REVIEW: The Retreat, Mark Edwards

Friday, 19 April 2019

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?

While the central mystery of Mark Edwards' The Retreat was enough to keep me flicking through the pages, the outsider, male-centric focus on a mother's very real pain hampered my enjoyment of the book. Because, although Julia and the dark tale of her deceased husband and missing-presumed-dead daughter, made my hair stand up on its end, the narrative focus and the ensuing, completely needless romantic plotline often made me want to throw the book against the wall. Hint: if a woman is telling you such a tale and is so very obviously in the midst of grief, be a doll and don't use the opportunity to seduce her.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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