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The Invitation

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Thirteen guests. One killer. No escape. On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry. By the next evening only twelve are still alive. Amongst them is a killer – but who? As a storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, Thirteen guests. One killer. No escape. On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry. By the next evening only twelve are still alive. Amongst them is a killer – but who? As a storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, nerves fray and friendships begin to fracture. But with no escape and no way of calling for help it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again. And when everyone is keeping secrets, anybody could be the next victim… Perfect for fans of Lucy Foley’s The Guest List and Agatha Christie.


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Thirteen guests. One killer. No escape. On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry. By the next evening only twelve are still alive. Amongst them is a killer – but who? As a storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, Thirteen guests. One killer. No escape. On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry. By the next evening only twelve are still alive. Amongst them is a killer – but who? As a storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, nerves fray and friendships begin to fracture. But with no escape and no way of calling for help it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again. And when everyone is keeping secrets, anybody could be the next victim… Perfect for fans of Lucy Foley’s The Guest List and Agatha Christie.

30 review for The Invitation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry. By the next evening only twelve are alive. Amongst them is a killer - but who? A storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, nerves are fray and friendships begin to fracture. There's no escape and no way of calling for help. This whodunit remined me of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were Non On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry. By the next evening only twelve are alive. Amongst them is a killer - but who? A storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, nerves are fray and friendships begin to fracture. There's no escape and no way of calling for help. This whodunit remined me of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. I like trying to work out a whodunit, it makes it more of an interesting read. All the characters have secrets to hide and each of the chapters is told from a different character. I like the authors writing style. This book will keep you guessing to the end. This is the first book that i've read by the author but it certainly won't be the last. i would like to thank #NetGalley, #HQ and the author #AMCastle for my ARC of #TheInvitation in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I love discovering new authors and I am a particular fan of the “whodunnit?” stories. Here, Castle really sets the atmosphere with thirteen guests reuniting for Halloween on a remote island, blocked in by terrible weather. The narrative is a bit confusing to follow at first because of the number of characters we follow. Castle switches perspective at every chapter and it took me a while to remember the different identities and connections. As a result, it did take me a bit of time to get into the I love discovering new authors and I am a particular fan of the “whodunnit?” stories. Here, Castle really sets the atmosphere with thirteen guests reuniting for Halloween on a remote island, blocked in by terrible weather. The narrative is a bit confusing to follow at first because of the number of characters we follow. Castle switches perspective at every chapter and it took me a while to remember the different identities and connections. As a result, it did take me a bit of time to get into the plot, but I was seen desperate to see how events would follow. Opening with the murder, the first half of the book details events leading up to this fateful night. It is only a mere day before this even takes place, but it feels longer! I think this is because we are switching between the different characters so you really get a sense of learning a lot about them and their motivations. With the thirteen guests there are obvious winners and losers: the characters you want to support and the ones you enjoy disliking. However, despite the broad range of characters, all seem to have a motive behind the murder. I really could not fathom who might be to blame and this was especially intensified because Castle demonstrates that all the characters have hidden secrets from their friends and even spouses. The setting really adds to the drama of the story. Set on a rocky island off the coast of Cornwall sounds idyllic. However, it is remote and, during October/November, the weather can be pretty poor. Yet, it seems like Rachel’s guests are really in for a rocky ride as a horrific storm is due to hit the island. Castle’s descriptions of the island and sea are as powerful as the tides themselves. It emphasised the atmosphere of the story and how really, all of the characters are like an island themselves: metaphorically distanced from each other because of the secrets they hide. I really enjoyed the build-up to this story but found the last quarter a bit of a drag. I thought the plot went “off the boil” and lost the momentum that Castle had established in the narrative. The characters tend to stay together in one room – for comfort and support – and, whilst the narrative still moves between people, I thought it really slowed down and not much happened. I, like the characters, was waiting for rescue from this island – and some answers too. Furthermore, there was one revelation towards the end of the story that I could not grasp. It pushed my reason of believability too far and I think this ruined by enjoyment of the story a bit more. Every character has some sort of connection and hidden secret with the host, Rachel, but I think one of the disclosures felt too fanciful and didn’t fit with my understanding of the narrative. Overall, this is a good murder mystery story. The characters and setting add to the intensity of the drama that unfolds. I really liked the writer’s style and I am excited to have discovered a new author! For me, the slowing pace and incredible revelation caused me to only award this a 4-star rating, for an otherwise really enjoyable story. With thanks to HQ Digital and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 3.5/5 stars. Tregowan Castle is the cold and forbidding yet vast and regal home of an old and wealthy family. Their newest member, Rachel, marries into it and brings with it her increased wealthy status, as well as her old university friends and their new families. Thirteen individuals, from all walks of life, will spend an unforgettable Halloween weekend cut off from the rest of civilisation on this island castle, with some of their number never making it off of there alive. Siniste Actual rating 3.5/5 stars. Tregowan Castle is the cold and forbidding yet vast and regal home of an old and wealthy family. Their newest member, Rachel, marries into it and brings with it her increased wealthy status, as well as her old university friends and their new families. Thirteen individuals, from all walks of life, will spend an unforgettable Halloween weekend cut off from the rest of civilisation on this island castle, with some of their number never making it off of there alive. Sinister and isolated settings are my favourite to read about, in thriller fiction. The atmosphere of this ancient abode set the desired mood and tone of the book, very early on in the proceedings. From the moment the cast arrived, shadowy corners, medieval torture weapons, sudden chilly breezes, and reminders of the setting's bloody history were there to greet them. These all combined to ensure the characters were never at ease in their temporary, or long-term, residence and also allowed the reader to share in the fear and foreboding that would later haunt all its inhabitants. The thirteen individuals who walked through the dim interior varied in their age, ease in their surroundings, reason for being there, and happiness levels for their current predicament. One thing all shared was the secrets they longed to keep firmly locked away, and which their host, Rachel, was very keen to expose. Many of these characters were provided with their own perspective to share what occurred during short, sharp chapters that kept my interest heightened and the insights feeling fresh and ever altering. All these aspects combined to ensure this remained intriguing throughout but I did long for an increase in pacing, during the central section. Much of the focus, during this time, was spent on the characters inability to figure out the reason for the tragedies befalling them, which led to them becoming increasingly irrational, judgemental, and accusatory. This was all to be expected, but I felt the story lingered there for too long. The concluding reveals more than made up for this, however, and the entire last portion was a series of gasp-inducing twists that I definitely did not previously guess at occurring. The sheer number of secrets that were revealed might have made this feel a little unbelievable, but I had too good a time within these pages to truly care. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, A.M. Castle, and the publisher, HQ, for this opportunity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Holden

