
I think if you love quick, domestic suspense stories, you should definitely give this one a shot!
"The Guilt Trip" by Sandie Jones is more Domestic Suspense than Domestic Thriller.
Six friends travel to a destination wedding in Portugal at a gorgeous cliff-side villa overlooking the powerful waves of the sea below. What a beautiful setting for Will and Ali's upcoming nuptials!
Six friends. Will's brother, Jack is married to Rachel who is best friends with Paige. Paige is married to Noah who has been friends with Rachel since university. Ali recently worked with Jack who was also her boss! Phew!
Friends and family. Husbands and wives. Speculation and secrets. Truth and lies. Six friends. But, is anyone really who they seem to be?
These six characters are an interesting mixture but as the story progresses, I find there are few I truly like. The story felt long and repetitious getting to the heart of the story. Once there, I felt a bit letdown.
My preference is almost always an audiobook and because of the narrator, this one did not disappoint. Narrator, Clare Corbett does an outstanding job of making this story come to life for the reader. Her voicing is gender appropriate and voice inflections spot on.
I wanted to love this story and although I enjoyed it, liked it, I was not 'wowed' by it.
3.5 rounded down.
Thank you to NetGalley, Macmillan Audio and Sandie Jones for an ALC of this book. It has been my pleasure to give my honest and voluntary review.
This audiobook has a great narration and a beautiful setting. Three couples head to Portugal staying at a magnificent cliffside villa for Ali and Will's destination wedding. All is good until secrets start dripping little by little. There's a lot of drama. Who would you believe?
I consider this a mild thriller with a slow start then picks up towards the end. I can't say I'm invested in these characters. I think what happened near the ending could've occurred sooner for more tension. Overall, I enjoyed this getaway and it was a quick listen.
Thank you Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for this ARC.
I have read previous books by Sandie Jones and really enjoyed them so I was excited to read this one. I had high hopes going in however, this book fell short for me. It was an okay read but not great. I didn’t care much for any of the characters, the writing was slow at certain points, and the ending was very predictable. There was a lot of drama and not very much suspense involved. It wasn’t quite what I expected or was hoping for.
Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
You never know who is lying, who is telling the truth, and who is doing some of both. This is a book filled with some very terrible people doing awful things to each other. I can honestly say that through most of my reading of this book I didn't like any of the characters, because they are all hiding things from each other--some of the things they are hiding are definitely worse than others. I really hope that my spouse and friends are not this disingenuous!
This is the story of married couple Rachel and Jack, their best friends Noah and Paige, and Jack's brother Will, who is getting married to Ali at a destination wedding in Portugal. They arrive at their villa and with copious amounts of alcohol and innuendo and backhanded accusations, everyone begins to be suspicious of everyone else (except of course, at times, they are not suspicious of who they should be).
I did like the ultimate conclusion of this eye-popping trip of a book, but getting there took a large amount of tolerance. I am not a fan of infidelity storylines, but honestly you don't know the real story until the end of who exactly is cheating, so it's not like it is blatant throughout, just a lot of suspicion. The ending is far-fetched to be sure, but it did entertain me and I liked it. I had a difficult time reconciling the people from the beginning of the book (and the way they had been for TWENTY YEARS) with the way they were in the end, to have the house of cards so easily toppled took a bit of suspension of disbelief.
I listened to part of this as an audiobook and part I read the print copy. The narrator did a wonderful job conveying the drama and the over-the-top antics of the characters. Overall, this is a soapy summer thriller that will be sure to entertain those looking for a wild trip.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
3.5 stars. This is a gripping read that I couldn’t wait to dive back into every time I had to put it down. I was very invested in seeing where the characters ended up.
Three couples arrive at a villa in Portugal for the wedding of Ali and Will. Rachel and Noah have been friends since their university days. Fast forward twenty years and Rachel is married to Jack. Noah is married to Paige, Rachel’s BFF. And Jack’s brother, Will is marrying the beautiful, but exhausting Ali.
The group, with the exception of Will, collectively agree that Ali embellishes the truth a lot and is a major attention-seeker. As the wedding looms closer tensions arise between all the couples and everyone suspects it’s all the fault of one person.
Like I mentioned above, I was really invested in how this story would play out. I correctly guessed some of the major plot points fairly early on, but was still compelled to keep reading. The climax of the story was a bit too dramatic (and gory) for my liking, but overall I did enjoy reading this one.
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the arc in exchange for my honest opinions.
