The Retreat
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.

The Retreat Details

TitleThe Retreat
Author
ReleaseMay 10th, 2018
PublisherThomas & Mercer
ISBN-139781477805176
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Fiction, Horror, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Audiobook, Contemporary

The Retreat Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Mark Edwards is an author I've been following for years, and I've come to anticipate his certain brand of thrilling and chilling fiction with gusto each year in the release of his latest novel. The Retreat was a bit of a departure from his last novel, and I couldn't be more pleased with the setting and tone he chose to deliver this go around. It's no secret that I have an affinity for novels that contain the "book within a book" plot, and once you tie in the gothic suspense vibes, I'm sold. You Mark Edwards is an author I've been following for years, and I've come to anticipate his certain brand of thrilling and chilling fiction with gusto each year in the release of his latest novel. The Retreat was a bit of a departure from his last novel, and I couldn't be more pleased with the setting and tone he chose to deliver this go around. It's no secret that I have an affinity for novels that contain the "book within a book" plot, and once you tie in the gothic suspense vibes, I'm sold. You couldn't convince me to NOT pick up this book, and boy am I glad that I did.The atmosphere is only one aspect of what makes this novel a great one, but it's such an important factor that I feel it deserves it's own section here in my review. As readers, we know the unseen elements of a novel can make or break a read for us, and the dark, oppressive feel that The Retreat provides is unnerving and exquisite. There is a certain heaviness that never quite leaves the narrative, even after all is said and done, mainly due to that particularly devilish epilogue. Oh yes, this was another favorite portion of mine, but that's all you'll get from me regarding that. There are a good number of characters, and while it did take me awhile to get everyone straight, I found it challenging (in a good way) which gave a feeling of satisfaction upon finishing the book that may not have been there otherwise. The plot is complex, detailed, and slow burning in the beginning, but once I hit the halfway mark it was impossible to put down. I love this type of book, one that gives readers the chance to develop a base connection with the characters and a starting point for the suspense, while slowly ramping up the tension until WE JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE DANG IT!If you've enjoyed the author's previous novels, you will no doubt eat this one up in record time as well. I'm loving this resurrection of the psychological thriller that contains elements of gothic horror; I think it's well needed in a sea of domestic dramas and mainstream suspense. Highly recommended for a quick, fun read that will give you the willies, the creepy crawlies, and maybe a few sleepless nights.*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. 
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThe Retreat is a dark, creepy, and atmospheric read fueled by childhood fears based on mythical creatures, ghosts, and haunted houses. Mark Edwards draws inspiration from such childhood myths as Bloody Mary and the boogeyman to create a sense of fear in a small town in Wales. Horror writer Lucas Radcliffe returns to his childhood hometown Beddmarr, Wales to spend some time at a writer’s retreat to hopefully help get his next novel on track. The retreat is run by a beautiful widow name 3.5 starsThe Retreat is a dark, creepy, and atmospheric read fueled by childhood fears based on mythical creatures, ghosts, and haunted houses. Mark Edwards draws inspiration from such childhood myths as Bloody Mary and the boogeyman to create a sense of fear in a small town in Wales. Horror writer Lucas Radcliffe returns to his childhood hometown Beddmarr, Wales to spend some time at a writer’s retreat to hopefully help get his next novel on track. The retreat is run by a beautiful widow named Julia, who in 2015 witnessed her husband drown trying to save their daughter from a similar fate. While at terms with her husband’s passing, Julia is convinced that her daughter is still alive as her body was never recovered. Lucas, who has had his own losses to deal with, instantly bonds with Julia. There are other writers staying at the retreat, and the group soon starts to hear voices, see mysterious people in their rooms, and find that their personal items have been stolen or toyed with.Lucas learns of the myth of The Red Widow, a witch that demands a child sacrifice every 35 years in order to prevent her from cursing Beddmawr. While Lucas doesn’t believe in the supernatural, he soon begins investigating The Red Widow in order to provide Julia with closure over Lily’s death. What he discovers is that several young children have gone missing every 35 years--the most recent being a young orphan girl who went missing in 1980. The more Lucas digs to uncover the truth, more and more bizarre events occur leading to an unbelievable revelation.I found The Retreat to be a fun and entertaining read. While I don’t do well with the supernatural or even creepiness (I’m a huge wimp), this isn’t at all scary. What I really liked about The Retreat was that I couldn’t figure out what was going on and was surprised by the outcome of what happened to Lily. There are a lot of unpredictable twists and many layers to the mystery. I also enjoyed being immersed in the eerie atmosphere of the fictional town of Beddmawr--the setting comes to life and plays a crucial role. I liked Lucas’s character, and I appreciated the little winks and nods to some of Edward’s other novels. The ending was a bit over the top for my taste, but still, I enjoyed the dark tale that Edwards weaves. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars. Two years ago, Julia's life changed forever. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughters life (they believed their daughter fell in the river when they weren't looking). Now Julia has converted their home into a writer's retreat. She buried her husband two years ago, but her daughter's body was never found. She clings to the belief that her daughter is still alive as her body was never found.Lucas is one of her first guests at the retreat. He is a horror novelist who becomes in 3.5 Stars. Two years ago, Julia's life changed forever. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughters life (they believed their daughter fell in the river when they weren't looking). Now Julia has converted their home into a writer's retreat. She buried her husband two years ago, but her daughter's body was never found. She clings to the belief that her daughter is still alive as her body was never found.Lucas is one of her first guests at the retreat. He is a horror novelist who becomes intrigued with Julia and her missing daughter. He hires a private investigator to try and help him determine what happened to Julia's daughter and are there any clues which the local police failed to notice.Soon strange things start occurring at the writer's retreat. Lucas hears rumors that the home is haunted and when he begins to hear singing at night, he wonders if the rumors are true. Other guests notice strange things as well and begin to wonder if they should be afraid of the things that go bump in the night.This book started strong for me, then I lost a little interest and then things picked up again. So, if you feel a little lag after the first 20 percent of the book, hang in there, things do get interesting! One thing I enjoyed is the fact that I could not figure this book out. Is this a haunted house? Is this a ghost story? Was there a kidnapping? Is Julia crazy? Has the entire town lost their minds over the Urban legend they have been scaring each other and their children with over the years? This book has a creepy and eerie vibe and leaves the reader with a lot of questions until the end. The highlight of this book for me was that I could not figure out what was going one and when I thought I had things figured out close to the ending, the Author threw in a little curve ball to keep things interesting. Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Melisa