    Why do I always go for these kind of thrillers!!!! The classic trope, friends that don’t really get on all go on a holiday together to somewhere isolated and unreachable by the outside world. There’s an Alpha female whose only job is to be bitchy and pretty, a plain Jane (literally), an alcoholic, mother hen and some men that seem to get away unscathed despite being awful characters. Throw in some secrets, infidelity and a murder and that’s basically this thriller along with all the other ones w Why do I always go for these kind of thrillers!!!! The classic trope, friends that don’t really get on all go on a holiday together to somewhere isolated and unreachable by the outside world. There’s an Alpha female whose only job is to be bitchy and pretty, a plain Jane (literally), an alcoholic, mother hen and some men that seem to get away unscathed despite being awful characters. Throw in some secrets, infidelity and a murder and that’s basically this thriller along with all the other ones where a group of friends get together and go on holiday. That’s basically the plot of The Invitation. Maybe I’ve read too many thrillers like this, but this was so boring and unsurprising. I pretty much knew what was going to happen half way in. All the characters were very one dimensional, and the men seemed to get away with everything whilst the women treated each other terribly! It made me think why on earth they were even with each other if they didn’t like each other that much. I’ve gotta give one 1 stars unfortunately.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vikki Patis

    The Invitation is the perfect example of a locked room mystery. The diverse cast of characters, some you'll just love to hate, and the secrets connecting them all, really drive the story forward and keep the reader guessing. An exciting read, fast-paced and packed full of suspense. The Invitation is the perfect example of a locked room mystery. The diverse cast of characters, some you'll just love to hate, and the secrets connecting them all, really drive the story forward and keep the reader guessing. An exciting read, fast-paced and packed full of suspense.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jerika

    I'm not sure who told this person they could write, but they were wrong. This book is laughably bad. The plot itself is okay, there's something to it, but oh my gosh. I can't believe it. The characters are all awful. All of them. None of them are likeable. By the time you find out who the victim is, who cares? Nobody. I'm glad they're dead. And none of them are well-written. The dialogue is so unbelievable, people use the word 'behooves' which I've never heard anyone say in real life. The exposi I'm not sure who told this person they could write, but they were wrong. This book is laughably bad. The plot itself is okay, there's something to it, but oh my gosh. I can't believe it. The characters are all awful. All of them. None of them are likeable. By the time you find out who the victim is, who cares? Nobody. I'm glad they're dead. And none of them are well-written. The dialogue is so unbelievable, people use the word 'behooves' which I've never heard anyone say in real life. The exposition is ridiculous, a character at one point literally says "But wait a minute, you're confirming that their guilt about..." Who talks like that? No one. The thing that stands out the most is that every chapter ends with some cheesy quip or a rhetorical question. Just a paragraph of exposition and then, "But who are they staring daggers at?" "And collateral damage isn't such a big deal, is it?" "But will she just shoot the messenger?" Here are some of the best worst lines in this thing: "They say confession is good for the soul. But stabbing may be even better." "Maybe she should go from being dead drunk to just being dead." "It will truly be a crime against nature if the sea has swallowed that beautiful man-child." THAT one really had me laughing, are you serious? Who calls a 20-year-old a man-child. Who calls ANYONE a man-child? I'm also not entirely sure that the mystery of this thing was actually solved. Parts of it don't make sense, and you never actually hear the reveal, it's just oh- more exposition, more info dumping, okay, it's the end now. This book is a joke.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Frosta Wings It

    3.5 stars I'll start with the positives; Castle's ambiance and atmosphere were phenomenal. She really made the island and Castle come to life; her description was straightforward to visualize. The storm was terrific. I felt the claustrophobic and dooming mood that being isolated when a tragedy happens will indeed evoke. The plot was enough to grab my attention – I love me an isolated setting and a locked room mystery. I will ALWAYS pick up a book that promises to deliver my favourite trope ever. T 3.5 stars I'll start with the positives; Castle's ambiance and atmosphere were phenomenal. She really made the island and Castle come to life; her description was straightforward to visualize. The storm was terrific. I felt the claustrophobic and dooming mood that being isolated when a tragedy happens will indeed evoke. The plot was enough to grab my attention – I love me an isolated setting and a locked room mystery. I will ALWAYS pick up a book that promises to deliver my favourite trope ever. The execution could have been better, though. We started off by not knowing who had died; we find out halfway through the book, though – at which point the book becomes a standard linear whodunnit. There is nothing wrong with that choice; it is just not my taste. I prefer either classic whodunnit or a "murder in retrospect" that waits until the last fifth of the book to start coming together. Suppose you read any of my mystery reviews before. In that case, you know that my number one pet peeve is when an author throws curveballs and hides crucial information. Unfortunately, I don't feel that Castle played very fair with some of her twists: A couple really came out of the left field, and though entertaining, this is, again, something I prefer not to see in books I enjoy. That being said, at least those choices were within character. Talking about Characters… This is where my conflict lies. At first glance, the characters are stereotypical, one-dimensional, and caricatures of real people. At the same time, Castle managed to make each character their own person and remain consistent throughout the book, not an easy feature when you have 13 main characters! Were they absurd and unlikeable? Yeah. But if one reads them as satire, they were brilliant. Not to mention that I couldn't stand any of them, except for the 2 oldest children; this might mean it was the author's intention for the characters to be satirical. I hope. The rest of my review (my personal feelings) contains major spoilers, so check my full review on my blog, if interested: https://frostawingsit.ca/2021/05/12/t... What I'll say here is that I do have major issues with parts of the book even though I feel that more people will love this book than not – The Invitation has a witty tone, and it is delightfully British. Besides, what mystery lover doesn't live for an isolated setting in a locked room mystery? This book really made me glad to have criteria for rating, which I feel allows me to be fairer. If I had gone by feeling alone, I would have probably rated The Invitation 2 stars, but how just would it be to the author who got many things right in her book? Not fair at all. I haven't felt this strongly about parts of a book in a long time! Again, these are MY ISSUES (if you read my full review you know what I'm talking about). And believe it or not, If you don't take things as seriously as I do and are looking for a fast-paced, easy read, entertaining isolated setting, whodunnit. You might love The Invitation. Just don't go in expecting similarities to Lucy Foley's and Agatha Christie's books; As a fan of their style, I didn't see any.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kath Middleton

