Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: August 13th, 2019
Synopsis: Sherri Smith illuminates the dark side of the self-care and wellness industry in a thrilling ride of revenge perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers. The Retreat is a twisting, bone-chilling suspense that asks: how well do you really know your friends?
A weekend that will change them forever…if they survive.
Kate Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked her and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.
Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are The Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends—-one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship—-Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself might just drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.
Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.
At about 50 pages in to The Retreat, I thought it was going to be a campy take on a familiar theme and that this was going to turn out to be a “meh” review. But then it took some twisty turns down the dark side, and I wound up enjoying this much more than I originally thought.
This is both a plot driven and character driven tale. No one here is very likable, at least at first. However, all the characters turn out to be much more complicated than they first appear to be. The story is told from former child star and scandal-ridden Katie’s POV, as well as those of her sister-in-law-to-be, Ellie-Rose, and her two best friends, Carmen and Ariel. All four women have secrets that they’re desperately trying to protect, and the way Sherri Smith teasingly reveals each backstory was mesmerizing.
The mystery itself was tantalizing and made for a true page turner with its shocking twists. While I was pretty sure who the villain was by the halfway point, I couldn’t figure out their motivation, so when the big reveal came I was caught by surprise. While the ending for the most part tied up Katie’s story, there were other loose ends that left me with some questions.
Overall, The Retreat is an entertaining and quick read that will make you think twice before going on a wellness retreat. There are several issues that come up that could prove a trigger for some readers. These include: child molestation/rape, substance abuse, gory violence (near the end) and self-harm. This is the first book I’ve read by Sherri Smith, but it certainly won’t be the last!
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