    January 1, 1970
    A heart pounding, atmospheric, rip roaring good mystery!Mark Edwards is so thorough and detailed with his plotting - his stories are intricately detailed and they are always tightly wound with no stone left unturned. Full of spooky folklore and legends and scary ghost stories, this one definitely had me jumping at the slightest sounds and turning on all the lights in the house. I had no idea how this story was going to unfold, and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed where it ended up. Well done, sir A heart pounding, atmospheric, rip roaring good mystery!Mark Edwards is so thorough and detailed with his plotting - his stories are intricately detailed and they are always tightly wound with no stone left unturned. Full of spooky folklore and legends and scary ghost stories, this one definitely had me jumping at the slightest sounds and turning on all the lights in the house. I had no idea how this story was going to unfold, and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed where it ended up. Well done, sir. Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mackenzie - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Haunting!!! Don’t read this book alone at night unless you keep the lights on!!! See my reviews here!This is my first book by Mark Edwards and I absolutely loved it! I wasn’t sure what the genre would be at first, because it has such a tone of the supernatural about it. I think it is best for readers to just let it unfold. I didn’t know which genre it would be, and I liked it all the better for the intrigue it held in that regard. I loved the theme of possibility—the notion that what we believe Haunting!!! Don’t read this book alone at night unless you keep the lights on!!! See my reviews here!This is my first book by Mark Edwards and I absolutely loved it! I wasn’t sure what the genre would be at first, because it has such a tone of the supernatural about it. I think it is best for readers to just let it unfold. I didn’t know which genre it would be, and I liked it all the better for the intrigue it held in that regard. I loved the theme of possibility—the notion that what we believe as children sometimes carries into adulthood. The thought that we all have that, I don’t REALLY believe in ghosts, but maybe I do? That is the feeling you have while reading this book, and it adds to the spooky, unsettling quality of the story. This was home. Why had I waited so long to come back? […] I was sure that here, finally, I would be able to write again. Rediscover my voice, my inspiration. Lucas Radcliffe is a horror writer seeking to escape from tragedy in his life. Lucas is working on his second novel and suffering from extreme writer’s block. He travels to a small town in Wales where he grew up to stay at a Writer’s Retreat. Maybe the change in setting will shake his ideas loose. As he settles in, Lucas can’t help but become captivated by the house and its beautiful, reserved hostess Julia. You pretty much have the run of the house, except…can I just ask you not to go into the basement? It’s not…safe. Julia has her own haunted past. Just two years earlier, not long after they moved to Wales, Julia’s husband died trying to save their daughter Lily from drowning in the river. But Lily’s body was never found, and Julia can’t let go of the hope that Lily might still be alive somewhere. She opened her home as a writer’s retreat to pay the bills. Julia can’t help but feel that as long as there is a possibility that Lily is alive, she needs to stay here and wait for her. It was as if the world beyond this house ceased to exist when the sun went down. Lucas can’t help but feel that he could help Julia find answers to Lily’s disappearance. But the deeper he digs into the mystery, the more unsettling it becomes. You see, Lily isn’t the first girl to go missing from this town. A girl has disappeared every 35 years as long as anyone can remember—a sacrifice to the Red Widow, made by the town to keep the other children safe. Lucas doesn’t believe in urban legends. And yet, how can he explain the tragic history of this town? And if he is able to, will the answers provide relief, or reveal more horrors to come?ReflectionWow, what a truly wonderful book! The scenes were incredibly descriptive—almost like watching a film. The setting of the house and the woods were so perfect for this book. It felt eerie and mysterious, and you can see why the urban legend has taken ahold of this town. It would be hard not to believe, living in such an isolated place where the woods almost have a power of their own to those who enter them.In a letter to readers, Mark Edwards wrote: "There are few things I like better than receiving a message from a reader whose love of books has been sparked or rekindled by one of my novels. The more people we can turn on to the joy of reading, the better the world will be." I loved reading this, because this is the goal of the educational program I work with in the school district—to find a way to ignite a love of reading in those who’ve lost it, or even never found it. To use reading as a tool to disconnect from the chaos of the world around us, and to also use it to bring people together.Thank you so much to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Mark Edwards for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Berit☀️✨Traveling Sister✨
    January 1, 1970
    4 Creepy and Spooky Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟Is there really a Bloody Mary video game? I’m just wondering how that works? I remember gathering in the bathroom at midnight with my friends at sleepovers, never quite making it to those 10 “Bloody Marys...“ this book really brought back memories of all those creepy childhood stories... is the boogie man really under my bed? Can my Tina doll really talk? I’m not one to necessarily believe in the supernatural, but I’m not above getting a little creeped out when some 4 Creepy and Spooky Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟Is there really a Bloody Mary video game? I’m just wondering how that works? I remember gathering in the bathroom at midnight with my friends at sleepovers, never quite making it to those 10 “Bloody Marys...“ this book really brought back memories of all those creepy childhood stories... is the boogie man really under my bed? Can my Tina doll really talk? I’m not one to necessarily believe in the supernatural, but I’m not above getting a little creeped out when something goes bump in the night...What this book did brilliantly was blend together a twisty psychological thriller and an element of the supernatural... in the beginning I had no idea what was going on was this house haunted? Are these people crazy? Who is singing? Who is taking things and moving them around? What is going bump in the night? I have to admit if I were at this “Retreat“ I would be high tailing it out of there just like Karen did!Lucas is an author who has headed to Wales to a writers retreat... to work on his follow up novel to his best seller... Julia is the widow who owns this retreat, she also lost her husband two years ago... her husband jumped in the river to save their daughter, who they believed had fallen in, but Lily’s body was never recovered... I can’t even imagine how excruciating this would be, so I could completely understand why Julia still believed her daughter was alive...This book had me guessing until the bitter end.... I really had no idea how this was going to end, and the very final twist.... not even sure how I feel about that, but it sure made me think.... and all the pieces came together and were completely plausible and believable...Absolutely recommend when you are in the mood for a spooky atmospheric book filled with things that go bump in the night and some twists on top...*** thank you so much to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***