    This is, in effect, a locked room mystery. Four university friends and their families get together around 20 years later on an island cut off twice a day by the tides. One of the four has married the owner of the castle on the island. There’s a huge storm, cutting them off for more than the usual tide times. Then there’s a murder. The characters in this book were very well drawn to the extent that on occasions I could tell who was speaking even if it hadn’t been indicated. I played amateur detec This is, in effect, a locked room mystery. Four university friends and their families get together around 20 years later on an island cut off twice a day by the tides. One of the four has married the owner of the castle on the island. There’s a huge storm, cutting them off for more than the usual tide times. Then there’s a murder. The characters in this book were very well drawn to the extent that on occasions I could tell who was speaking even if it hadn’t been indicated. I played amateur detective but was a total failure. The pace was good and I enjoyed it immensely.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    A contemporary twist on the locked room thriller made popular by Agatha Christie, The Invitation grips and enthrals from the moment you pick it up. Thirteen friends meet at a castle and whisk themselves away for a fun weekend on a remote island off the Cornish coast. But it certainly isn't going to be any fun for them. Needless to say, it doesn't take long for things to take a turn for the worse. Thirteen friends arrive but only twelve will leave. Who is the killer in their midst? The premise ha A contemporary twist on the locked room thriller made popular by Agatha Christie, The Invitation grips and enthrals from the moment you pick it up. Thirteen friends meet at a castle and whisk themselves away for a fun weekend on a remote island off the Cornish coast. But it certainly isn't going to be any fun for them. Needless to say, it doesn't take long for things to take a turn for the worse. Thirteen friends arrive but only twelve will leave. Who is the killer in their midst? The premise has been done a million times before but Castle has crafted a particularly compulsive version that is head and shoulders above many other attempts at locked room reads. A fast paced, exciting and danger-filled page-turner. Highly recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for the arc of The Invitation by A.M Castle. 4 stars- It is set in Cornwall, England which isn't far from where I live and this is a locked room mystery book.. i love these types of books. This is set on a island within a castle with 13 guest whom are locked up due to the weather as it is a huge storm! And they have no signal on their phones to no internet connection. Landline phone isn't working and the boat has been sabotaged.. so there isn't any way in which to ge Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for the arc of The Invitation by A.M Castle. 4 stars- It is set in Cornwall, England which isn't far from where I live and this is a locked room mystery book.. i love these types of books. This is set on a island within a castle with 13 guest whom are locked up due to the weather as it is a huge storm! And they have no signal on their phones to no internet connection. Landline phone isn't working and the boat has been sabotaged.. so there isn't any way in which to get back from there. Then there is a Halloween party in where somebody ends up dead... but fact is that no-one saw a thing... and all of them have grudges for other guests and all of them have secrets so who was it and who had motive to kill.. This was such a thrilling and interesting read, had me hooked start to finish Highly Recommend 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Clinton

    I was intrigued by this book as I love a locked room mystery, and it's set in Cornwall, where I grew up. I assume the island is a fictionalised version of St Michael's Mount. The story was actually really good, I liked how all the characters had secrets and I didn't guess all of them either. I also didn't guess who the murderer was and I love it when I'm surprised by that. None of the characters were particularly likeable so it was difficult to root for any of them but they did feel real and the I was intrigued by this book as I love a locked room mystery, and it's set in Cornwall, where I grew up. I assume the island is a fictionalised version of St Michael's Mount. The story was actually really good, I liked how all the characters had secrets and I didn't guess all of them either. I also didn't guess who the murderer was and I love it when I'm surprised by that. None of the characters were particularly likeable so it was difficult to root for any of them but they did feel real and the author did a good job of creating distinct personalities in quite a large cast. The thing that grated on me a bit is that the author would conveniently forget that there was no internet/mobile signal. I did enjoy this but it was just missing the wow factor that will make me remember it. It was a good novel, but it just stopped short of being excellent.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eeva

