Not my usual read, but to be honest, I was suckered in by that cover. Isn't it gorgeous? The fact it was so universally lauded matters not one jot to me. I'm usually an indie girl, but that cover... So, here we go.
This was a largely entertaining murder mystery about an exclusive club for the super-wealthy, run by Ned and his useless brother, Adam, but really, it is about three women.
Nikki, Jess and Annie all have their roles to play at The Club, centering around Island Home, the latest and most expensive Club hotel, as arrangements take place for its opening weekend. Each woman has her own agenda which, as the book progresses, is gradually revealed. To be honest, you don't really get to know more about them than their motives, which is a shame.
Lloyd’s descriptions of the Home Clubs and their high-rolling members are exhaustive, but seem horribly plausible. You can’t feel a lot of empathy for any of the characters involved, and there are a LOT. Spoiled princesses and demanding celebrities believe they are entitled to anything they ask for, and Ned’s minions are eager to oblige.
It was fun watching this car crash happening in slow motion. The beginning gives a hint of what is to come over the course of a hedonistic celebratory weekend. Ned’s nefarious motives, aided and abetted by Adam, his weak-willed brother, and powerhouse Annie, who is in charge of wooing members to part with a lot of money, are teased out in a storm of booze, coke and unreasonable demands.
No spoilers, but if you have no time for all the celebrity nonsense bombarding us right now, you’ll feel a ‘sorry not sorry,’ sense of satisfaction by the end.
Nikki, Jess and Annie are great characters, but under-used. There are strong echoes of the Me Too movement and some thinly disguised celebrities, past and present but it all feels a little shallow. Maybe that's the whole point though.
The writing is at times brilliant, and at times on the verge of affectation. The ‘duh duh DUUUUUH!’ End to each chapter seemed forced on occasions, and one sentence near the beginning of the book was so long, it filled my e-reader even though the font was on 5. For example...
been whistle-stop, conducted by a recently arrived, crumpled and quite put-out-seeming Adam Groom, the golf buggy barely stopping as they looped its woodchip paths, rattling here and there across little wooden bridges over streams and gullies, squeezing half off the track into the bushes or onto grass whenever they encountered a buggy coming in the opposite direction; Adam pointing out through the trees as they hurried by the outdoor pool, the yoga pavilion, the breakfast barn, the lake, the concrete track down to the water sports centre (not yet quite finished, not that anyone was likely to want to go paddleboarding this late in October, even if the sun was shining), the turn for Ned’s own personal residence on the island (the road up to it was clearly marked private), the big jetty where all the island’s supplies were unloaded, the staff canteen, their accommodation (a long two-storey brick building with tiny windows, adjacent to a generator) – which was where he had dropped her off, so that she could check out her
There was also a tendency to list things, eg:
Given the size of her team. Given what was being asked of them. Given how long it would take two people to turn one of those huge cabins around.
It happened so often, I nearly DNF’d the book after the first 20% but I’m glad I stuck with it. It definitely improved, even though it hasn’t been my favourite read this year so far. It's a great insight into a celebrity life we don’t usually see. And boy is it ugly. True to life? Who knows? It felt authentic, if a little muddled at times.
This would have been a great story without the affectations and quirks. Some may like them, but I found them annoying after a while. The cover is exquisite though.
*** A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and an instant New York Times bestseller *** 'One of the most riveting books I've read in a long time' - Louise Candlish, author of Our House 'Smart, topical and immensely entertaining' - T.M. Logan, author of The Holiday 'Marple meets Succession' – Sunday Times Style 'Glitzy and twisty and tons of fun' – Observer For fans of The White Lotus and Big Little Lies, Ellery Lloyd's The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything - or nothing - to lose are pushed to their imit. There’s no place like Home . . . The Home Group is a collection of ultra-exclusive private members' clubs and a global phenomenon, and the opening of its most ambitious project yet – Island Home, a forgotten island transformed into the height of luxury – is billed as the celebrity event of the decade. But as the first guests arrive, the weekend soon proves deadly – because it turns out that even the most beautiful people can keep the ugliest secrets and, in a world where reputation is everything, they'll do anything to keep it. If your name's on the list, you're not getting out . . .