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  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    January 1, 1970
    EXCERPT: It was a stone house, painted white, with a steep tiled roof. It was bigger and more imposing than I'd expected. The kind of place that looked like it would always be cold inside, no matter how many fires you lit. Behind the house, a steep bank half protected it from the elements. To either side, woodland stretched as far as I could see. Something flapped in the branches above my head, startling me and almost making me lose my balance. But I stole another look at the house before I clim EXCERPT: It was a stone house, painted white, with a steep tiled roof. It was bigger and more imposing than I'd expected. The kind of place that looked like it would always be cold inside, no matter how many fires you lit. Behind the house, a steep bank half protected it from the elements. To either side, woodland stretched as far as I could see. Something flapped in the branches above my head, startling me and almost making me lose my balance. But I stole another look at the house before I climbed down, and smiled. It was the perfect place to write a scary book. 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 THOUGHTS: I read The Retreat overnight, in one sitting, because I simply could not bear to put it down. Yes, it's that good. I defy anyone to read this without pulling the curtains a little tighter, without starting at every little noise. And if you have a child, I guarantee you'll be keeping her a little closer to home, that's if you let her out of your sight at all. Mark Edwards has hit the ball right out of the park with his latest offering, The Retreat. I have always enjoyed his books, rated them highly, but The Retreat is something special. Nail-bitingly special. Breathtakingly special. OMG! I never saw THAT coming special. So, I might be a bit of a sucker for a book that features a creepy old house, but that on its own is no guarantee of success with me. Edwards has this knack of being able to take a pretty ordinary situation and infuse it with enough suspense, enough emotion, enough atmosphere to hook me and keep me there right to the end. Atmospheric. Sinister. Chilling. These are all words that can be applied to The Retreat. And let's not forget unpredictable. Every time I came up with a theory for what happened, was happening, or what was about to happen, Edwards shot me down in flames. Am I recommending The Retreat? Definitely. With the full five blindingly bright stars of praise. Thank you to Thomas and Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Retreat by Mark Edwards for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
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  • Kaceey - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*This is one of those books that either works for you and you’ll absolutely love it, or it’s going to leave you scratching your head. Well from my rating you can see where I landed.A writers retreat. Time to get away from the crazy city and all the pressures bearing down on you. An opportunity to concentrate on your work in progress, perhaps even wrapping it all up before that looming deadline. But when Lucas finally arrives at the retreat, he’s greeted with anything but the Zen peacefulness 3.5*This is one of those books that either works for you and you’ll absolutely love it, or it’s going to leave you scratching your head. Well from my rating you can see where I landed.A writers retreat. Time to get away from the crazy city and all the pressures bearing down on you. An opportunity to concentrate on your work in progress, perhaps even wrapping it all up before that looming deadline. But when Lucas finally arrives at the retreat, he’s greeted with anything but the Zen peacefulness he was hoping for. His host Julia’s daughter vanished years ago. He’s now on over-drive to find answers for Julia. And…bon voyage to finishing his book!! There is a level of the supernatural weaved into the plotline of the missing girl – a frightening folklore tale that the village deeply believes and, is in fact, terrified of. This part of the book just didn’t click for me. I just wasn’t able to buy into it completely. There are some absolutely rave reviews for this book, so please take a look and a chance. It may be the perfect fit for you. I’m a huge Mark Edwards fan and have four of his other books sitting on my shelf. And even though this one may have fallen just a bit short for me...you know I’ll still be reaching for his next release!As always, a great Traveling Sister reading experience!Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer /Amazon Publishing and Mark Edwards for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Mark Edwards has written a gripping piece of crime fiction set in a fictional place, Beddmawr, in the Berwyn Mountains in Wales with its dense forests and rivers. 42 year old Lucas, a horror writer, used to live nearby as a young child before his family moved. He is suffering from writer's block, so returns when he checks into a writers retreat run by Julia. Lucas has still not recovered from the grief of losing his beloved girlfriend, Priya, only to learn that Julia lost her husband Michael, an Mark Edwards has written a gripping piece of crime fiction set in a fictional place, Beddmawr, in the Berwyn Mountains in Wales with its dense forests and rivers. 42 year old Lucas, a horror writer, used to live nearby as a young child before his family moved. He is suffering from writer's block, so returns when he checks into a writers retreat run by Julia. Lucas has still not recovered from the grief of losing his beloved girlfriend, Priya, only to learn that Julia lost her husband Michael, and her young daughter, Lily. Julia is a wreck of a woman, still harbouring hopes that Lily is still alive, as her body was never recovered. Lucas, and fellow writers, Max Lake, Suzi Hastings and Karen Holden are shaken and terrified as a series of strange and creepy events occur that suggest the place is haunted. This is a story of urban legends, folklore, myths and superstitions often endemic in isolated rural areas, where children are taken, one every 35 years, so that the rest of the children are safe. They are assumed to have been taken by the Red Widow ever since the place was cursed at a time buried in long ago history.Without telling anyone, Lucas engages a PI, Zara, hoping that she will uncover evidence that will bring closure for Julia. However, Zara disappears, ostensibly going on holiday but Lucas does not believe this, and a series of deaths occur in the present that make him suspicious, convinced that a local man is behind these murders. Lucas finds that he has become a target as an attempt is made on his life. As Lucas becomes closer to Julia, he is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of Lily's death. Weird happenings continue, and another writer, Ursula, with her spirit guide leads Lucas to a abandoned chapel in the woods. Alongside the narrative is Lily's version of events that eventually reveals the horror of what happened to her. In a story of twists and turns, Lucas slowly begins to suspect an inkling of the truth, but will he live to tell the tale?Mark Edwards tells a tale with an underlying current of menace in a small rural place, one which Lucas has some historical link to as a child. In such places, folklore and superstition run rife, where many believe in ghosts and urban legends, and the central character, Lucas, adds to the atmosphere as a horror writer, for what happens is a horror story in its own right. His attempts to get to the bottom of what happened to Lily raises forces from the past, determined that their secrets should not be revealed. The location is perfect for the kind of evocative story Edwards tells, remote and isolated, where the woods are dangerous, and anything could happen. An intense, absorbing, and compelling story where the answers do not lie in the supernatural. Many thanks to Thomas and Mercer for an ARC.