    This book has a great premise but imo it definitely falls flat. It promises you this spooky island vibes, 13 at dinner situation and many more and then just faild to deliver. The characters are all one dimentional - a mean girl, a drunk, a plain jane, a mother hen, a manwhore, an angsty teen, and few others you don't need to bother about. You know who's gonna get killed after like few pages and yet you have to wait forever for them to die (it literally happens after 50% of the book). It's very tir This book has a great premise but imo it definitely falls flat. It promises you this spooky island vibes, 13 at dinner situation and many more and then just faild to deliver. The characters are all one dimentional - a mean girl, a drunk, a plain jane, a mother hen, a manwhore, an angsty teen, and few others you don't need to bother about. You know who's gonna get killed after like few pages and yet you have to wait forever for them to die (it literally happens after 50% of the book). It's very tiring, waiting for the obvious to happen without any real suspense. The characters are also unlikable in a way that it's hard to root for anyone. It's hard for a reader to care. The way characters react to cetrain events is so devoid of emotion it's ridiculous and doesn't feel real. When one person decides to do something reckless and dangerous to save everyone and at some point others reckon this person died doing it there's no real emotion. "Oh your child probably died horrible death. Stop being so emotional, jesus, woman", "X spent all this time in bed uslessly" Like, excuse me for being sad my child probs died. [these are not actual quotes, fyi.] The writing is weird. It's not bad, it's just weird. It's all in present tense, which I don't love but don't hate either. But the way characters speak is just so... idk... like they're telling the story to their mates in the pub and they're trying RELLY had to be funny and entertaining, it's hard to describe. There were also too many POVs to read comfortably and I had to check every now and then whose chapter is it now. The ending is a bit ridiculous, tbh. Like this whole baby plot twist made me snort out loud, honestly. I'm rating this book 2 stars, because it wasn't the worst thriller I've read in my life. It just wasn't good. I received this book from the Publishet in an exchange for an honest review

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roz

    To compare a book to the master Agatha Christie is the highest praise that I could give and I would say that this book certainly has that vibe about it. I love a classic who dunnit and one set in an old castle, cut off by the turbulent tides, filled with thirteen guests all with secrets to hide, is irresistible. A Halloween party has been organised by enigmatic wealthy Rachel, to introduce her old university friends to her new much older husband and his family. Rachel is already a thirty somethin To compare a book to the master Agatha Christie is the highest praise that I could give and I would say that this book certainly has that vibe about it. I love a classic who dunnit and one set in an old castle, cut off by the turbulent tides, filled with thirteen guests all with secrets to hide, is irresistible. A Halloween party has been organised by enigmatic wealthy Rachel, to introduce her old university friends to her new much older husband and his family. Rachel is already a thirty something wealthy and famous figure and over the years she and the other ladies, Gita, Jane and Vicky have kept in touch in varying degrees. Between the friends there are many secrets; love affairs, betrayal, abortions, alcoholism and so much more. Rachel has gathered them all to her new empire as the newly appointed Lady Tregowan, planning a dinner for thirteen and all the mystery and drama that entails on a cut off Cornish castle. By the end of the night of the party one person is already dead, in typical and fabulous fashion, with the lights going out and a body then discovered with a skewer in them. Then they were 12. Suspicions are aroused and accusations fly. Soon another death occurs and the remaining guests begin to wonder who, if any of them, will survive? Great writing, interesting characters and a modern take on a Christine style who dunnit. I would happily read more by this author and will indeed do that. I recommend this book wholeheartedly as an atmospheric murder mystery. Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    The Invitation had the ingredients for a genuine puzzle. Thirteen friends summoned to a remote Cornish island to celebrate the recent wedding of one of their number. Trapped by the weather, they are increasingly unsettled and once one of the party is murdered things get intense. Rachel has, for the whole time they’ve known her, been the star around which they orbit. Larger than life she is always keen to make an impression...and the chapters from her view at the start make it clear that this trip The Invitation had the ingredients for a genuine puzzle. Thirteen friends summoned to a remote Cornish island to celebrate the recent wedding of one of their number. Trapped by the weather, they are increasingly unsettled and once one of the party is murdered things get intense. Rachel has, for the whole time they’ve known her, been the star around which they orbit. Larger than life she is always keen to make an impression...and the chapters from her view at the start make it clear that this trip is about confronting someone with a secret they rather remained hidden. Unfortunately, it becomes clear that they all have secrets...so it’s a case of who was desperate enough to murder someone to stop those secrets coming out. At the start I was quite taken in with the setting and the set-up. The revelation - once we got to it - was quite intense and yet there was a substantial part of the book where things felt unravelled. Stuck in, essentially, one setting the characters milled around the house. They shared their darkest thoughts and secrets...but not the one we really wanted. I enjoyed the story but didn’t find it gripped me in the way I hoped it would. Too much was left to be revealed at the right moment, and the behaviour of the characters didn’t always make sense. Great start and end, which kept it from feeling like a dud for me. I’m grateful to NetGalley for letting me read this before publication.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fee

    Tropy and Trashy read that does not pretend to be better than that - so all with all a lot of fun tbh

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jason Reed

    Bah I think it's unfair to the reader to classify this book/author on the same page as Agatha Christie. This book is not even close. The story is pedestrian. There is no sense of suspense. None of the characters are likable. And the ending was terrible. The best part of the book was finishing it. Bah I think it's unfair to the reader to classify this book/author on the same page as Agatha Christie. This book is not even close. The story is pedestrian. There is no sense of suspense. None of the characters are likable. And the ending was terrible. The best part of the book was finishing it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Oldrailing

    This is just my kind of book. I was interested by the characters, the location and the mystery. It's impossible to put down. I had an inkling who might have done it but this changed as I read on and I needed to get to the end quickly! Give us another book soon AM Castle, please. This is just my kind of book. I was interested by the characters, the location and the mystery. It's impossible to put down. I had an inkling who might have done it but this changed as I read on and I needed to get to the end quickly! Give us another book soon AM Castle, please.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bamba

