The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

A luxurious retreat. A deadly secret

"The Midnight Feast" might not be reinventing the wheel, but it's taking that wheel for one hell of a joyride. Lucy Foley knows what her readers want, and she delivers it with style, suspense, and a hefty dose of social satire. It's the kind of book that'll have you staying up way too late, side-eyeing your rich friends, and seriously reconsidering that fancy hotel booking.
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Genre: Mystery Thriller
  • First Publication: 2024
  • Language: English
  • Characters: Francesca, Owen, Eddie, Bella
  • Setting: Dorset, England (United Kingdom)

 The Appetizer: What’s It All About?

Hold onto your linen sundresses, folks! Lucy Foley’s back with another swanky murder mystery that’ll have you canceling your fancy hotel bookings faster than you can say “complimentary CBD cocktail.” In “The Midnight Feast,” we’re whisked away to The Manor, a brand-spanking-new luxury retreat on the Dorset coast that’s meant to be the next big thing for stressed-out city slickers looking to commune with nature (and their credit card limits).

But surprise, surprise—the opening weekend goes off with more than just celebratory fireworks. We’ve got family drama, staff gossip, mysterious guests, and enough secrets to fill a confessional. Oh, and did I mention there’s a dead body? Because of course there is. It wouldn’t be a Lucy Foley novel without one, would it?

The Main Course: Plot and Pacing

Foley’s dishing out her usual recipe here in “The Midnight Feast” – multiple narrators, time jumps, and more red herrings than a fishmonger’s display case. We bounce between the present-day chaos at The Manor and events from 15 years ago that set the whole mess in motion. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion, if the car was a Bentley and the crash happened at a Gatsby party.

The story kicks off with a bang (literally – there’s a fire), then rewinds to introduce us to our cast of characters. We’ve got Francesca, the wellness guru owner with more Instagram followers than scruples; her architect husband Owen, who’s got a chip on his shoulder the size of The Manor itself; and a motley crew of staff and guests, each hiding their own juicy secrets.

Foley keeps the plates spinning admirably, doling out revelations and plot twists like a Michelin-starred chef. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, she’ll throw in a curveball that’ll have you gasping louder than a Real Housewife at a reunion special.

The pacing is snappier than a crocodile with anger management issues. Short chapters and cliffhanger endings mean you’ll be telling yourself “just one more” until it’s 3 AM and you’re wondering if you can call in dead to work tomorrow.

Character Soup: Who’s Who in This Posh Zoo?

Let’s break down our main players:

  • Francesca: Picture Gwyneth Paltrow crossed with Lady Macbeth, and you’re in the ballpark. She’s all about manifesting positivity and burying bodies – sometimes literally.
  • Owen: The brooding architect with a secret past. He’s like Heathcliff, if Heathcliff wore Tom Ford and had a thing for infinity pools.
  • Eddie: Our man on the inside. He’s the local lad working as a dishwasher, torn between two worlds like a country mouse at a city rave.
  • Bella: The blast from the past. She knew Francesca way back when, and she’s got scores to settle.

The supporting cast is colorful enough to give a Pantone chart a run for its money. We’ve got Francesca’s twin brothers (think Winklevoss, but evil), a mysterious guest who’s more baggage than Louis Vuitton, and enough quirky staff members to fill a “Downton Abbey” spin-off.

Foley’s got a knack for creating characters you love to hate (and sometimes just straight-up hate). They’re all deliciously flawed, with enough depth to keep you invested even when you want to reach through the pages and give them a good shake.

Setting the Scene: Location, Location, Location

If there’s one thing Foley knows how to do, it’s create a setting that’s practically a character in its own right. The Manor is like the lovechild of a Country Life magazine spread and a fever dream. You’ve got your infinity pool with ocean views, your forest-view “Hutches” (because calling them cabins would be far too pedestrian), and enough scented candles to give Bath & Body Works an inferiority complex.

But lurking just beyond the manicured lawns is an ancient forest that’s creepier than a clown convention. Foley plays up the contrast between the polished new hotel and the wild, untamed landscape beautifully. It’s all fun and games until someone gets murdered in the organic vegetable garden, right?

The atmosphere is thicker than clotted cream on a scone. You can practically feel the summer heat and smell the overpriced room diffusers. It’s the perfect backdrop for secrets to simmer and tensions to boil over.

Themes and Subtext: More Than Just Murder

Sure, on the surface, “The Midnight Feast” is about figuring out whodunit. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find Foley’s taking aim at some juicy targets:

  • The Instagram vs. Reality Divide: Francesca’s carefully curated public image is about as authentic as a spray tan. It’s a biting commentary on influencer culture and the pressure to present a perfect facade.
  • Class Warfare in Designer Wellies: The interactions between the wealthy guests and the local staff are more loaded than a baked potato at a steakhouse. Foley’s got a sharp eye for the absurdities of class divides in modern Britain.
  • The Past Never Stays Buried: Unless you’ve got a really good landscaper, apparently. The way past actions echo into the present is a recurring theme that adds depth to the whodunit aspect.
  • Nature vs. Nurture (or Nature vs. Overpriced Nurture Retreats): There’s a constant tension between the artificial world of The Manor and the wild, untamed landscape surrounding it. It’s like Mother Nature’s throwing shade at the whole wellness industry.

