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The Invitation

The Invitation - Lucy Foley Actual score 3.5

This is actually quite a good story. It is essentially a love story, but it also explores when love becomes obsessive control; the interplay of fate/chance and choice and how loss can continue to ricochet throughout our lives. The parallel stories of the other characters in the novel give the story a bit more depth, as does the almost supernatural story of the woman rescued at sea. I felt as if Stella/Estrella and the Contessa were essentially the same person, having traversed similar emotional challenges but just at different stages: Stella/Estrella was at the beginning, the Contessa having come out at the other end of it.

Just when you think you have the anti-hero figured out, Foley goes and makes him a bit more sympathetic. Similarly, when you have who is the hero settled, he behaves in some very un-heroic ways.

While the reader does get a happy ending, it isn't straightforward, and it affords the main character a bit more agency than her life with her husband would suggest she has. The glamorous locations, along with the supernatural tale from the Contessa's journal gives the story an almost fairytale appeal. Altogether a good story that easily held my interest to the end.