The Retreat by Mark Edwards #BookReview

About this book…

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?

From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.

My review…

Mark Edwards always managed to scare the life out of me with his books and The Retreat is no different! I made the mistake of reading it in bed one night beside the snoring Grumpy Scotsman and ended up kicking him really hard, supposedly to stop his snoring but really because I was scared witless and wanted someone else awake!!!

This book will really play on your own fears of losing someone close to you but not having that closure  of knowing exactly what happened to your loved ones. Julia is trying to rebuild her life 2 years after she has lost her husband and daughter. By opening up a writers retreat she hopes to join the land of the living again. One of her first guests is horror writer Lucus, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her daughter Lily, who’s body has never been found.

Honestly, I know I’m a TOTAL wimp but this is one of the creepiest books I’ve read recently!! And I think that’s because I was never really sure where the narrative was heading and that made me very nervous! I’m not a big lover of supernatural stories as they freak me out a little (well ok, they freak me out A LOT!!!) and the unusual occurrences in and around the writers retreat were ones that I found very difficult to explain! The use of a local “urban legend” was central to the plot here and used to great effect by Mark Edwards, with a gradual build up of tension along the way as we find out more about The Red Widow!!!

What I enjoyed most about this book was that it wasn’t predictable! The supernatural element was present but it was up to the reader to decide what was real or imagined. The menacing atmosphere was at its most intense during the first part of the book as Lucas becomes aware of the eerie “goings on” that started to increase once he began looking into the circumstances surrounding the events that lead to Julia losing her family. As things started to come together, there were plenty of shocks in store including a rather unexpected ending!

Gripping, nightmarish and totally addictive – just make sure you read it with the lights on!

The Retreat is available to purchase now from Amazon UK (please note this is an affiliate link) My review copy came from the publisher via netgalley.

Meet the author…

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people, and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.

He is the author of five #1 bestsellers: Follow You Home, The Magpies, Because She Loves Me, The Devil’s Work and The Lucky Ones, along with What You Wish For and six novels co-written with Louise Voss.

Originally from the south coast of England, Mark now lives in the West Midlands with his wife, their three children, two cats and a golden retriever.

Mark loves hearing from readers and can be contacted via his website,


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

7 thoughts on “The Retreat by Mark Edwards #BookReview”

  1. I already have this title on my TBR for review – but if I didn’t I would add it now after reading YOUR wonderful review. I laughed aloud when I read about you kicking your snoring, grumpy, Scotsman. ♥️

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