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?
A complimentary copy was provided by Thomas and Mercer via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Well, this is one writers' retreat where I never want to go....LOL
The Retreat is a creepy suspense novel with multiple twists and turns making it quite enjoyable for this reader.
Julia has opened her home, Nyth Bran as a writers' retreat. Two years ago, her husband drowned and her little girl Lily disappeared. It happened when they were taking a hike as a family. Lily was walking ahead of them. After a few minutes, when neither parent could find her but her favorite toy was spotted in the water, Julia's husband jumps into the river to look for her. Julia saw all this without being able to help since she didn't know how to swim. Later on, her husband's body was recovered but not her daughter's.
"It's like I dived into the river two years ago. And I'm still under the water, holding my breath."
Lucas Radcliffe is a horror writer who's suffering from writer's block. His recent novel Sweatmeat was a great success but to his dismay writing his next book is not coming as easy as he thought. A change in venue and a new ambiance away from the city could be the solution to his problems.
When Lucas learns about Julia's tragedy, he decides to get involved. Julia doesn't think her daughter drowned. She believes someone took her. With this in mind, he decides to hire a private investigator to dig for information into Lily's disappearance. He soon learns about the Red Widow, the legend of a woman who every thirty-five years asks for a girl to be given as a sacrifice to her in order for a child not to be stolen at random. Then, weird and eerie things start happening at Julia's home. Everyone starts thinking that the house might be haunted after all but Lucas doesn't believe in ghosts or legends. The question is....Is he wrong?
I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it for you. I can say that I thought The Retreat had a strong plot full of suspense and with a diverse set of shady characters. The Retreat also gave us Lucas who was my favorite character. He never gave up and was genuinely worried about Julia. He wanted to bring her closure.
I also can't forget to mention how shocking the ending was. Talk about revenge!