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    5 Glorious Stars!Dear Mr. Edwards,It’s that time of year again—“Mark Edwards buddy read with my friend Jan” time. You don’t know how much we plot and prepare for this annual affair. Our goal of course is to beat you at your own game. Afteranother year of practice with other people’s books, we felt ready to take you down this time. Hmmm…a disappearing kid plot. We’ve read plenty of these, Mr. Edwards. We are feeling pretty darn confident here. Oh! It’s taking place at a writer’s retreat in an old 5 Glorious Stars!Dear Mr. Edwards,It’s that time of year again—“Mark Edwards buddy read with my friend Jan” time. You don’t know how much we plot and prepare for this annual affair. Our goal of course is to beat you at your own game. Afteranother year of practice with other people’s books, we felt ready to take you down this time. Hmmm…a disappearing kid plot. We’ve read plenty of these, Mr. Edwards. We are feeling pretty darn confident here. Oh! It’s taking place at a writer’s retreat in an old house in the North Wales countryside. OK, a point for you. This is a refreshing setting. Very refreshing. Score for us on the characters. Pretty daring of you to have only a finite number of characters in this story. Did you not realize that gives heavy odds in our favor of determining who took the little girl? I wouldn’t think a seasoned author like you would make a mistake like that. Go us!Geez, you are trying to rattle us with the ambience, I see. Did you have to give that isolated house voices and make it the setting for a myriad of other strange and totally creepy incidents? And those woods harboring that witch. Not to mention all that stuff happening in the dark. I wouldn’t have touched this book if I knew you were going to make it so freaking sinister, Mr. E. You are just trying to shake us up so we can’t think here. I’m charging you with a foul.With such a small cast of characters everyone gets plenty of airtime. You do earn a credit for this as it kept us off the flow-busting Search Button. BUT, the more we saw of these people, the more complex all the relationships seemed to get, and it was darn hard to say who was trustable here. You really took up a lot of our time making us try to figure out who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. For gosh sakes, you just couldn’t make it clear who the good guys were and who were the nasties, could you? We went back and forth on these people so many times we felt like human boomerangs. Can’t you write a straightforward character, Mr. Edwards? Demerit!I must give you props though for that labyrinth of a plot. Holy cow, that was a twister. You insisted on making us pay attention right from the get go. I never saw such a pileup of “bread crumbs” all mixed in with those little red herrings you love so much. It seems every couple of pages there was something to dwell over and wonder if it was relevant or not. Let me just say that skimmers need not apply for this book. And that ending. Wowzers, man! Really though there were two endings. Double Wowzers. That first one sent real live chills up my spine. A thousand mega kudos for that, Mr. Edwards!!! And how about that info dump over the last 20% or so of the book. Boy, that was like Christmas morning getting all those dazzling reveals. So yeah, OK, you are a clever one, you are. I’ll give you that.It pains me to give you two points in a row, but that little maybe, maybe not romance plotette was really well done and incredibly realistic. And subtle, just the way I like it. You must have cheated and had a high level psychiatrist write that part for you. Come on, ‘fess up, Mister. Darn good stuff.Now let’s get to the good part. I guessed the baddie. Yes sir, I guessed the baddie. Sort of. I suppose I have to admit I had every single character on my list at one time or another so I reckon I was automatically going to win this point. But who cares. I can cheat if I want, right? I’m taking the score.Oh, you get a final point for sneaking in little references to a couple of your previous books. That was fun. We’re sharing the glory though as we picked them up.Darn. We’re done. And it’s going to be ANOTHER year before you can write another one. Gosh, I’m old. Can’t you write faster, Mr. Edwards? Maybe if you go out to that retreat in the countryside of North Wales, you could get some tips on how to write faster. Just don’t get sidetracked out there….Love eternally,Your fan, Christine
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    2.5I’m the outlier here, but I have concluded that this was just not a book for me.I have mixed feelings about this one. I was intrigued by the mystery of what happened to a missing girl near a river. I was hoping for a good psychological thriller, but it felt more “supernatural” to me.There were some spooky happenings that kept me reading and finishing the book, but can’t say I’m a huge fan. I did struggle to finish it.Please check out other reviews because many people gave this one high marks. 2.5I’m the outlier here, but I have concluded that this was just not a book for me.I have mixed feelings about this one. I was intrigued by the mystery of what happened to a missing girl near a river. I was hoping for a good psychological thriller, but it felt more “supernatural” to me.There were some spooky happenings that kept me reading and finishing the book, but can’t say I’m a huge fan. I did struggle to finish it.Please check out other reviews because many people gave this one high marks. Thanks to Netgalley/Publisher for my ARC.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Mark Edwards, Amazon Publishing, and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.In his latest thriller, Mark Edwards adds a degree of the paranormal while also creating a mystery that will keep the reader guessing. Lucas Radcliffe is still riding the wave of his latest bestseller, exploring a number of missing children who were taking by a mysterious beast. Seekin First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Mark Edwards, Amazon Publishing, and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.In his latest thriller, Mark Edwards adds a degree of the paranormal while also creating a mystery that will keep the reader guessing. Lucas Radcliffe is still riding the wave of his latest bestseller, exploring a number of missing children who were taking by a mysterious beast. Seeking to gather himself as he begins his next piece, Radcliffe makes his way to a writers’ retreat in North Wales. On his way up to the secluded spot, Radcliffe learns more about the local lore and the proprietress’ own personal tragedy; a daughter, Lily, who went missing two years ago and a husband who drowned the same day, looking for her. Radcliffe is curious, though understandably reticent to speak about it when it is introduced to Julia Marsh. Could this story of the Red Widow have any basis in truth or simply be a way the locals keep themselves in check? Radcliffe divulges what he knows to Julia, who is still traumatised by the happenings two years before. Wishing to help, Radcliffe hires his own P.I., hoping to make sense of what he knows. When odd things begin happening inside the retreat, Radcliffe wonders more about the lore, but cannot admit to himself or anyone else that he might be ready to accept it. Julia is convinced that her daughter will be back and must be ready for the inevitable. When people tied to the community begin turned up dead, Radcliffe is convinced that there’s a coverup, both tied to the recent disappearance, but also to the lore that posits the Red Widow will arrive every thirty-five years to take a child as a sacrifice. As panic mounts and a collection of writings reveals many secrets Lucas Radcliffe may have stumbled upon something more captivating than any novel he could wish to create. Edwards is brilliant yet again and delivers a stunning thriller sure to keep the reader hooked through to the final pages.I have always loved a good Mark Edwards novel, especially as they do not follow too strict a writing path. Edwards is able to breathe chills into his writing while keeping the story