    The Invitation I feel bad saying this but I really hated this book. To begin with...It was much too wordy...the sentences were sometimes so long that I lost track of what was being said...and I struggled with the style of writing in general. It was much too descriptive in some places and lacking in others. Then..the characters were all vile. There wasn't a single redeeming quality amongst them. They were also old fashioned stereo types which I was cringing and rolling my eyes at. The women were pass The Invitation I feel bad saying this but I really hated this book. To begin with...It was much too wordy...the sentences were sometimes so long that I lost track of what was being said...and I struggled with the style of writing in general. It was much too descriptive in some places and lacking in others. Then..the characters were all vile. There wasn't a single redeeming quality amongst them. They were also old fashioned stereo types which I was cringing and rolling my eyes at. The women were passive and "grateful" for their boorish and cheating spouses...which made me furious and the men were all roving eyes, liars and useless fathers...and of course their roving eyes were their wives fault. There wasn't a single action I could relate too. If you don't want to visit your friends home for the weekend...then don't! You are adults. Why wasn't there any maturity or accountability? For example Jane arrived late. Then she had to "suffer " in an old fleece during the arrival drinks. Are there any adults that would actually do this? Why wouldn't you just say "can I please freshen up?". Why wouldn't Gita or Vicky say "Shall I take you upstairs?" Or even Rachel as the hostess would show them their rooms. As an adult you don't get punished for being late...and you certainly don't just needlessly suffer amongst "friends" with windswept hair and bad clothes. At the very least you would ask to use the restroom for a quick freshen up. Jane and her issues were difficult to read. Its a subject that should be easily relatable.. especially to me who is in a very similar situation. Yet, I couldn't relate...at all. They didn't feel like "adult" thoughts but teenage rage and day dreams. Surely by adulthood your thoughts would be more nuanced? If you had such a big issue then wouldn't you confide in your friends rather than punishing them for something that wasn't their fault? There wasn't a single moment of "Yes I could see that happening" Tom, for example, was a bland bore and as the catch of the century...why weren't we shown his charisma or charm or anything that would make him a suitable mate for an accomplished woman. As it was he didn't have a single redeeming quality and why these four women all swooned over him I will never know! The actual murder happened in a rush and there wasn't a drip of information or clues but instead a drop of scandal all at once that needed to be more nuanced. The whole storylines with Tasha and Ruby were obvious and by the time we got to Nessie's ridiculous storyline I nearly stopped reading. Nessie's storyline turned the book into complete farce. It was so daft that I do not know how that got past the ideas stage let alone into actual print. I was hoping that there would be a big reveal or surprise that would make everyone's immaturity make sense and that there would be a reason the characters acted like they were but by the time we had Nessie's story it was too far gone. I am really sorry to write such a scathing review. The synopsis of this book was so good and I was looking forward to a murder mystery set in a setting like St Michael's Mount but this storyline wasn't for me. Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Apologies if it was too honest.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    All of my reviews can be found at https://damppebbles.com/ It’s the wedding of the century! Socialite and all-round media star, Rachel Cadogan, has married her beau, the young at heart Lord of the Manor, Ross Tregowan. To celebrate their nuptials and introduce Ross to Rachel’s oldest friends, the new Lady of the Manor invites Gita, Jane and Vicky (plus their children and spouses) to a lavish, no expense spared weekend at her brand new abode, Tregowan castle. The castle, situated on the Cornish co All of my reviews can be found at https://damppebbles.com/ It’s the wedding of the century! Socialite and all-round media star, Rachel Cadogan, has married her beau, the young at heart Lord of the Manor, Ross Tregowan. To celebrate their nuptials and introduce Ross to Rachel’s oldest friends, the new Lady of the Manor invites Gita, Jane and Vicky (plus their children and spouses) to a lavish, no expense spared weekend at her brand new abode, Tregowan castle. The castle, situated on the Cornish coast and only accessible by a causeway twice a day, is the perfect opportunity for the friends to reconnect and unwind. But on arrival, tensions are high. Rachel seems to be going out of her way to cause upset and reveal long held secrets with no consideration of anyone else’s feelings. On the night of Rachel’s Halloween party, the lights go out suddenly. What greets the group when power is restored is both gruesome and shocking. One of the party has been murdered. Which can mean only one thing. Someone on the island is a murderer, and the fun has only just begun… The Invitation is a very entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable book. I really enjoyed the set-up in the first half of the story. With Rachel’s well aimed little jabs here and there adding an unpredictability to proceedings. Watching as Rachel toyed with her guests. And toy she did! Only for her friends to roll their eyes on occasion and mutter ‘oh Rachel’ under their breath. It was eye-opening how far she was able to push them, all because of money and a dash of celebrity status. Out of the characters, Rachel was probably my favourite. Of course, with someone openly speaking long-hidden truths, it’s not long before the tension mounts and anger builds for the characters. They discover secrets about friends they’ve known for years, people they trusted have deceived them. Which puts everyone in line to be the murderer. Who can they trust? The isolation and seclusion the setting gives the book really ramps up the tension. The characters watch as the waves reach new breath-taking heights, whilst keeping a suspicious eye on those around them. I had a fair idea of whodunit but the author was able to make me doubt my choice throughout the second half of the book. Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you’re looking for a tense, closed room murder mystery with a great setting then The Invitation is the perfect fit. I loved the atmosphere the author portrays, the simmering undercurrent between the friends and the sense that nothing is quite as it first appears. A.M. Castle is a new author to me but I would gladly read more. Recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daniella Clear

