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The Retreat

The Retreat

By Sarah Pearse

Intense atmospheric scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Book review, no spoilers I swear!!

Published: Bantam Press 2022

Hello reader! Today I'm talking about the second novel in the Elin Warner series by Sarah Pearse. I do have a confession to make first and that is I did receive an ARC of this last year and I accepted it in return for an honest review. I didn't get round to reading it though as University got in the way and it was unfair of me to accept it. However, since then, I decided to buy the novel and read it for myself. This is still an honest review and again, apologies to the publishers and the author. Anyway without further ado shall we start?


They couldn't wait to stay here.

An idyllic wellness retreat has opened on an island off the coast of Devon, promising rest and relaxation - but the island itself, known locally as Reaper's Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it's rumoured to be cursed.

But now they can't leave.

A woman is found dead below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But DS Elin Warner soon learns that the victim wasn't a guest - she wasn't meant to be on the island at all.

And they would do anything to escape . . .

The longer Elin stays, the more secrets she uncovers. And when someone else drowns in a diving incident, Elin begins to suspect that the old stories about the island are true.

Because history seems to be repeating itself - and the guests might not make it home alive . . .


My initial thoughts of this novel was that I was getting Lucy Foley, The Guest List vibes, which is another book I loved. My second thought was "Why didn't I read this sooner?!"

It opens with two sisters and their cousin, all three of them are estranged for reasons that are yet to be revealed and the other sister has dropped out of the trip all of a sudden. They were all supposed to go to the retreat to relax and reconnect. However secrets and murder threaten the groups plans and all of a sudden they are thrown into the dark waters of the island.

Elin on the other hand is back to work and although she is back in action she's still hesitant to get involved in a murder inquiry. Being sent to the island alongside her partner she's in a race against time to find the killer before the killer finds her. Elin's character has developed a lot from the first novel, compared to being a detective on foreign soil and having to navigate that, this time she is on home turf. Not only that, but her personal life begins to bleed into the investigation, threatening her relationships with the people she loves. I really enjoyed seeing more of the detective side of Elin and the way in which she had a partner this time who understands her. This is a sequel that is just as good as the first if not better.

Although The Sanatorium was an outstanding novel with thrills and scares along the way, this novel has a different taste in my opinion. This one feels more like a mystery thriller. Pearse creates such intense atmospheric scenes that they had me sitting on the edge of my seat. My eyes at one point were reading too fast for my brain to comprehend what was happening. I definitely enjoyed this book and I'm only regretful that I didn't read it sooner.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5*

After all tomorrow is another day spent reading,

Till next time,

Phoebe x

The Retreat is available at all good book stores and online. Please support your local bookstore if you are able to!

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