DNF. I really enjoyed the author's debut, THE OTHER WOMAN, but I feel like this book wasn't even written by the same person? If you're looking for the type of repetitive drama that boils down to who is sleeping with whom, definitely give this one a go.
3.5 ⭐️ rounded up! This is your average domestic thriller and although there’s nothing super unique or extra special about it, there’s something about drama at a wedding that I can’t get enough of! (Not from personal experience must I add!! 🤣) If you’re looking for a whodunnit thriller, this probably won’t be what you’re searching for, but it did have some fun twists here and there. A lot of the book is conversation without much happening and some flashbacks here and there throughout. But you kind of have to invest yourself in the relationships and drama to enjoy the ride. Rachel, the main character, was super naive and pretty much believed everything everyone told her. I didn’t like that she didn’t have many opinions for herself. I wish she had been a bit of a stronger character! The ending was super rushed and I questioned a few times if I really knew what even happened. There were some questions I felt went a bit unanswered by the end. Had the ending (for lack of a better word) began a bit sooner in the book and explained more I think it would have been more clear cut to the reader. Easy read and captivating, but nothing that will make you jump out of your seat or tell all your friends about.
"A single lie discovered is enough to create doubt in every truth expressed." - taken form Wisdomlifequotes.com
Three couples arrive to a picturesque villa perched on a cliff in Portugal. The six include: Rachel and Noah longtime best friends married to Jack and Paige. They are there to attend the wedding of Jack's brother, Will and his bubbly finance, Ali.
Sounds like a lovely time. A destination wedding in a beautiful setting. Sounds like bliss. Love is in the air but so is suspicion. Paige instantly has an aversion to Ali. She finds her to overbearing, childish and attention seeking. Rachel initially was happy to get to know her future sister-in-law, but she can't get past Ali's strange behaviors and comments. Jack has a work history with Ali that is troubling to Rachel. Plus, Jack appears to have it in for Noah and when he is not being testy with Noah, he is acting suspiciously. Fun in the sun, this trip is NOT. It's more like a nightmare! Did I mention secrets????? This book is packed full of them. Secrets and suspicion go hand in hand in this book.
There is drama, there is arguing, there are secret discussions, there is a whole lot of suspicion. I will admit that I enjoyed all of this. I loved sitting in my reading chair watching/reading as these characters fumbled all over themselves and jumped to conclusion after conclusion. It was like a nighttime soap opera. It got a little juicy, it got a little ridiculous, then it got a little too over the top for me. I was at 4 stars going into the end of the book. Then I thought “Seriously?" I was expecting some craziness to go down, but I wasn't expecting THAT kind of craziness and then the epilogue had me thinking "huh?". I don't feel that was necessary except to further throw readers off. If that is the case, then kudos because you threw me off.
For me an enjoyable book. I enjoyed it but the ending and epilogue took it down a star for me. Still enjoyable and I will certainly be reading more of her books in the future.
Full of secrets, suspicion and drama.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was a fun domestic thriller made even more enjoyable by great narration of the audiobook by Claire Corbet. I read this partly in ARC form and also listened to the audiobook in my car and while doing chores and both forms of the book were great.
Marketed as a "domestic thriller," this book is less a murder mystery and more a "who slept with whom" kind of domestic story. I am usually not a fan of these, but this was very well executed with a sense of impending doom and enough clues and juicy tidbits to lead the reader in the right direction, even as some of the characters are clueless.
Our heroine Rachel is quite obviously in love with her male best friend Noah. For reasons of circumstance, Rachel has however ended up married to some other guy named Jack, and Noah has ended up married to Rachel's now-best friend, Paige. The two couples are headed to a destination wedding at a villa in Italy, where Jack's brother Will is going to marry the seemingly very annoying Ali.
Now, this book is not perfect. One thing that was frustrating was how totally clueless Rachel was to everything that was happening right under her nose. This was clearly by design, as from the beginning there are clear signs that Rachel's husband may or may not be a cad and up to no good (this theme is present almost from the first page, so not a spoiler). But Rachel is constantly making excuses for him! This can get frustrating, but if you've ever had a friend like this in real life or been like this yourself (guilty) you know that it's also realistic. There's no murder or mayhem in the beginning of the book - most of the intrigue comes from whether Rachel's husband is having an affair and whether she will actually wise up and/or catch him. If this isn't your thing, you may be bored, although I hasten to say, this is not usually my thing and I was riveted, partly due to Sandie Jones' writing (I enjoyed her previous book very much as well) and partly due to the great narration. You could get a sense that this was all coming to a head in a bad way, and ultimately it does, delivering on some crazy conflict and mayhem at least right at the wedding itself.