plausible and unique from past publications. His creation of Lucas Radcliffe is surely a loose mirroring of himself, an author with a collection of darker ideas. Radcliffe does come across as a little passive in his appearance throughout the piece, but does have a sense of determination, especially when a mystery emerges. He seems eager to help, though it is readily apparent that his literary net is always out, seeking tidbits for another novel that may help him further explore his dark thriller side (like Edwards?). Julia Mars proves to be another strong and alluring character, whose focus on trying to find her daughter trumps everything else. Seeking to protect herself from the outside world, Julia is less a waif than seeking to foster what little strength she has left. The cast of secondary characters are well developed and help to create a curious mystery throughout. Spanning over thirty-five years, the characters have honed their personalities and proved as secretive as they are forthcoming, creating an interesting duality that only the reader is able to see. The story may seem a little silly, paranormal in its delivery, but Edwards does a wonderful job to provide the reader with a mystery and chilling narrative that weaves into many unexpected twists and keeps the story from becoming too predictable. Layering the present narrative with both flashbacks of Lily’s final year before her disappearance and some journal entries back in 1980, Edwards keeps the story fresh and the reader engaged, which allows them to become lost and pleasantly surprised. Kudos, Mr. Edwards, for delivering yet another powerful piece that thrills and shows just how versatile a writer you have become. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoy Mark Edwards books and was delighted to receive a copy of The Retreat. This thriller was full of myths and scary tales told to the local children about a witch they called The Widow. Lucas is a writer that is having problems finishing his latest book. He goes to a writers retreat in Wales to get some peace and quiet to work. Julia who runs the retreat is a widow who's husband drowned trying to save their young daughter but the body of her daughter was never found. Lucas becomes fa I really enjoy Mark Edwards books and was delighted to receive a copy of The Retreat. This thriller was full of myths and scary tales told to the local children about a witch they called The Widow. Lucas is a writer that is having problems finishing his latest book. He goes to a writers retreat in Wales to get some peace and quiet to work. Julia who runs the retreat is a widow who's husband drowned trying to save their young daughter but the body of her daughter was never found. Lucas becomes fascinated in this story and decides to look into the mystery. I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading more of Mark Edwards books. I would like to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    He did it again! Another 5 star read for an author who has quickly stepped into my top five favorites list.This might sound odd, but I always have fun reading his books. His content might be dark, creepy, and full of death and murder, but its just so entertaining, trying to figure out what is real or just a diversion. Oh-and another fun element is catching all references from his past novels when they pop up. He certainly likes to keep his readers on high alert!This is the 5th 5 star book I've r He did it again! Another 5 star read for an author who has quickly stepped into my top five favorites list.This might sound odd, but I always have fun reading his books. His content might be dark, creepy, and full of death and murder, but its just so entertaining, trying to figure out what is real or just a diversion. Oh-and another fun element is catching all references from his past novels when they pop up. He certainly likes to keep his readers on high alert!This is the 5th 5 star book I've read by Edwards, and each one I have had the pleasure of reading with my GR buddy Christine. We always start out so confident, thinking we know Edwards so well now that there is no way he will be able to pull the wool over our eyes like he has in the past. Knowing how Edwards likes to throw multiple characters in the mix, we were ready to weed out the throw away ones. Next there is the plot, which once again we were confident in our knowledge that Edwards is going to trip us up with false leads and a bunch of distractions, but this time we'll be able to avoid those traps and stay one step ahead.So how did we do? We failed miserably...And I couldn't be happier about it!The Retreat is full of little twists and turns that kept us both thinking outside the box. We changed our minds on the bad guy a few times, got all tangled up wondering what was real versus urban legend, and most importantly we never saw that last twist coming! Brilliant!I can't wait to see where Edwards takes us next time. Because next time there is NO WAY he's going to fool us again. ;)ARC provided by NetGalley
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    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 their rural home. Alone and broke, Julia opens up her house as a writers retreat.The body of Julia's daughter, Lily, has never been found after the tragic accident when her husband and daughter drowned. Julia thinks her daughter is still alive somewhere. When Julia opens up her house as a writers' retreat, Lucas, a horror writer, becomes intrigued with Julia 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 their rural home. Alone and broke, Julia opens up her house as a writers retreat.The body of Julia's daughter, Lily, has never been found after the tragic accident when her husband and daughter drowned. Julia thinks her daughter is still alive somewhere. When Julia opens up her house as a writers' retreat, Lucas, a horror writer, becomes intrigued with Julia and her daughters disappearance, that he hires a private investigator to try and find out what happened to Lily. Strange things start happening at the writers' retreat and Lucas hears rumours that the house is haunted. There is also a local myth that every thirty five years a child has to be sacrificed to the Red Widow. Will Lucas find out the truth? You will need to get yourself a copy of this suspenseful and creepy novel that's full of twists, and with a final curve ball thrown in just when you think you have worked everything out.I would like to thank NetGalley, Amazon Publishing, Thimas & Mercer and the author Mark Edwards for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    When Lucas, writer of a best selling horror novel, books into a Writer's Retreat near his old childhood home in Wales he doesn't expect to walk into what could be the set for one of his own books. He just wants to immerse himself in writing his next book and making his publisher's deadline. Instead he not only finds himself investigating the recent disappearance of a child but also uncovering secrets about another child who disappeared 35 years ago, when he and his family still lived in the area When Lucas, writer of a best selling horror novel, books into a Writer's Retreat near his old childhood home in Wales he doesn't expect to walk into what could be the set for one of his own books. He just wants to immerse himself in writing his next book and making his publisher's deadline. Instead he not only finds himself investigating the recent disappearance of a child but also uncovering secrets about another child who disappeared 35 years ago, when he and his family still lived in the area.As well as being a psychological thriller, this is quite dark and creepy with elements of horror. As a writer of Horror stories, Lucas should know better than to go traipsing off into the dark woods where the Red Widow is said to lie in wait for stray children, but he keeps doing it and bad things happen. An excellent gothic tale weaving old folklore, ghosts and legends into modern events for a spine-tingling story. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Thomas and Mercer for a digital copy of the book to read.
