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In The Retreat, Mark Edwards does not only delve into the thriller genre but also thrusts the right amount of horror into his writing. No chapter goes by without an insanely shuddering scene featured within its pages.
The Retreat follows the story of horror novelist Lucas Radcliffe, who goes back to his childhood hometown- beddmawr, where he plans to settle at a writers’ retreat in hopes of getting his dose of inspiration to work on his new novel.
Let me introduce to you the remaining guests of the Retreat:
Karen Holden is a luxurious-looking woman in her fifties who loves cannabis and entertains the reader with the most hilarious conversations. My personal favorite character.
Max Lake is a literary fiction writer. He is almost always found accompanied by another guest…
Suzi Hastings, a young blonde woman who spends her writing time with Max in order to help her work on her own very first novel.
Julia. She’s the owner of the house. She’s an ex-illustrator for children’s books. She is haunted with the guilt and shame provoked by her daunting past- a tragedy that took away her entire family. Her young daughter Lily, had disappeared two years ago and everyone keeps convincing Julia that her daughter is dead. But does she truly believe that?
Things begin to get a whole lot more interesting when- as the author put it, ‘strange occurences’ start happening inside the house: a voice humming Welsh songs in the middle of the night, echoes of creepy whispers ‘you’re not welcome here’, Lucas’ belongings disappearing from his room, doors opening on their own, and more traumatizing events caused by an old scary tale of ‘The Red Widow’ – a witch who comes back to town every thirty-five years to claim a child.
And so what begins as a writing opportunity for Lucas turns into a journey of seeking the truth and uncovering the mysteries behind the sinister happenings of the town of Beddmawr.
‘Is Julia’s daughter Lily dead as everyone claims, or might she still be alive?’
‘Is her spirit wandering around the house and haunting the guests of the Retreat?’
‘What’s exactly in the numberless room and the basement which Julia anxiously keeps off limits?’
I loved how, even when things are finally figured out, some particular characters still had some loose ends to take care of, leading to an insanely suspenseful and deliciously plotted ending.
Brilliantly written, The Retreat represents the spookiest book I’ve read this year. It’s terribly sinister and twisted, and therefore my favorite read of 2018.
The book comes out May the 10th!
***Thank you to Netgalley, Mark Edwards and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of The Retreat in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***