Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz


Title: The Writing Retreat
Author: Julia Bartz 
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: February 21, 2023

A book deal to die for.

Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.

Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.

But then the women begin to die.

Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.

This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…

The Writing Retreat is the debut novel by Julia Bartz. I didn't particularly like it.

The story begins with the main character Alex. When we meet her, she doesn't enjoy her job or her boss. She is also suffering from writer's block and she still stalks her ex-best friend's Instagram posts regularly.

Her luck changes when she is invited to a writing retreat offered by non-other than her favorite horror author, Roza Vallo at her home in Blackbriar Estate. Alex isn't alone, four more women are there with her: Taylor, Poppy, Kiera, and as luck will have it, her ex-best friend Wren is there too.

Roza notifies them that they will be competing to finish a book within the next four weeks and each of them will be helping edit the book of the others. Whoever wins, by having the best novel, will be getting a seven-figure publishing deal.

Alex wants to win badly. She wants to beat Wren as well. The only problem is that she has no clue how to get rid of her writer's block but she is guided toward writing a historical fiction novel based on a demon.

Then strange things started occurring......

I thought the book had a good premise and I enjoyed the first half of it. The last 20% not so much. It went off the rails and was too unbelievable to be taken seriously.

Cliffhanger: No

2.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Atria/Emily Bestler Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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