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  • Mandy McHugh

The Guilt Trip, Sandie Jones: A Review

I've loved Jones' some of Jones' previous works, so when I saw this one was available on NetGalley, I was thrilled to be approved. After a string of heavy reads, I was looking for something a little lighter, and thought a wedding thriller was the perfect remedy.

No one is that thrilled to be traveling to Will and Ali's destination wedding in Portugal. Ali has a tendency to get on everyone's nerves, but the friends have been tight for years, so they band together, put their grievances aside, and try to enjoy the weekend. But as Jack confesses some lingering doubts about his brother's fiance, Rachel finds herself questioning everyone around her. Are her suspicions grounded? Is she seeing things that aren't there? Everyone has a secret, and the wedding is going to bring them all to light. I liked this book. To start with what I liked: Jones' writing is effortless and engaging. The voices were distinct, and her ability to move between characters made this a quick, well-paced read. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but you really don't need to in order to get lost in the weird relationship-angles happening here. There are plenty of twists, and because every character is unlikable, unreliable, or downright sketchy, there's a constant tension running through the discourse. Who can we believe? Who is telling the truth? Is *everyone* lying? The ambiguity and back and forth is wonderful. Without going into spoilers, however, I didn't care for some of the "big reveal" secrets, some of which realllly missed the mark for me. It could've been a plot point taken out of any late 90s rom com and seemed really out of place in a 2021 read. Not that there isn't merit to the character's motivations and feelings, but having that be "the secret" that is almost capable of ruining her wedding day just didn't sit right with me. This wasn't a homerun for me, but I think many readers will enjoy the twists, as there are plenty and the characters keep you guessing. Overall, The Guilt Trip is a slow-burn drama with an likable cast full of secrets and deception. Big thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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