One thing I really liked about this book, without spoiling, is how one of the main characters turns out to be not at all like you thought. The story nicely shows how peoples' preconceived notions of others play a role in what they notice in their own lives. People who automatically hate someone for the wrong reasons might miss problems in their own lives that are right in front of their noses, and might also miss out on a good person underneath some superficial flaws. I won't say who, but I really liked the development of this particular character and think you will too.
I'd categorize this more as romantic suspense, definitely not a noir or thriller, so if you like a domestic intrigue book, this is a very fun one, especially on audiobook. I wouldn't come to this one looking for a murder mystery primarily. But I was very entertained and loved the audio narration. I'll definitely read Sandie Jones' next book ASAP, and even if I wanted to slap her main character once in awhile, I was happy with the resolution of the book and the story and enjoyed the characters, including Rachel. This book is a suspenseful page-turner for sure -- or a great audio binge you'll be sure to finish quickly!
Many thanks to Macmillan Audio, NetGalley and the author for the advanced audio copy!
I don’t handle drama well. And Ali, the bride of The Guilt Trip, is a drama queen. From the first few pages, she was under my skin. I truly felt for the others, who are all friends of the groom and responsible adults. “There’s only thirteen years between her and Ali, but it may as well be thirty for the way she makes her feel.” It’s a fun premise. A destination wedding provides an excuse for three couples to stay in a villa in Portugal. It’s a beautiful setting and should be relaxing, but things are tense from the get go. The story is told from the perspective of Rachel. I’ve always found couple dynamics interesting, especially here. Rachel and Noah were best friends in college but went on to marry others. Here, we get to see the strengths, the insecurities of each of the six. Who gets along with whom and exactly how well. The story mixes the present day with lots of memories and flashbacks. The book centers on jealousy and pining over the one that got away. It seems everyone is jealous of somebody else. Lots of alcohol, lots of recriminations. To be honest, it got old after a while. It also quickly becomes a question of who to believe. I thought several of the twists were fairly obvious, but I didn’t see the ending coming. That said, to me, it wasn’t a particularly satisfying ending. It seemed overly contrived. I have a hit and miss relationship with Jones’s books. This one was more of a miss. My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
It’s a pet peeve of mine when female authors write really dumb protagonists. That might sound harsh, but I am not asking for likable characters, just ones who aren't totally oblivious. I had high hopes for The Guilt Trip, because I liked the author’s previous book, The Other Woman. Unfortunately, it was not what I had hoped. The plot felt predictably recycled and the characters like caricatures. Rachel in particular annoyed me with her blindness to what appeared obvious to me as the reader. It's got a very soapy quality, which can be fun at times yet didn't really work here. I'm sorry to write a negative review, but if you decide to read it, I hope you have a more enjoyable reading experience than I did.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this copy of The Guilt Trip in exchange for an honest review.
**Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Sandie Jones for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 8.3!**
We can't go on together With suspicious minds ...So if an old friend I know Stops by to say hello Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?
Suspicion is the tie that binds in The Guilt Trip, as six "friends" embark on a journey to Portugal where they will celebrate the wedding of Will and ultra flighty, dramatic, and over-the-top bombshell Ali. The other four players are Will's brother Jack and his wife Rachel, and their couple friends Noah and Paige. Of course, Noah and Rachel have a wistful romantic past they both cling to since they nearly ended up married...but that's all ancient history, naturally. What they all have in common is a disdain for Ali and more secrets than you can shake a stick at. Though the novel is written in the third person, our 'narrator' feels like Rachel, who begins to fixate on Ali and begins to suspect there is more up her non-existent sleeves (since she's always in a skimpy outfit) than meets the eye...and that the truth might hit a little too close to home. Will this wedding of the century even come to pass without tragedy striking? Do ANY of these couples even stand a fleeting chance at a happily ever after...and after the dust settles, who exactly will be around to board a return flight?
This was my first Sandie Jones, and after plodding through this book I feel I have a fairly good sense of what she has to offer as an author and what tropes she prefers---"I'm going to steal your husband, are my friends REALLY who they seem,"etc., and unfortunately, I just didn't love her execution of these familiar themes. None of these characters were particularly likable, so I really didn't care who ended up with who or what the consequences of their decisions were. Rachel's constant fretting was also a bit overstated--she was almost ALWAYS on the verge of collapse anytime she considered her husband's potential philandering. Jones made these fits feel so dramatic, I kept worrying she was going to have a heart attack every couple of chapters! I'm not really sure why her baseline needed to be a state of panic, but it got old quick.