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  • Sarah Joint
    January 1, 1970
    Just the right amount of creepy, this would be an amazing story to curl up and immerse yourself into, a perfect one-sitting read. It is dark and atmospheric, chilling and absorbing. It gets a bit wild and hard to believe at times, but it's so well-crafted that I didn't mind. Mark Edwards has mentioned that he drew inspiration from his little girl returning from school and sharing that her classmates were talking about the old "Bloody Mary" tale. Most of us heard variations of that story when we Just the right amount of creepy, this would be an amazing story to curl up and immerse yourself into, a perfect one-sitting read. It is dark and atmospheric, chilling and absorbing. It gets a bit wild and hard to believe at times, but it's so well-crafted that I didn't mind. Mark Edwards has mentioned that he drew inspiration from his little girl returning from school and sharing that her classmates were talking about the old "Bloody Mary" tale. Most of us heard variations of that story when we were young, and this book reminds us of that slightly excited, nervous, and just a little afraid feeling we had. Julia lost her whole family in one day. Her husband drowned as he tried to save their daughter Lily, while Julia could only watch helplessly from the shore because she cannot swim. While his body was recovered, they never found her daughter... and she believes she's still out there somewhere, alive and waiting to be found. Perhaps she was taken by a stranger, swallowed into the woods before her parents could notice and they just assumed she'd fallen into the water. With no proof either way, she seems doomed to never know.Two years later, she has opened her home to writers who seek a peaceful retreat to work on their craft. One of them is Lucas, who is here for inspiration. His previous work was a horror novel, and it was very successful. Now he's experiencing a bit of writer's block. He's unaware of Julia's past, and she's clearly unaware of his, as his first book dealt with missing children. Lucas immediately feels a sort of connection with Julia when he finds out about her tragic past, as he's experienced devastating loss of his own. He quickly becomes a bit obsessed with finding answers for her. If Lily didn't drown, where is she? Could she still be alive? Or is she still in the river? As the writers at the retreat get to know each other, some strange things begin to happen around the house and in the woods... is he getting too close to the truth?I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Thomas & Mercer, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
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  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    I am a big fan of Mark Edwards work and jumped at the chance to read his latest novel 'The Retreat'. Lucas is a horror novelist and when facing writers block decides to stop at a writers retreat. The Retreat was set up two years ago by Julia who 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. When Julia opens her house as a I am a big fan of Mark Edwards work and jumped at the chance to read his latest novel 'The Retreat'. Lucas is a horror novelist and when facing writers block decides to stop at a writers retreat. The Retreat was set up two years ago by Julia who 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. When Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat, one of the first guests is Lucas, 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.What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?Mark Edwards certainly knows how to write very good stories, this book is full of suspense, thrills and I am sure will be a big success.I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas and Mercer for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    So... I've heard nothing by excellent things about Mark Edwards. Surprisingly, this was my first book that I've read by this author.Julia's husband drowned trying to save their daughters life but her daughter's body was never found. Julia still has hope that her daughter is alive due to not finding her body. Julia has now converted their home into a writer's retreat (this is so awesome!!!) One of her first guests at the retreat is Lucas whom is a horror novelist. I would say Lucas sort of takes So... I've heard nothing by excellent things about Mark Edwards. Surprisingly, this was my first book that I've read by this author.Julia's husband drowned trying to save their daughters life but her daughter's body was never found. Julia still has hope that her daughter is alive due to not finding her body. Julia has now converted their home into a writer's retreat (this is so awesome!!!) One of her first guests at the retreat is Lucas whom is a horror novelist. I would say Lucas sort of takes Julia under her wing and wants to help Julia find the answers to what happened to her daughter. Lucas hires a private investigator to help solve this missing case for Julia. Strange things start to happen at the retreat... hearing noises to possibly ghost sightings eh? Hmmm... do we have a haunted retreat on our hands here ;).I was super excited to read this one and felt that it started out strong and then it lost my interest in and out. I felt like it picked up towards the end again though. I loved the paranormal-ish type aspect to this novel! I'll give Edwards this that he definitely keeps his readers guessing as to what the heck is going on! I have to say that I wasn't overly impressed with this one. But, nonetheless is was an ok read for me... nothing spectacular. 3 stars for this one.Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the advanced arc in exchange for my review. Publication date: 5/10/18Published to GR: 4/30/18.
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  • Malina Skrobosinski
    January 1, 1970
    "It was time to go back into the dark." Truer words have never been spoken! That's how I felt going into this book. When I can finish a novel within 24 hours, you know it's a winner! I blew threw this one everyone! Let me tell you... this one is so full of twists it's like you're on a roller coaster in complete darkness and you don't know which way you're headed. Mark Edwards delivers yet another gripping and chilling novel. Lucas Radcliffe, a best selling horror novelist, is on a tight deadlin "It was time to go back into the dark." Truer words have never been spoken! That's how I felt going into this book. When I can finish a novel within 24 hours, you know it's a winner! I blew threw this one everyone! Let me tell you... this one is so full of twists it's like you're on a roller coaster in complete darkness and you don't know which way you're headed. Mark Edwards delivers yet another gripping and chilling novel. Lucas Radcliffe, a best selling horror novelist, is on a tight deadline, one that is fast approaching. In an attempt to meet this deadline he makes a decision to attend a writers' retreat. Yes, the seclusion and atmosphere should be exactly what he needs to get him back on pace. Only shortly after arriving he learns that Julia, caregiver and owner of the writer's retreat, Nyth Bran, is also suffering a terrible loss. He learns about her husband who drowned in the local river trying to save their young daughter who they believed fell in, though her body has never been found. Julia believes that her daughter never fell into that river. She believes that her daughter is still alive, that she's out there somewhere and that someone has her. Lucas, now too distracted to write by what he has learned of Julia's past decides he wants to help and hires a private investigator. Only, he doesn't tell Julia about it because one, he doesn't want to get her hopes up, and two, he's afraid of her reaction. She might not be so understanding of his generosity and mistake his kindness for his own personal gain. It's not far into the investigation and things hit a dead end. Suddenly, Zara, the private investigator says there's nothing else to investigate, and the police have done all they could to locate Lily, and then she too disappears. Lucas becomes unsettled by her disappearance, and suddenly people who have been questioned about Lily's disappearance are turning up dead. Surely this can't be coincidental. The townspeople believe that Lily was sacrificed to The Red Widow, a witch that eats the souls of young children. An urban legend, no different from Bloody Mary or the Boogey Man, but the problem with small towns, is that there is someone that always believes, and when you believe, fear can be a powerful motivator. Can I just say, I loved how Mark Edwards included little references to his previous work, such as Jackdaw Books, The Shropshire Viper, and of course the magpies. I also loved how he makes references to some inspiration he's found in previous work, such as The Diary of a Young Girl and The Chronicles of Narnia. "As we entered the room we saw Karen, leaning into the wardrobe and yelling as if she'd discovered Narnia but the door to the magical kingdom had slammed shut." It's clear that with this novel he found inspiration in many different pieces of work, which considering he writes psychological thrillers speaks highly about him as an author. I could see the bit of fantasy mixed in, but of course, it overflowed with suspense and mystery. This was an excellent read with well developed characters, lots of suspense and twists, really, what's not to love? And that ending! Oh my! I highly recommend this to everyone! I want to thank NetGalley, Amazon Publishing, Thomas & Mercer, and of course, Mark Edwards for allowing me the chance to read this fantastic novel in exchange for my review! I can hardly wait for the next one Mr. Edwards!P.S. I want to thank my new friend, Victoria, for buddy reading this with me!
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  • The Book Review Café
    January 1, 1970
    When I think of a retreat it conjures up images of somewhere quiet , an oasis where you can rest and reflect or write, somewhere you feel safe, well that was until I picked up The Retreat by Mark Edwards, who turns an idyllic setting into something far more sinister. Steeped in atmosphere and disturbingly creepy The Retreat is a reminder of why I’m such a fan of Mark Edwards writing. Lucas, a horror novelist, arrives at the retreat hoping to write his next book, but within days of his arrival, t When I think of a retreat it conjures up images of somewhere quiet , an oasis where you can rest and reflect or write, somewhere you feel safe, well that was until I picked up The Retreat by Mark Edwards, who turns an idyllic setting into something far more sinister. Steeped in atmosphere and disturbingly creepy The Retreat is a reminder of why I’m such a fan of Mark Edwards writing. Lucas, a horror novelist, arrives at the retreat hoping to write his next book, but within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of strange events, are the events linked to Lily a missing child? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?It’s great that the author doesn’t conform to a specific genre, with elements of the supernatural, horror and psychological running through its veins you are never quite sure where the author is heading with an unpredictable plot. Mark Edwards maintain the overwhelming sense of suspense and unease throughout. The tale is shrouded in local folklore, and spooky ghost stories, the author does a fabulous job in evoking the horror, the fear and trepidation around such tales. Told in the present peppered with chapters told from the missing child Lily’s POV you get a feel for Lily, her fears that are grounded in the folklore tales, her worries about her family, it was these chapters that I found the most intriguing and also the most creepy. These chapters were the ones that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, made me jump at every noise, and kept me reading long into the night (with the lights on of course!)Steeped in atmosphere with a backdrop of creepy settings, and an array of characters who as the reader you can’t help but mistrust, Mark Edwards has written another outstanding book. I never thought the author could top The Magpies one of my favourite books ever, well until now but The Retreat is definitely his best book yet, it’s unpredictable, engaging with one of the most deliciously satisfying endings I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommend. All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.com
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    After reading the fabulous The Devil's Work and The Lucky Ones was I really looking forward to reading The Retreat. The creepy cover and blurb added to my eagerness. A missing child and an old house with secrets? Count me in! The Retreat is one of those books that have all the ingredients I like when it comes to thrillers, a mystery, a group of people that don't know each other and a place with a history of troublesome events. Unfortunately, the story never got more than OK for me which trust m After reading the fabulous The Devil's Work and The Lucky Ones was I really looking forward to reading The Retreat. The creepy cover and blurb added to my eagerness. A missing child and an old house with secrets? Count me in! The Retreat is one of those books that have all the ingredients I like when it comes to thrillers, a mystery, a group of people that don't know each other and a place with a history of troublesome events. Unfortunately, the story never got more than OK for me which trust me bothered me quite a lot since it has everything I usually like. However, I found myself not really engrossed in the story. Yes, I wanted to know the truth and the characters were not bad. I just never felt that heart-pounding intensity that the previous two books had, especially The Devil's Work. It never got creepy or even truly surprising. It's just OK. I liked the book, but I did not love it. If you are easily scared is this book perhaps more of a hit.However, the writing is good as usual. The story has a flow to it, and the present story with a connection to past events was interesting and the very last part is good and I will even say that the epilogue is great. The epilogue felt so deviously good that I did feel like the book at least ended on a high note!I want to thank Thomas and Mercer for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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  • Mandy White
    January 1, 1970
    Mark Edwards never fails to deliver... I have just devoured this book in one sitting. I could not put it down, I had to know what was happening and why!! I am a big fan of this author and jumped at the chance to read an early review copy thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing... thank you so much for the opportunity.This is a dark and creepy and at times scary book. An old house in Wales is the setting for The Retreat. After losing her husband and daughter 2 years ago, Julia decides to turn h Mark Edwards never fails to deliver... I have just devoured this book in one sitting. I could not put it down, I had to know what was happening and why!! I am a big fan of this author and jumped at the chance to read an early review copy thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing... thank you so much for the opportunity.This is a dark and creepy and at times scary book. An old house in Wales is the setting for The Retreat. After losing her husband and daughter 2 years ago, Julia decides to turn her home into a writers retreat. One of the first guests is horror writer Lucas who needs an escape in order to help his writers block.Julia is convinced that her daughter is still alive as no body has ever been found. Lucas gets caught up in the story and decides to investigate himself with the help of a private detective. Strange things start happening at the house and to all the people in the local town. The atmosphere of this book is eerie and the characters are so well developed that you start to feel scared for them. I can't recommend this book enough!!! Nice work Mr Edwards.
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  • Adrian Dooley
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this one to a point. Interesting story that gets a little to surreal towards the end. Lucas, a writer of horror stories decides to return to his childhood hometown in Wales, to a writers retreat to try and work on his new book. What he finds is a story that he could easily have written himself and he is drawn into the mystery and becomes obsessed with finding out what has happened at this retreat house. The owner Julia is a young widow. Her husband drowned two years ago while out walking Enjoyed this one to a point. Interesting story that gets a little to surreal towards the end. Lucas, a writer of horror stories decides to return to his childhood hometown in Wales, to a writers retreat to try and work on his new book. What he finds is a story that he could easily have written himself and he is drawn into the mystery and becomes obsessed with finding out what has happened at this retreat house. The owner Julia is a young widow. Her husband drowned two years ago while out walking with her and their young daughter Lily who apparently was swept into the river first and her husband lost his life trying to save her. Julia though is convinced that Lily is alive. She has kept her room as it was and will do anything to find her. She’s an emotional wreck, barely able to function. Mark becomes sucked into the mystery of whether Lily did drown or may actually still be alive and missing. So much so that he hires a private detective to see what she can uncover about the case and the small town itself. When fellow writers at the retreat start to hear singing from the walls in the house and strange noises it seems like the house may be haunted. A local folklore tale of a Red Widow in the woods snatching a child to eat every few decades is taken a little too seriously by most of the locals and, although Lucas has no belief whatsoever in ghosts or Red Widows or anything supernatural, the more he investigates the more it seems there may be supernatural elements at play. A few of the locals certainly believe 100% in this old tale and are swamped with fear. I certainly enjoyed this one overall. The tone of the book is very appealing and the undercurrent of “something bad” lurking just off the page is brilliantly and atmosphericly written. Whether that something bad is supernatural or natural, well the reader is kept guessing for large parts of the book. The belief that something supernatural is occurring in this small town proves to be the most potent force. Whether there is or isn’t is secondary. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second if I’m honest. The set up is intriguing and the whole thing is very nicely paced and the use of flashback very effectively used. As Lucas delves deeper into the goings on you become more hooked on the story as you wait to see what the hell is going on in this town. As the curtain of the mystery is slowly drawn back in the second half, I found myself a little disappointed. A complicated and slightly convoluted set of reveals certainly left me underwhelmed and a little more deatached from the book and the characters than I had been in the first half. The final few pages I found fairly annoying and a cheesy end. Predictable and not at all chilling, just a little silly. Despite my misgivings about how this book did eventually play out, I did quite enjoy it. It’s my first Mark Edwards read but there was enough in it to make me want to read more by this author. Many thanks to Netgalley, Thomas & Mercer and Mark Edwards for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sean Peters
