Ali is marrying Jack’s brother Will, but everyone thinks that she is showy and inauthentic. She loses her passport just as they are all trying to check in at the airport to fly to a villa in Portugal-a destination wedding. Then everyone else loses their patience.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones gives us a tale of misjudgments and suspicions. Rachel, Jack’s wife, tells the story, and we are inside her head. Her head tells her that Ali is having an affair with her husband Jack. Will, Ali’s husband-to-be, is Jack’s brother. Rachel’s best friend Noah and his wife, Paige, are also staying at the villa. After speaking with Noah about their past together, Rachel is obsessed with her own guilt trip, which makes it more difficult to focus on the social interactions around her. She draws several incorrect conclusions.
Fortunately, Jack and Paige are smokers, so they get to disappear periodically to have a smoke, thus giving Rachel plenty of time to indulge her fears and wallow in her guilt. Ironically, she is probably one of the least guilty people at the wedding.
The events that bring the wedding weekend to a dramatic conclusion are certainly unusual, but it’s difficult to ‘suspend our disbelief’. The restaurant chosen for this expensive destination wedding is described as structurally unsound, somewhat ramshackle. Why would the couple pick such a spectacular villa to stay in before the wedding and such a rundown reception venue? Given what happens, far more casualties would have been expected.
What kept me reading is the actual guilt trip at the center of the story. The guilt trip itself was entirely believable, as were the superficial judgments made about Ali’s character. However, the astounding events at the end were a bit too engineered and unlikely. As for Ali, well, I can’t even tell you, but all is revealed in the aftermath of the dramatic denouement.