The Feast by Margaret Kennedy
Fans of Liane Moriarty-style books.
In a nutshell:
In 1947 in Cornwall, England, a very small hotel has welcomed a variety of guests for the week. At the start, we learn that a cliff-side collapse has completely destroyed the hotel, burying and killing at least some of the guests. We then return to the start of the week to learn about the guests themselves, ultimately discovering who has survived.
“You don’t want to face facts.” “Not in story books, I don’t. I face plenty between Monday and Saturday without reading about them.”
Why I chose it:
This was recommended to me during my Book Spa visit as a pretty easy read that went along with what I called my general enjoyment of ‘middle aged white lady fiction’ (e.g. the aforementioned Liane Moriarty of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers fame).
I did enjoy this book, and am happy with the recommendation, but it was probably 100 pages too long for me. There are a LOT of characters to follow (nearly two dozen), and while I appreciate that each one gets time and treatment to develop their character, it’s a lot to keep track of and frankly not all of it seemed necessary. It was a fun book, but at times reading it was a bit of a chore.
I appreciate how author Kennedy brought people together who were from different backgrounds, and explored (not directly, but through the plot) some different types of travelers and those who interact with them. There are the owners and staff at small, family-run places like this, who have their own lives outside of fulfilling the wishes and whims of people who are just passing through. There are those who are hoping to recover, either from a physical illness or from tragedy that is perhaps too difficult to be around at home. There are those looking for an adventure, or a story, and those who simply want to enjoy being somewhere new.
The book is definitely a bit dark. I mean, obviously, given the subject matter, but basically (and as the person who recommended it to me pointed out), the reader spends 400 pages sort of hoping some people die (and some people don’t). No one deserves to die under a pile of hillside, but the author has told us from the start that some of her characters will. The question is who, and are there any whose death will bring less of a tear to the reader’s eye than others? For this reader, that answer is definitely yes.
Recommend to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it: