Cover Image: The Retreat

The Retreat

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THE RETREAT, Book 2 of the Elin Warner Detective Series   
Sarah Pearse   

 Elin Warner is at it again. Finding the connections between seemingly good friends who actually bring out the worst in each other. Especially murder.

 While I did not find this one as interesting as the first one, it still did not disappoint. Full of deceit and murder, it was a captivating read. I recommend reading the first book in the series before this one. In fact I wish I had read it again before reading this one. Still I give it a 4 out 5 stars.
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We are treated to the return of Detective Elin Warner in another exclusive setting, this time an island with a tragic past.  Three sisters and their significant others decide to try out a new island retreat.  One of the sisters pulls out of the trip the last minute but soon shows up murdered on the island.  Elin is called in to help investigate and gets pulled into the stories of the cursed island.  Cursed because a serial killer hunted and killed school kids in the past.  Did the wrong person go to jail and if so has the killer returned?  A good suspenseful detective story with a troubled main character.   Im giving this 3.5 stars rounded to 4 stars.  The length of some of the suspense scenes are tediously long and it took me awhile to remember who was who.  Otherwise a fairly good mystery!
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Sara Pearse never fails with eeriness she provides with her story! I love the plot of this entire book and felt so isolated with the characters. I found some of the characters relatable in choices I would have made. I love this story from beginning to end, a great who dunnit!
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This book is one of my favorite books this year. Sarah Pearse's The Sanitorium was one of my surprise favorite books when it came out and this book continues that streak and makes the Elin Warner series one of my most eagerly awaited serieses.
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This book is great! I love this authors books. Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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After her first novel, THE SANATORIUM, there was no doubt but that Pearse can write amazingly compelling scenes of storms and destruction, along with an eerie subplot. She has proven this again in THE RETREAT. This is one of the rare cases, however, when having read the first detracts from the second. Pearse seems to be adhering to a bit of a formula – an isolated closed room sort of plot set in a newly opened resort and including a gothic twist.

That said, she sure can write a page-turner and entering the world of either of the books will leave the reader completely wrung out. In THE RETREAT, the isolated setting is a new eco-retreat on an island off the coast of England. A family of adults is having a comped reunion there, based on the social media status of one of their members. A death of one of the family occurs, and Elin, the main character of THE SANATORIUM, suppresses her insecurities about returning to duty to investigate. As threats escalate, more guests are found dead, and tales of horrific events at an old school on the site add a creepy element to the investigation.

There is a strong psychological component to this book, and Pearse's skill with characterization supports that. We feel Elin's self-doubt and anxiety during the investigation and are immersed in her relationships. Her new partner is a good balance for her, providing stability and sensitivity at the same time. Her boyfriend, the architect who designed the retreat, is unsupportive, but has his reasons. The people in the book are complex enough to seem real.

Pearse transports the reader to the island and the retreat, and the descriptions of the landscape add to the ominous tone of much of the book. The aforementioned storm is so powerfully described that it is nearly impossible to put the book down during the extended scene at the end of the book. However…

Suspension of disbelief is absolutely necessary for this book. The physical feats that Elin manages in order to bring the plot to conclusion are well-nigh impossible. She rises from near death to bring the villain to justice more than once, each time feeling a rush of adrenaline that somehow makes her superhuman. In the moment, as I was reading, I was willing to forgive this because of the high level of tension I was experiencing. In retrospect, I'm not so sure. Nonetheless, the book kept me up at night reading, inadvisably given its pace and content. I hope that in future books, Pearse is able to diverge from her formula and give us more believable plots without sacrificing the intensity of her writing.
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I requested this title because I enjoyed "The Sanatorium" and in general I love a mystery with a strong sense of place. I was not captivated by "The Retreat" like I was with the last one. It is a very different setting and the cast of characters were not relatable. I still did get spooky vibes, but the mystery took much too long to reveal. I don't think the flashback / multiple time frames worked for this setting like it did for the last one. Ultimately I think the main detective character tanked this one for me. I will hesitantly recommend this title but I don't think it will be as popular as her last one.
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At the beginning of second book of the series I didn't like or care for Jo at all she seemed very bitchy to everyone she came across especially with Elin when she would going around the group for questioning of happened to Bea and this second book pulled me like the first book in this series from the beginning like the sanatorium did when read that one.
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Relaxing summer read. Well, as relaxing as reading about murder and mayhem on a cursed island can be! 

Lots of suspicious characters to choose from, and a super creepy atmosphere. The writing can be very haunting in some spots and will make you want to leave the light on a little longer after you finish reading. 

I liked getting to know Elin a little better and what makes her tick. She has internal battles just like the rest of us and honestly, her flaws are what keep me interested in her. 

Definitely recommend this one and look forward to another in the series! 

Note: This is the second book in the Elin Warmer series so would recommend reading The Sanatorium first (it's fantastic).
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I should have paid closer attention when selecting this book, as I didn't realize it was #2 in a series when I decided to give this one a go. I didn't love The Sanitorium, so The Retreat is already at a disadvantage, for me. If you loved The Sanitorium, you will absolutely love this book. If you want to dive further into Elin Warner's story, this is the story for you. All the questions you wanted answered after reading The Sanitorium will not be completely resolved in this novel, so I'm guessing this might continue into a trilogy, or perhaps a longer series. If you loved The Sanatorium, this is great news, as book #2 is superior to book #1, and you'll get to continue on your journey with this character. I liked the setting of this novel a little more and Elin seems a bit lighter, and more confident in this story. Overall, this is a fast read, and if you are a fan of whodunnits, and liked The Sanitorium, this is right up your alley.

Thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Viking, Pamela Dorman Books, for the opportunity to read this book in exchange of my honest opinion.
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Suspenseful read featuring the main character from Author Sarah Pearse's previous book, the story centers around a resort with a morbid past where people come to relax and recharge - although coming to a resort with that type of history proves to be neither relaxing or recharging for the characters in this story.  Guests meet with fateful endings, and although it seems to be traced back to a decades old murder case, Detective Elin Warner and her partner Steed feel there's more than meets the eye here.  A good story that starts off a bit slow at first, then picks up speed with a satisfying ending that leads the way to a possible third book.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy.
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I really enjoyed Pearse's first novel, and I assumed that the second novel featuring the same main character detective would be just as enjoyable. However, despite the atmospheric locale and intriguing plot line, I found myself not being able to stay invested in the story. It didn't hold my interest as well as a thriller should.
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A thank you to Netgalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is what I would call a medicre thriller. Interesting setting, another rich getaway mystery trope addition. A lot of characters, too many to really keep track of and rather slow moving. Readable, but easy to put down and/or get distracted.
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An island getaway sounds like the perfect escape from a scorchingly hot summer, but author Sarah Pearse can’t resist juxtaposing a gorgeous setting with a gruesome crime. Her 2021 book The Sanatorium was a Reese’s Book Club pick and she’s back with a new summer thriller that revisits some of the characters we met in The Sanatorium.

Titled The Retreat, her newest novel follows detective Elin Warner as she unwraps the disturbing historical past and horrific present of a relaxing island getaway.

I recently spoke with Sarah Pearse about her setting choices, character development and more. Here’s our conversation.
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Welcome back to Elin Warner as she attempts to solve murders happening at a posh wellness retreat at Reaper’s Rock. The book starts the action in the first chapter and doesn’t hold back. 

There are a lot of characters in this one and keeping track of them can kind of be a pain- none of them, save for Elin, are really likeable, either. 

I think this is a solid four star read with definite spooky summer vibes that will absolutely be gobbled up by fans of the first Elin Warner novel. 

**Many thanks to #PenguinGroupViking, #PamelaDormanBooks, and #NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.**
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Sarah Pearse does it again.  I really liked The Sanatorium and The Retreat was just as good.  It did take a little while to get into because of the slow pace and it was also lacking the suspense in the beginning but if you wait it out it does pick up and gets better.  

The only thing is. The Sanatorium left off with a cliffhanger.  And it looks like The Retreat leaves you with the same cliffhanger. 

All in all I say read this book.  I can’t wait for the next Detective Elin Warner story. 

A huge thanks to Netgalley and Viking books for this galley and the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest review.
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I read the first book in this series and really liked it, and I really enjoyed this one too. I will admit it seemed to follow the same formula as the first book, but that was ok as I enjoyed it. The setting was great and creepy and I would be happy to read more books that feature Pearse’s characters.
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This is a very entertaining who-dunnit by a talented author. An isolated retreat on a remote island is the perfect setting for a friends' reunion. However, a murky past of murdered kids comes to bear when people start dying in the present. Detective Elin Warner, herself recovering from personal and professional issues, tries to solve the crimes, hampered by reluctant guests, a small team of investigators, and a nasty storm. I did not figure out the killer before the exciting conclusion. Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Group Viking, and Pamela Dorman Books for providing an ARC.
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Thank you Penguin Group and NetGalley for providing an e-arc for an honest review.

Detective Elin Walker is back and facing her fears. She is called to Reaper’s Rock, a local infamous island, to investigate the circumstances of the body of a young woman found near the hotel. The more she and her partner, Steed, uncover the more secrets begin to surface. Secrets about the mysterious island and its haunting past, about the guests being targeted and about her own past. 

I was immediately immersed in the story and the location. The beauty of the beach and the chilling forest that covers the island. Elin’s story continues in a beautiful way with her stepping back into the job she loved and fighting to find herself and save those around her. I recommend reading the first book, The Sanatorium, to better understand Elin and her past and how it affects her actions in this book. Elin is a character that is flawed but relatable and you cannot help but root for her. I am excited to see where her story goes and how she will develop as a character.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Viking for the eARC. Sarah Pearse excels at catching my attention. I'm always wondering who the killer is and how everything is going to wrap up in the end--mostly because the dots that get connected in the end don't really seem to connect as well as they could or be foreshadowed enough for the reader to put things together. If this were a standalone novel I would say it's a decent thriller. However, this isn't a standalone novel. This is book two in a series and it is incredibly similar formulaically to the first novel. In both novels, our heroine, Elin, finds herself in remote locations where murders start to happen. In both novels, Elin is hesitant and unsure of herself. In both novels, Elin and her beau, Will, are at odds because Elin seems to be putting her job before their relationship. In both novels, those in said remote location must be gathered together in one big group for safety and questioning. And in both novels, while things get tied up in the end, it doesn't make as much sense as I feel it should. Will I read the third book? I'm not sure. I will say, I enjoyed this book more than I enjoyed The Sanatorium, so that's a plus, but I wouldn't say this is a stellar thriller or novel. For those who enjoyed The Sanatorium or mainstream, formulaic thrillers, I think this will be a hit.
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