Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Invitation by Lucy Foley @lucyfoleytweets @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #TheInvitation

It’s 1951. In Europe’s post-war wreckage, the glittering Italian Riviera draws an eclectic cast of characters; lured by the glamour but seeking an escape.
Amongst them, two outcasts: Hal, an English journalist who’s living on his charm; and Stella, an enigmatic society beauty, bound to a profiteering husband. When Hal receives a mysterious invitation from a wealthy Contessa, he finds himself aboard a yacht headed for Cannes film festival.
Scratch the beautiful surface, and the post-war scars of his new companions are quick to show. Then there’s Stella, whose secrets run deeper than anyone’s ― stretching back into the violence of Franco’s Spain. And as Hal gets drawn closer, a love affair begins that will endanger everyone…
The Invitation is an epic love story that will transport you from the glamour of the Italian Riviera, to the darkness of war-torn Spain. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Victoria Hislop.

The Invitation by Lucy Foley was published by Harper Collins in paperback on 15 June 2017, and is the author's second novel.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I read and reviewed Lucy Foley's debut novel, The Book of Lost and Found on Random Things in January 2015 and was looking forward to reading The Invitation on my holiday to Croatia a few weeks ago.

I did find The Invitation a little difficult to engage with during the first couple of chapters; there are quite a few characters to get to know and I wasn't sure about lead character Hal at all. However, the beautiful writing and the incredible sense of place soon drew me in, and before I knew it, I was hooked.

Hal is an English journalist who finds himself at a party where he feels very out of place. The other guests are wealthy and the rich glamour of his surroundings are alien to him. However, when he meets Stella, who is also alone, he finds a kindred spirit. They spend the evening together.

When Hal is invited on a yacht bound for Cannes by a Countess, some time later, he's grateful for the opportunity to report on the lives of the rich and famous who are travelling to support a film. Hal is also shocked, but surprised to find that Stella is a fellow passenger. This time she is not alone, she is accompanying her husband; a rich man who has invested in the film.

And so begins the intrigue and mystery that Lucy Foley has so cleverly woven into this story. Hal and Stella's pasts are explored, along with the Countess and her guests.

At it's heart, The Invitation is a seductive love story. Hal and Stella are fascinating characters with deep, rich histories. This is also a wonderfully researched, beautifully written historical story that incorporates the horrors of war, along with the brutish and controlling behaviour of powerful men.

The 1950s Italian era is immaculately described, it's heady and breathtaking, and the story is compelling.

Lucy Foley writes with elegance and charm. The Invitation is a vibrant, vivid story packed with characters who delight.

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry - during which time she also wrote her debut novel, The Book of Lost and Found.
Lucy now writes full-time, and is busy travelling (for research, naturally!) and working on her next novel.

To find out more about Lucy visit her Author Page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @lucyfoleytweets

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