If you're on the edge of your seat waiting for the thriller aspect of this book to kick in, I'd sit back and put your feet up for a while---it takes till about 70% for things to get going in this regard and takes even longer for the 'twists' to be revealed. By this point, I was just ready to find out what was going on in order to move on, but the epilogue was a bit confusing and I'm not really sure it was necessary, other than to make things seem a bit more layered and complex than they actually were. With little to no buy-in for any of these characters, I'm also not sure it mattered whether they got a happy ending or not...or honestly, whether any of them deserved it!
This is a dramatic and soapy read, much like an episode of Maury or Jerry Springer crossed with a destination wedding show---a combination I'm not sure any of us were missing. I sincerely hope I have better luck with Jones' back catalog, but I don't foresee this one sticking with me for long!
A huge destination wedding is being held for Will and Ali. Rachel and Jack will be there as well as Paige and Noah. Rachel and Noah have been best friends since high school. They may have even had a secret love child! Ali has a secret too! She didn’t want to reveal it at her wedding, but it happens anyway. The events that happen after the wedding are completely inconceivable and will leave the reader in total shock.
It’s always a 50-50 for me with Reese‘s book club selections. Some are amazing books that promote lots of emotions from the reader. Others are just weird. This one fell in the middle for me. The first 3/4 of the book are a drama fest full of ‘who’s cheating on who and with whom’. But the last part is deliciously exciting. Loads of plot twist in those last few pages that make the drama in the beginning worth it. I give this a 3 1/2 stars, rounded up just for that epic twist of an ending!
Four close friends are off to Portugal for the luxurious wedding of Will and Ali. Will is madly in love with gorgeous Ali but everyone else are not very accepting of her. There are so many dirty little secrets and harmful lies among this group that could have major, disastrous life changing effects and it becomes a time bomb just waiting to go off and unbeknownst to Ali she may be the one to light the fuse. Six seemingly happy people out to celebrate a new life beginning unfortunately when the bomb went off only five will make it home alive.
What a wonderful book to escape from reality. Sandie Jones wrote such an enjoyable and entertaining story that I just couldn't stop turning the pages fast enough! It was a clever psychological mystery that took me into the minds of all the couples with their suspicions, harsh judgements, loyalties threatened and some outright paranoia playing in there. Deliciously devious and tantalizing, I just couldn't get enough even though all the characters were driving me crazy and a few were not very likeable. The story played out completely different than I expected by the end of the book. Many red herrings and fun twists. I recommend this book to any reader who enjoys an unrealistic but extremely enjoyable domestic/thriller. I am looking forward to reading man more of Sandie Jones books.
I want to thank the publisher "St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel and any thoughts and opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!
I have given this captivating mystery a rating of 4 DELICIOUSLY TWISTED 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Stars!!
There she goes again. Sandie Jones is flipping some classic tropes upside down in this destination wedding thriller. Three couples are staying in a luxury villa in Portugal. We have Rachel and Jack, Paige and Noah, and Ali and Will--the bride and groom. The action comes to us from Rachel's third person point of view. This is full of he said, she said dilemmas. There are past relationship complications and threats of exposure. But, for what? Who will blow the lid off this powder keg and when? I was on the edge of my seat. My favorite Sandie Jones since The Other Woman.
I know many of my dear Goodreads friends do not see what I do in this book. Still my favorite from Sandie Jones, even after reading her latest release: The Blame Game.
I wouldn’t classify The Guilt Trip as a thriller. I felt it was more of a soapy drama with a splash of thrills. You need a score card to keep up with all of the lies and deceptions. Initially I didn’t like any of the characters, but grew to really like a couple by the end. This is a quick, easy read that kept me interested and entertained. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my copy.
Make no mistake, TRUST & LOVE are the bonding glue to a healthy relationship. Breaking that trust can often lead to a person's change that can sometimes be irretrievable. Sadly, some good people are betrayed but knowing which ones are good can be a deceptive facade. They also say FIRST IMPRESSIONS are said to bind your beliefs about someone, but it can also lead you to misjudge a character. This book draws you into these 3 important perceptions.