Writing Style: Prose with a Side of Snark

Foley’s writing is sharper than the cheese knife at a wine and fromage night. She’s got a way with descriptions that’ll make you feel like you’re right there, sipping overpriced cocktails and judging your fellow guests. Her dialogue crackles with wit and tension, and she nails the different voices of her narrators.

There’s a delicious sense of irony running through the whole book. Foley’s clearly having fun poking at the pretensions of the wellness industry and the uber-rich. It’s like reading a really good gossip column, if that gossip column also happened to include murder.

The Good, the Bad, and the Bougie

Let’s break it down, shall we?

The Good:

  • Atmosphere for days. You’ll feel like you need a shower and a stiff drink after reading.
  • Characters you’ll love to hate (and maybe secretly relate to, but we won’t tell).
  • Twists and turns that’ll give you whiplash in the best way possible.
  • Sharp social commentary wrapped in a glossy thriller package.

The Bad:

  • If you’ve read Foley’s other books, the formula might feel a bit familiar.
  • Some plot points require a hefty suspension of disbelief.
  • A few loose ends that don’t get fully tied up.

The Bougie:

  • You might find yourself googling, “How much does it cost to build an infinity pool?” (Don’t do it. Just don’t.)
  • Sudden urge to book a spa weekend (maybe skip the murder mystery package, though).
  • Inexplicable desire to start every sentence with “I’m manifesting…”

Final Verdict: To Read or Not to Read?

Look, if you’re a fan of Lucy Foley’s previous books, you’re going to eat this one up like it’s the last canapé at a gallery opening. It’s got all the ingredients that made “The Guest List” and “The Paris Apartment” such hits – glamorous setting, murky secrets, and enough suspects to fill a police lineup.

Is it groundbreaking? Not really. Foley’s playing the hits here, but when the hits are this good, who’s complaining? It’s like going to see your favorite band—sure, you know what you’re getting, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

“The Midnight Feast” is the literary equivalent of a really good reality show. It’s glossy, it’s dramatic, and it’ll keep you up way past your bedtime. It’s perfect for a beach read (just maybe not at a secluded resort), a book club pick (pair with wine and wild theories), or anytime you need to feel better about your own family drama.

So go on, treat yourself. Just maybe don’t accept any mysterious invitations to exclusive hotel openings anytime soon, yeah?

Bonus Round: Drinking Game Rules

Take a sip every time:

  • Someone mentions manifesting or good vibes
  • A character has a dark secret revealed
  • The creepy forest is described
  • Someone drinks a pretentious cocktail

Finish your drink if:

  • You guess the killer before the reveal (and then immediately doubt yourself)
  • Francesca does something unethical but tries to justify it
  • You find yourself wanting to book a spa weekend despite everything

(Remember to drink responsibly, unlike pretty much everyone in this book.)

Palate Cleanser:

For readers left unsatisfied by “The Midnight Feast,” here are a few alternative recommendations to cleanse your literary palate:

  • The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman – For those craving a clever, character-driven mystery with actual humor.
  • “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – If you wanted more of the creepy manor vibes with a side of genuine gothic horror.
  • “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid – For a sharper, more nuanced take on class dynamics and social media culture.
  • “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton – If you’re in the mood for a mind-bending locked-room mystery that actually delivers on its premise.
  • “Real Life” by Brandon Taylor – For readers who wanted a more thoughtful exploration of outsider perspectives in privileged spaces.

In Conclusion: A Feast Worth the Indulgence

“The Midnight Feast” might not be reinventing the wheel, but it’s taking that wheel for one hell of a joyride. Lucy Foley knows what her readers want, and she delivers it with style, suspense, and a hefty dose of social satire.

It’s the kind of book that’ll have you staying up way too late, side-eyeing your rich friends, and seriously reconsidering that fancy hotel booking. Pack it in your beach bag, curl up with it on a rainy day, or save it for your next “treat yourself” moment. Just be prepared for some serious page-turning action and the sudden urge to start your own wellness empire (minus the murder, of course).

So go on, dive into “The Midnight Feast.” Just watch out for the sharks in designer swimwear.

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  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Genre: Mystery Thriller
  • First Publication: 2024
  • Language: English

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"The Midnight Feast" might not be reinventing the wheel, but it's taking that wheel for one hell of a joyride. Lucy Foley knows what her readers want, and she delivers it with style, suspense, and a hefty dose of social satire. It's the kind of book that'll have you staying up way too late, side-eyeing your rich friends, and seriously reconsidering that fancy hotel booking.The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley