Hello book lovers, welcome back! As usual, today’s #TalkTuesday review and interview is also our #TeaserTuesday, Book Beginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! Enjoy!
The Invitation by Rachel Abbott will remind readers about the game of Clue. In which room and with what weapon did the crime take place? Who was the perpetrator and what was their motive?
The story begins when a group of childhood friends reunite for a wedding. Their leader, Lucas, the one who everyone wants to impress, is marrying Nina Belanger who he met in France. But a tragic event happens, leaving everyone distraught, especially the groom. One year later, Lucas has all the friends return because he is seeking answers and revenge. He forces each guest to dress in exact replicas of last year’s outfits and eat the same meals. Jenna, married to Matt, pushes back. But the others fear Lucas, the scion of one of Britain’s wealthiest and most influential families, will ruin them professionally or never invite them back if they don’t go along. When the police come to investigate the disappearance of some, the tensions rise even higher.
Readers will enjoy the way Abbott has set up the story by keeping them off-balance. From the Cornwall setting with the cliffs, ocean, and seaside estate to the way information is revealed. Sometimes it was from character conversations, and sometimes from the police investigation.
This is a riveting mystery, but also a book about relationships. Each of the childhood friends hid something which were clues to the tragedy at the center of the story.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Rachel Abbott: It came over a number of years. Originally the story was set in Italy because we have a house there. It is quite a big house, so we actually rent it out for events, including weddings. One of the groups that stayed had a murder mystery weekend. I put the wedding and the murder mystery together. The one difference is that in my book it is a real murder.
EC: The setting plays a big role?
RA: We did go to Cornwall to get a feel for the place, including the path to the sea. Regarding the estate I had the layout of my house in my head so when the characters walked around, I had each location in my head.
EC: Can you describe each of the friends?
RA: First off, I want to say how they are all a product of their childhood and the roles they played in Lucas’ life. Once together again they all slipped back into the roles they had as children. Many of them had a difficult upbringing.
RA: He is a complex character. Very witty, sometimes at other’s expense. Successful in his own right.
RA: She is Nick’s twin sister. She feels thwarted by Lucas because she aspired to marry him. I think she can be bitchy and hard.
RA: He always felt like an underdog because he was the poor boy of the group. As he grew to adulthood, he became a playboy and his own person. He is one of the few willing to stand up to Lucas.
RA: A wuss. He can handle things well when life is perfect. He has no backbone and is guarded. Matt is measured and does not like to rock the boat.
RA: Quiet, strong internally.
RA: Very French and feisty. I felt sorry for her. She has fallen in love with Lucas.
EC: Now for the main characters-Lucas?
RA: Early on people think he is a narcissist. After he felt betrayed by his friends, he becomes very determined. He can be controlling, manipulative, and cunning. He feels let down by one of his friends and lets his morality evaporate. I think in the end he is seen as stable, considerate, and protective.
RA: She is not overly confident and feels inferior. Yet, she is willing to stand up to Lucas. I think she has guts and inner strength. She is able to connect the dots.
EC: How about the marriage between Jenna and Matt?
RA: They are opposites. He is quite confident on the outside, but internally quite weak. When life was perfect so was the marriage. Jenna found a lot about him after the tragedy. He became withdrawn because he did not want to reveal any weaknesses.
EC: What about the detectives, Stephanie King and Gus Brodie?
RA: In my first book, And So It Begins, these two were introduced. He was the senior investigative officer while she was a rookie. This book explores their tumultuous relationship. Gus hurt her very deeply. After she became pregnant with their baby, he walked away. But in this book, they have come together.
EC: It does seem that the series characters, the police officers, are not the main characters?
RA: This is correct. I want the book to be about the victims and preparators of the crimes. The police are in a solid presence in the background to solve the crime.
EC: What about your next books?
RA: It will be the third in the series with Stephanie and Gus. I hope to title it, Can You See Me. It will be about a family’s hard times where one of the sisters disappears. It is also set in Cornwall.
I have another series that I have been writing for many years. It is set in Manchester and the hero is police detective Tom Douglas. It will be out early next year. The plot has a woman who was brought up in a cult accused of murder. She is running away from the cult and the police to save her child.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Socrates Book Reviews now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Luv Sassy x
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