    If you enjoyed The Guest List by Lucy Foley you will enjoy The Invitation by A.M. Castle. Both had similar vibes - a murder in a remote isolated place and the murderer is amongst the group of people. But whodunnit?? While I can admit that The Invitation was very well written as well as very suspenseful in places, it just wasn't for me. I found it to be rather dull and predictable. Rachel invites a group of her friends to Tregowan Castle on an island off the coast of Cornwall for a weekend of rev If you enjoyed The Guest List by Lucy Foley you will enjoy The Invitation by A.M. Castle. Both had similar vibes - a murder in a remote isolated place and the murderer is amongst the group of people. But whodunnit?? While I can admit that The Invitation was very well written as well as very suspenseful in places, it just wasn't for me. I found it to be rather dull and predictable. Rachel invites a group of her friends to Tregowan Castle on an island off the coast of Cornwall for a weekend of reverly. On the night of her Halloween dinner, there are 13 guests at the table, the room plunges into darkness and when the lights come back on one of the number has been murdered. There is a murderer amongst them, but who is it? The rest of the party is anxious to get off the island but are trapped when a storm hits. Are they safe?? To be fair The Invitation is a typical whodunnit thriller, everyone of the guests have secrets as well as a motive making the reader doubt themselves Everytime they think they have it figured out. My biggest issue with this book was the amount of viewpoints... I don't mind books written from 2 or 3 points of view but this one was written from at least 5 if not more ( I lost count, or well I gave up counting, it was giving me a headache to be honest) this made it rather hard to keep up with, I understand why the author wrote the book like this - to give everyone's backstory as well as make us suspect them all so we would have a hard time figuring out who the killer was but really it just gave me a headache at times, that and I didn't like it, it annoyed me. I also hated everyone of the characters, not just one or two of them, but all of them, not one of them had a likeable quality and to be honest I wouldn't have cared if they had all been killed at the end. The plot and twists throughout the book I found were predictable and of no surprise- I didn't guess who the killer was but I did guess who had been killed before it was revealed. Similarly to The Guest List with The Invitation the person who is murdered isn't revealed until halfway and the killer at the end but as with the former book I was able to guess who had been killed, the other twists and turns throughout the book were of no surprise and I saw them coming, thus taking the suspense from my reading. By the time the murderer was revealed I was literally like meh ok whatever. As I said if you enjoyed The Guest List I do think The Invitation is a must read. 2.5 Stars Many thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Yet another in the “reunion” genre, which I think is more relevant than the “invitation to an isolated place” genre, which has most people’s attention, most famously exemplified in AC’s Ten Little Whatevers, in venues ranging from the Catalinas to Cambridge. But here, it doesn’t quite work, as Amadeus said to Salieri. The author has talents as writer of comedy of manners, but clearly needed the mystery genre to make the manners gel. The plotting is bungled. Questions rain down. Why didn’t he? W Yet another in the “reunion” genre, which I think is more relevant than the “invitation to an isolated place” genre, which has most people’s attention, most famously exemplified in AC’s Ten Little Whatevers, in venues ranging from the Catalinas to Cambridge. But here, it doesn’t quite work, as Amadeus said to Salieri. The author has talents as writer of comedy of manners, but clearly needed the mystery genre to make the manners gel. The plotting is bungled. Questions rain down. Why didn’t he? What was she really intending? How did he pull it off, I couldn’t quite follow, putting out the lights, making the place pitch dark, being back in position in seconds and performing a clinically exact operation without benefit of overhead lights. A cavalier attitude that’s also visible in a disregard for general knowledge. The visiting girls are bowled over with the thickness of the Persian carpet. But a billionairess would only have a thin rug – thick ones are made only with thick yarn, have few knots and indistinguishable designs. Most importantly they are not immense stores of children’s labour. Or this one about the seagull: “God, they’re scary when they’re near, all claws and eyes.” When they’re near, you can see full well that they have webbed feet and only vestigial claws, the dangerous beak being the major focus. Reminds me of a newspaper story of a couple of years back when a man purported to have seen a seagull carrying off his girlfriend’s Chihuahua; inconceivable, yet carried by all the papers without a blink. Or, they’re talking about the tides: ‘It won’t have disrupted the gravitational pull of the earth, will it?’ Nessie’s voice drips with sarcasm. What? And none of the grown ups, or even the infant school children, seems to bother. Egregiously, the myth of the “vomitorium” being a Roman room in which to throw up excess gorging; actually it was a kind of anteroom in a Roman theatre to let out the masses when the show was over. It spewed them forth. You can’t take a work seriously – one that seemingly has gone through the editorial process – with such howlers.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Taylor

    Thank you to both #NetGalley and HQ Digital for providing me an advance copy of A.M. Castle’s mystery novel, The Invitation, in exchange for an honest review. #TheInvitation is a locked-room mystery novel about thirteen old friends who are invited to stay Halloween weekend at a castle perched atop a mountain on an island in the middle of the Atlantic. While the book blurb makes it sound as if it is an updated rip-off of Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None, it is not. The story is told fro Thank you to both #NetGalley and HQ Digital for providing me an advance copy of A.M. Castle’s mystery novel, The Invitation, in exchange for an honest review. #TheInvitation is a locked-room mystery novel about thirteen old friends who are invited to stay Halloween weekend at a castle perched atop a mountain on an island in the middle of the Atlantic. While the book blurb makes it sound as if it is an updated rip-off of Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None, it is not. The story is told from the perspective of multiple characters, denoted only by the name provided at the beginning of the chapter since every chapter is written in the first person. Normally, using the first person to tell the story through several characters would be annoying and seem like sloppy writing, but the author does a remarkable job separating each of their personalities. In other words, A.M. Castle knows how to write characters who have distinct voices; right-down to their vocabulary. The author also has a solid writing style. They are good at invoking vivid images and the dialogue is hilarious if you are into very British humor or wit. Although the mystery itself is nothing readers have not seen before, the twist at the end is a unique one. The reader will know which twist I am referring to as soon as they read it. I’ll give you a hint: it is not when they reveal the killer, but rather something pure evil that Rachel, their hostess for the evening, does beforehand. The other thing I noticed about the author’s style is that they reference a number of different fairytales, myths, and so forth to get the point across. I was actually surprised to see so many fairytales mentioned, but they operate perfectly for the author as similes and metaphors throughout the text. Overall, this novel is a strong 3.5 stars. The half-star is for the aforementioned twist. If you are looking for a zany cast of characters, serious drama amongst old friends, and some hysterical British humor with a bit of mystery, then you are in for a treat.