As family and friends gather for a weekend together in a Portugal Villa for Ali & Will's wedding...tensions rise. Even the most complex bonds within them are tested over some of life's most challenging moments. What should have been a celebration of a new family member for Rachel and Will's brother, Jack, Ali's lively personality irritates the guests. Rachel's best friend throughout her childhood is Noah and his wife Paige.... her go-to-girl and confidante. They draw conclusions about Ali and become fixated on her flaws. Then Jack delivers some scandalous info about an apparent affair she is having, which would crush his brother if he knew. This circle of friends become engaged in so many situations...some are rather hot and steamy scenes.
One of Ashley McBryde's lyrics comes to mind..."thing is, we all got secrets".... This could not be more true. While fingers are pointing to Ali, some are pointing back at themselves.
A perfect title "The Guilt Trip". A well-written, exhilarating book that scored for me. Thank you St. Martin's Press & NetGalley for this outstanding ARC in exchange for my honest review.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones is a suspense novel that also reads a bit like a family drama, or in this case a “friend”ly drama. I say this as the story is a group of friends on a destination wedding trip that brings a whole lot of drama having this group together but it does get suspenseful along the way too.
Married couples Rachel and Jack and Paige and Noah have been invited to attend the wedding of Will and Ali. These two couples have been longtime friends with Jack being Will’s brother so of course they all accept the invitation. The couples do know Ali too as she used to work for Jack although she has now moved on. Everyone really considers Ali a hot mess though but only want Will to be happy and Ali seems to be the one that does make him happy. After arriving in their villa in Portugal though Rachel begins to discover secrets that have her questioning not only Ali but her husband, Jack, as well.
First, I will mention that I have read all of this author’s books over the last several years and have always enjoyed her writing so it boggled my own mind I only gave this three stars. I did find the same engaging writing that I always do and I didn’t want to put this one down until I found out everything that happened as usual. However, when I got to the end of this one I ended up reading the ending twice and found that it was rather vague to me and I was left feeling disappointed overall.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Been a while since I read it, and I had to think hard to remember the plot. I remembered it after a while, but having such a hard time remembering the details, I know it didn’t leave a great impression. I thought it was interesting enough to finish it, though.
3.45 Stars, rounded 👇... A destination wedding that goes incredibly wrong... have I read this before??? Comprised of a cast of insanely unlikeable characters, this was very soap opera-esque, to the point where I rolled my eyes constantly throughout. I could not understand why our protagonist was dead set on the possibility her husband was cheating, there wasn't much logic behind her paranoia so it seemed to come from a subconscious place, regardless, her constant questioning of his every movement all throughout kind of wore me out! The mystery part of this novel was most definitely an afterthought, as it didn't come until the last few pages. I will say that ending was sudden, and seemingly came out of nowhere...bickering, bickering, bickering and then sudden action! That being said, I'm still scratching my head as to who that epilogue chapter was from?! Thoughts, anyone? If you have a great hatred of infidelity, this might not perhaps be the book for you, because that was what the entire thing was about essentially, and that's not spoiling anything!! Jones seems to really be a lot like B.A. Paris, in that she's incredibly hit or miss, meaning you never know what to expect from her. Again, this was not horrible by any means, it just wasn't very original, and I felt like I had read this story many times before, so I'd say it was 'okay,' which isn't necessarily bad, or good! Anyway, moving onward!
Sandy beaches + Sandie Jones = A perfect summer experience!
Yes, I was seeking a perfect summer experience when I eagerly and enthusiastically requested THE GUILT TRIP, Sandie Jones' newest release. Sandie Jones is an author who rarely disappoints.
THE GUILT TRIP is about three couples who travel to a cliff-top villa in Portugal for a destination wedding. All travel together as friends, all leave as suspects.
The book was slow, tedious, and repetitive; lacking that "thriller" element that was promised. The character development of all of the six MCs was shallow.
Perhaps having so many MCs was the problem. With six MCs, it was very difficult to keep them (and all of their infidelities!) straight. I felt like the audiobook should have been accompanied by a PDF scorecard.
Also, there have been many, many "6 friends go away, not everyone returns" books and, therefore, it was hard to view this book as "fresh content."
I listened to the audiobook, read by Claire Corbet. Although Claire Corbet is a talented narrator, she shrieked very loudly when she was reading the lines of one of the MCs. When hearing those loud shrieks, I had to remove my headphones to avoid getting a headache.
I feel guilty about not liking THE GUILT TRIP. I have always been a HUGE Sandie Jones fan and I wanted to give her a 5-star review. Maybe next time.
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.