A missing child. A desperate mother. And a house full of secrets.
Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.
Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.
When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…
What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?
The Retreat by Mark Edwards was a book I really wanted to read after an author recommended it. When I saw the book synopsis, I knew it was right up my alley. Luckily, I wasn't disappointed.
The pacing was a little slow at times especially at the beginning of The Retreat. However, more times than not, the pacing was fast enough to hold my attention especially towards the end of the book where the pacing doesn't slow down. Once I got towards the end, I didn't want to stop reading.
I loved the plot of The Retreat. I don't want to say too much because it will give the plot away, but The Retreat wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I don't mean that in a bad way either. There were definitely a few plot twists towards the end, and they were done really well. This book had me guessing throughout. I was always trying to figure out who was guilty of kidnapping Lily. I wanted Lily to be alive.
I loved the world building, and while some of it did seem a bit far fetched, I believe that it actually could happen due to people and their superstitions. I felt like I was a character in The Retreat trying to find out what happened to Lily. I felt like I was a detective trying to piece everything together although I always got it wrong.
I can't say that I ever really connected to the characters. While I enjoyed reading about them, I never clicked with them. I didn't really care what happened to them. I only cared enough that they would find out what happened to Lily so I could have closure. I don't think they were poorly written. There was just something there preventing me from connecting to anyone on a personal level. I can't even say that I had a favorite character. The only character who came close to being a favorite was Ursula. Julia and Lucas were likable, but I could take them or leave them.
There are scenes with drinking, drug use, violence, cussing, the occult, and one scene with some slightly graphic sex. Personally, I could have done without the slightly graphic sex, but that's a personal thing.
Overall, The Retreat is a good read. Even though it does start off a bit slow, the plot twists towards the end definitely make this an interesting read. I would definitely recommend The Retreat by Mark Edwards.