  23. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    This one is told from the viewpoint of most of the adults who end up at the fateful Halloween party. It is a classic locked-room mystery, where everyone is trapped in the castle on a small island (think of a fictionalised version of St Michael’s Mount) that is only easily accessible when the tide is low and the weather is fine. Which isn’t the case right now, as (wouldn’t you know it?) there is a massive storm raging, add to the general sense of panic and unease. Castle does a really good job of This one is told from the viewpoint of most of the adults who end up at the fateful Halloween party. It is a classic locked-room mystery, where everyone is trapped in the castle on a small island (think of a fictionalised version of St Michael’s Mount) that is only easily accessible when the tide is low and the weather is fine. Which isn’t the case right now, as (wouldn’t you know it?) there is a massive storm raging, add to the general sense of panic and unease. Castle does a really good job of giving us an insight into the disparate group of people, who were firm friends back when they were at university together. But a lot happened when they were younger and a lot more reckless – things that have had long-term consequences. And their glamorous and mega-rich hostess has managed to winkle most of the secrets out of each of them, over the years. And during this Halloween party – which is a classier version of the fateful bash she’d thrown at university and changed everything – she is determined to ‘clear the air’ by revealing the secrets that she believes are slowly poisoning their lives and ruining their relationships. Or maybe, she just enjoys the sense of power she gets when throwing everyone’s lives into turmoil… As ever, when you read a multiple viewpoint book, you take your pick of the versions offered up to you. Writing multiple viewpoints, so that everyone pings off the page sounding and feeling quite different, is a tall order and it takes experience and skill to successfully pull it off. Evidently Castle possesses plenty of both, because I got to the stage where I only had to read the opening sentence to know whose head I was in. The constant ongoing stream of revelations that added yet another plot twist and dimension to the unfolding drama was well handled and I found myself reading far later into the night than I should have done to discover whodunit. The denouement was also very skilfully handled – I’m not a fan of getting through a book where the tension is constantly being ratcheted up, only to have the whole thing suddenly descend into ridiculous unbelievability right at the end. And I’ve read more than my fair share of such nonsense, so I was delighted that the Castle absolutely nailed the ending, before I worked out whodunit, or why. Highly recommended for fans of character-led, locked-room murder mysteries with plenty of tension and pace. While I obtained an arc of The Invitation from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 9/10

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    'Secrets, secrets and even more secrets!' This proved to be a decent 'whodunnit' murder mystery adventure very much in the mould of Agatha Christie. Set on a small island, just off the coast of Cornwall, after a 20 year gap 4 female friends and their families come together for a very special Halloween weekend. Little do they know that the black storm clouds are building fast and things are about to take a serious turn for the worse - in fact, it could well prove fatal for one or more of the gather 'Secrets, secrets and even more secrets!' This proved to be a decent 'whodunnit' murder mystery adventure very much in the mould of Agatha Christie. Set on a small island, just off the coast of Cornwall, after a 20 year gap 4 female friends and their families come together for a very special Halloween weekend. Little do they know that the black storm clouds are building fast and things are about to take a serious turn for the worse - in fact, it could well prove fatal for one or more of the gathered attendees. Let the festivities commence! A good, strong start with lots to admire, and a good idea for each chapter to represent the particular POV of different guests, including clever overlap, with the basic storyline containing plenty of bitter interaction and well disguised twists and turns, all meandering down towards the story's final conclusion. Although the story was entertaining, I also found it to be just too unrealistic at times, included some under-developed characters and contained holes in the explanations which detracted noticeably from the piece as a whole and ultimately from the overall reading experience. In fact, the end which did actually make sense and was well thought out, did feel a little rushed, hollow and lacked clear explanation from all the main participants points of view. Thinking of the whole experience, I was left with the over-riding thought of how could 4 very different women be so negative towards one another, yet still claim to be the very best of friends? Believe me, with friends like these you certainly don't need enemies! A good idea, which failed to completely satisfy and deliver, ending up in a feeling of slight disappointment. Rating: 3.2 mysterious dark stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lena H.

    Are you a fan of Daphne DuMaurier? Agatha Christie? Do you like creepy, gothic novels full of characters with deep, dark secrets? What if we throw in a puppet master who knows everyone's dirt and isn't afraid to drop hints into all the wrong ears? Thirteen guests were invited to the Halloween party at the isolated castle, each provided with an elaborate costume and a murder weapon. Each of the 13 guests has at least one motive for murder. But who was the killer? The truth seems obvious but as th Are you a fan of Daphne DuMaurier? Agatha Christie? Do you like creepy, gothic novels full of characters with deep, dark secrets? What if we throw in a puppet master who knows everyone's dirt and isn't afraid to drop hints into all the wrong ears? Thirteen guests were invited to the Halloween party at the isolated castle, each provided with an elaborate costume and a murder weapon. Each of the 13 guests has at least one motive for murder. But who was the killer? The truth seems obvious but as the layers are peeled back, the cracks are revealed. No one knows who to trust, who's secrets have been revealed and to whom? Who's future is at stake? How far are they willing to go for revenge? All questions you'll be dying to know the answer to! This book was masterfully written. We hear the story as told by seven of the 13 main characters. Amazingly, their voices are unique enough that I was able to recognize the differences between them, even if I stopped in the middle of a chapter and picked it back up hours later. The subtle manner in which each secret, each clue, is revealed is deceptive, because each reveal is a bombshell. I couldn't put this book down, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who's interested in gothic suspense. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grace J Reviewerlady

    From an author I've followed for quite some time, this is a novel which totally surprised me! Thirteen friends meet up at Tregowan Castle in Cornwall, a monument on an island accessible by causeway at the mercy of the tides. This is a gathering for a weekend of fun, laughter and indulgence so when their number is abruptly reduced to twelve, shock and horror reverberates among those remaining. With a storm trapping them on the island, tempers begin to fray and past events are brought to the surfac From an author I've followed for quite some time, this is a novel which totally surprised me! Thirteen friends meet up at Tregowan Castle in Cornwall, a monument on an island accessible by causeway at the mercy of the tides. This is a gathering for a weekend of fun, laughter and indulgence so when their number is abruptly reduced to twelve, shock and horror reverberates among those remaining. With a storm trapping them on the island, tempers begin to fray and past events are brought to the surface creating splits and suspicion. With the chance of the killer striking again, the fear is palpable - can they all survive? As I began to get into this one, my thoughts were what a wonderful tv drama this would be! Creepy and atmospheric, this smart thriller from a very talented author had me suspecting almost everyone at some point or another and when the actual culprit was revealed I was shocked! This is a very unlikely group which gathers at the Castle; they are not exactly bosom buddies but most of them have a history together which all comes out slowly and deliberately. A good read and one I enjoyed and not as predictable as I thought it might be, given the setting. I'm happy to recommend this one, and give it 4.5*.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lost Vegas

