Book Review: The Retreat by Sarah Pearse

I was offered an advance review copy of The Retreat by NetGalley – and having really enjoyed her previous book, The Sanatorium, I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t realised at that point that it’s the next book in a series featuring DS Elin Warner – so that was a surprise when I started reading.

For those of you who actually read the blurb before picking up a book, here it is:

This is a warning for all our guests at the wellness retreat.
A woman’s body has been found at the bottom of the cliff beneath the yoga pavilion.
We believe her death was a tragic accident, though DS Elin Warner has arrived on the island to investigate.
A storm has been forecast, but do not panic. Stick together and please ignore any rumours you might have heard about the island and its history.
As soon as the weather clears, we will arrange boats to take you back to the mainland.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your stay.

As the book starts it is very reminiscent of Sarah Pearse’s previous book – lots of middle class people in a holiday environment, and again there were a lot of names and connections to juggle in your head – but you can’t blame the author for sticking to a format that worked so well with her debut novel which was a Sunday Times best seller!

There is a family and their other halves on holiday at a wellness retreat which is set on an island off the coast of Devon. The island has had a chequered past – but the recently opened wellness retreat is supposed to give it a new lease of life – and has been designed by Elin’s partner – and his sister is the manager. As with The Sanatorium, you kind of have to suspend your disbelief at co-incidences – of which there are very many!

The family have their own history and relationships which all appear quite fractured – I have to say I didn’t particularly like any of them and wasn’t rooting for one person in particular. However the shared dislike didn’t detract from enjoyment of the book.

Overall it twists and turns and is an enjoyable read. Whilst it would stand alone – I would suggest reading the author’s debut novel would mean you understand Elin’s back story a bit better.

The Retreat was published late July 2022 – so if you like the sound of it you can read it right now.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my ARC.


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