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Net Galley, the publishers and Mark Edwards for an ARC copy for an honest review.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 hor Thank you to Net Galley, the publishers and Mark Edwards for an ARC copy for an honest review.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?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, and becomes involved emotionally with Julia the owner of the Retreat.From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.The Retreat is for me a darker, more chilling, more urban psychological thriller than any previous books of Mark Edwards.A four star book why not a five star, well just a little t00 much urban, too dark, although as always I enjoyed the writing , the tension, the various collection of characters, not sure if I can believe in witches, myths the folk story part of the book.But the tension and a whole collections of suspects keeps you guessing all the way, right to the end.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars Only my second book by Mark Edwards and I can safely say that he' s quickly becoming a favorite. I struggled to put this book down. It was highly engrossing! This was part mystery, part gothic, and based on urban legends. You know? Like those myths you hear about when your a kid: bloody mary, the boogeyman, etc. This one has the Red Widow. It seems that everyone in this small English town is very superstitious about the Red Widow. When Lily goes missing while out for a walk with her p *4.5 stars Only my second book by Mark Edwards and I can safely say that he' s quickly becoming a favorite. I struggled to put this book down. It was highly engrossing! This was part mystery, part gothic, and based on urban legends. You know? Like those myths you hear about when your a kid: bloody mary, the boogeyman, etc. This one has the Red Widow. It seems that everyone in this small English town is very superstitious about the Red Widow. When Lily goes missing while out for a walk with her parents, people assume that she was sacrificed to keep the Widow satisfied. Her mother Julia believes that she's still alive and never gives up hope that they will be reunited. When Julia opens up a writers retreat, strange things begin to happen. The occupants begin hearing a child singing, seeing people that aren't there, items going missing, a strange voice telling them they aren't welcome there. Is any of this real or are there other other forces at work? One of the writers, Lucas, starts investigating but inadvertently begins a horrible chain of events. Very well written, to the point where your wondering if the Red Widow truly is real. Mark Edwards truly knows how to write a mystery!*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Malia
    January 1, 1970
    The Retreat is another hit by an author I have come to rely upon for clever and complex psychological thrillers. The setting is very atmospheric, the plot engaging and the characters multi-dimensional. Recommended!Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.comThanks to Netgalley for supplying me with a copy of The Retreat in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Because I'm a huge fan of A) Creepy stories B) Urban Legends and C) Mark Edwards novels, The Retreat was a hit with me that's for sure. Although I'm not heading into any woods for the rest of my life. Lucas is a horror writer (actually I'd quite like to read the book he wrote that was a bestseller) who heads off to a writing retreat in rural Wales, hoping to finish his difficult next book. What he finds is a widow with a missing presumed drowned daughter, a local urban legend and things that oft Because I'm a huge fan of A) Creepy stories B) Urban Legends and C) Mark Edwards novels, The Retreat was a hit with me that's for sure. Although I'm not heading into any woods for the rest of my life. Lucas is a horror writer (actually I'd quite like to read the book he wrote that was a bestseller) who heads off to a writing retreat in rural Wales, hoping to finish his difficult next book. What he finds is a widow with a missing presumed drowned daughter, a local urban legend and things that often literally go bump in the night...The Retreat is creepy and delicious with twists and turns, a dose of Blair Witch, a hit of psychological thriller, plus a dash of edge of the seat action in a descriptively eerie setting. Clever and addictive with a beautifully placed ending - I loved it.Fuller review on the website nearer publication.
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  • Linda Strong
    January 1, 1970
    This is not the first I've read of Mark Edwards' books ... but it is the best! Reminds me a bit of a horror story within a horror story .. although this isn't really a horror story at all.Lucas, a horror novelist, has checked into a remote writer's retreat. When his girlfriend was killed, he lost his ability to write. Maybe what he needs is a long quiet, relaxed stay without the sight and sounds of a busy city. Too bad that's not what he gets.Julia has opened her home and made it into a writer's This is not the first I've read of Mark Edwards' books ... but it is the best! Reminds me a bit of a horror story within a horror story .. although this isn't really a horror story at all.Lucas, a horror novelist, has checked into a remote writer's retreat. When his girlfriend was killed, he lost his ability to write. Maybe what he needs is a long quiet, relaxed stay without the sight and sounds of a busy city. Too bad that's not what he gets.Julia has opened her home and made it into a writer's retreat. Two years ago her husband drowned and her young daughter disappeared. She thought keeping busy with new people in her home would quiet the voices in her head that insist her daughter is still alive. Too bad that doesn't work.Lucas gets lost in the superstitions and stories that seem to permeate small villages. Secrets are buried under many years of stories and rumors. It gets serious when Lucas starts hearing voices ... a girl singing ... he's either losing his mind or could it possibly be a spirit from the other side. Lucas is a realist and as a novelist, begins to research.The one story that around is of a witch/woman who demands a sacrifice every 35 years. The townspeople take a child and tie her to a tree in the forest. The child disappears and every parent takes a breath knowing 'their' child was not taken.Past and present come together to create a perfect storm. Who ... or what ... seems to be haunting the retreat?This is one of the most compelling books I've read in a long time. I was drawn in from the very beginning and it didn't let go until the final word .. an ending I promise the reader will never see coming.Many thanks to the author / Amazon Publishing / TBC Reviewer Request Group / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy of this terrifying crime fiction. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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  • Maya
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited about this book and i’m happy to say i wasn’t disappointed at all. The characters were well developed (Lucas was a bit vanilla but i guess that’s why he gets along with Miss bossypants Julia). One particular part of the book near the end felt like watching an episode of Scooby Doo for adults and I mean that as a compliment. On the more serious note, the story is captivating and chilling at times, Julia is a character you can’t not empathize with as well as Lucas, he’s a plain good I was excited about this book and i’m happy to say i wasn’t disappointed at all. The characters were well developed (Lucas was a bit vanilla but i guess that’s why he gets along with Miss bossypants Julia). One particular part of the book near the end felt like watching an episode of Scooby Doo for adults and I mean that as a compliment. On the more serious note, the story is captivating and chilling at times, Julia is a character you can’t not empathize with as well as Lucas, he’s a plain good guy seeking answers and you just want to go along on this dark adventure with him. I have nothing bad to say about this book I only wish “Sweetmeat” was an actual book because i would very much so enjoy reading it. It’s about a monster who feeds off children’s souls because they taste sweet and at the end of this fiction within fiction book, the heroine trades her own soul but because she’s not a child her soul is bitter and the monster chokes on it. How poetic! I give 5 stars to Sweetmeat. Thanks to the publisher from whom I recieved the copy of this book via Netgalley
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