    I am a big fan of Agatha Christie’s “And then there were none” so the recent trend on takes of this setting have been great for me and I’ve truly enjoyed reading them. This however was my favorite. Obviously we have the island, unreachable but for a few periods of low tide a day. The guests, all old friends from university and their partner’s and children. Rachel, the host is wealthy and has always been well to do, she’s inviting them to her new castle that she has become an owner of through her r I am a big fan of Agatha Christie’s “And then there were none” so the recent trend on takes of this setting have been great for me and I’ve truly enjoyed reading them. This however was my favorite. Obviously we have the island, unreachable but for a few periods of low tide a day. The guests, all old friends from university and their partner’s and children. Rachel, the host is wealthy and has always been well to do, she’s inviting them to her new castle that she has become an owner of through her recent marriage to the older Ross Tregowan. None of the friend’s were invited to the wedding for reasons unknown, but she has now invited them to celebrate Halloween. Rachel has always been a big fan of Halloween and parties so the friend’s are curious and happy to go along. The castle on an island is usually open to the public but this particular party has seen it closed off so that Rachel’s friends can enjoy the event without any interruption. Her friend’s have drifted quite a bit from the close friend’s that they were at university. Vicky is a divorced alcoholic struggling to reconcile with her son, which this short break gives her a chance to do as RAF is also invited. Gita is a journalist and appears on social media to be a “yummy mummy” married to her police officer husband Tom. Jane is a children’s author who is bringing her partner Geoff. No one seems to have made the effort to check in with Jane much, so whilst she is a bit surprised by the invite she is somewhat looking forward to it. Arriving at the island they meet Ross, Rachel’s new husband and his two children (Both older than Rachel herself) mysterious Roderick and seemingly distressed Penny. All of the guests (including Gita’s 3 children) add up to thirteen guests in total. Something Rachel is very pleased with. This is just such an excellent novel. I knew there would be twists but there are twists beyond anything I saw coming. This is a strong contender for one of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years. There are some sensitive topics but I believe they are dealt with well. Couldn’t recommend a book higher.

  28. 5 out of 5

    E Dod

    This is my first novel by A.M. Castle and I did enjoy this read. I did find it quite hard to get my teeth into as there were many characters but once I got into this novel I liked it. Slightly reminiscent of Lucy Foley's novel, which I loved, this starts with 13 guests going away for a weekend to Cornwall. Rachel who is newly married, invites her friends to stay in a very big castle and there appears to be a killer amongst them. By the next day there are only 12 people left alive. The main questi This is my first novel by A.M. Castle and I did enjoy this read. I did find it quite hard to get my teeth into as there were many characters but once I got into this novel I liked it. Slightly reminiscent of Lucy Foley's novel, which I loved, this starts with 13 guests going away for a weekend to Cornwall. Rachel who is newly married, invites her friends to stay in a very big castle and there appears to be a killer amongst them. By the next day there are only 12 people left alive. The main question is who has done this awful deed? As mentioned in previous reviews it is almost a locked room kind of read, where the individuals can not escape until they have learnt who has committed this terrible murder. I enjoyed reading about some characters, others I found were predictable and uninteresting.. A good read and great eerie settings that has an element of suspense and thrill about it. Thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Thirteen guests.. One killer.. No escape while they are trap on a island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day. What can I say.. i hated everyone and absolutely love the book. The story is very nicely putted together, is told from the perspective of multiple characters that is written in the first person. Usually it's annoying and difficult to keep track of multiple characters but in this novel it's working magic, it's giving you the Agatha Christie's Thirteen guests.. One killer.. No escape while they are trap on a island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day. What can I say.. i hated everyone and absolutely love the book. The story is very nicely putted together, is told from the perspective of multiple characters that is written in the first person. Usually it's annoying and difficult to keep track of multiple characters but in this novel it's working magic, it's giving you the Agatha Christie's vibes. Definitely recommend to anyone who love mysteries with suspense. My only reason to not put 5 star's to this novel is that I would prefer more complete closeups on some secrets.. like did Jane reveal her secret to her friends? Or did Geoff in the end talk to his wife? What happened to the island and there people? .... And more... Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book for exchange for my honest opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Dixon

    Thoroughly enjoyed this closed room murder mystery in the style of a classic Agatha Christie tale. Four female friends from university share more than they even know. Brought together years later for an invitation to a island cut off from the sea, we know this is only going one way... with partners and children in tow they are only too keen to enjoy the hospitality of the newly married lady of the manor/island and her slightly reluctant spouse and step children. She organises a halloween party t Thoroughly enjoyed this closed room murder mystery in the style of a classic Agatha Christie tale. Four female friends from university share more than they even know. Brought together years later for an invitation to a island cut off from the sea, we know this is only going one way... with partners and children in tow they are only too keen to enjoy the hospitality of the newly married lady of the manor/island and her slightly reluctant spouse and step children. She organises a halloween party to remind them of their shared history and to reveal a secret about one of them... My only question is why these people are friends when they are so thoroughly unlikeable, particularly Rachel. There is a murder and a suicide, or is a murder, and an accidental death or is there...? The killer is finally revealed but all the clues were there. I've knocked off one star for one of the plot twists which was beyond my suspended disbelief.

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