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The Retreat

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Member Reviews

I’ve never read anything by this author and was intrigued by the cover and title so thought I’d give it a go! Psychological thrillers are my favourite genre and so I was intrigued to see if this lived up to expectations!

Jose and Eva have opened a relaxation retreat in Spain and are giving six people a 5 day stay at half price! There are so many plans but everything seems to go wrong and there are multiple suspects as they all have the opportunity to do so, the motive behind it and also secrets which we start to find out as the plot progresses.

The pace of the book is quite slow and I think it’s written like this to give the readers time to decipher who’s behind the mysterious events which keep happening. It is written mainly from Jose and Ava’s narrative which I thought did slow down the overall pace of the plot slightly.

I would classify this book more as a mystery rather a thriller but it was still worth the read. Would recommend to others.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

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BLOG TOUR REVIEW

Review for 'The Retreat' by Karen King.

Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Karen King, Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous

Publication date FRIDAY THE 13TH OCTOBER 2023.

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY KAREN!!!!

This is the fourth book I have read by this author. I have previously read Karen's 'The Stranger In My Bed', 'The Mother-In-Law' , 'The Perfect Stepmother' and 'The Family Reunion' and I would highly recommend reading them all!!!


This novel consists of a prologue, 77 chapters and an epilogue. The chapters are short to medium in length so easy to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case!

OMG!!! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! WHAT HAVE I JUST READ!?!?!? Karen King you are a writing legend!!!


Wow!!! Well fair play the first thing I must say is congratulations to Karen King on yet another HUGE success!! Absolutely blooming fantastic!! I never did work out what was happening and that is quite a feat considering it is quite hard to shock me now that I have read so many suspense and thrillers yet I never did see any of those mind blowing twists coming!! Anyway on with my review....

This book is fantastically written with vivid descriptions that absolutely grip the readers attention and puts them right in the middle of it all feeling the hair raise on your arms and feeling the sweat run down your back. The cover is absolutely stunning and if that doesn't make you want to get absorbed into this page turner the synopsis definitely will!!!

Yet ANOTHER huge success by Karen!!! This book has got to be one of the most heart racing books I've read in a long time!!! It had me hook, line and sinker from the first page and I could not put it down!!! Every time I said one more chapter it ended on a cliff-hanger and I just had to know what was going on!!! If you are going to read this then clear your day because it is truly unputdownable. I started this yesterday afternoon and finished it at approx. 2am, I read it in one sitting and although I'm knackered today it was 1000000% worth it!!! It really does make you think how life can change so quickly and how different decisions can change a life. It also makes you think how looks can be deceiving. It is filled with holidays, stunning atmospheres, lies, secrets, twists, turns and everything you could want from a psychological thriller along with some MASSIVE BOMBSHELLS which will leave you absolutely shocked!!! I for one was NOT expecting any of that at all!!! A true page turner, this book is absolutely compelling with an addictive storyline that kept me guessing throughout. I was continuously questioning who was doing what!! I absolutely loved the gorgeous surroundings of Spain and the villa. Karen's evocative writing talents ensures the reader is flown away on holiday where they can taste and smell the Spanish food cooking, feel the sun on their face and is left with their heart pounding! I just could not put my kindle down and I was absolutely gutted when I came to the end of the book! It genuinely felt like I had escaped rainy Wales for a few hours and was soaking up the sun and sea air in the beautiful Spanish villa, even with everything going on it was still a stunning area. The storyline was filled with suspense, drama, secrets, explosive twists and everything you could ask for in a page turner. Filled with suspense, explosive bombshells and tension this book is one must read psychological thriller!!

Clear your schedules and get ready to be whisked off to Spain for an intriguing, page turning who dunnit by an extremely talented author!!!

It is set over multiple time lines. When books show what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present I find it really helps the reader (if it is well done) understand why things are happening and what has lead to the present activities and decisions. It also shows the bigger picture.

The characters were very realistic and well rounded and again their personalities reflected the storyline and how they would act, etc perfectly. The descriptions gave a really good in depth view of how José, Eva and the rest of the characters were feeling and what they were thinking. The characters were complex and each seemed to be hiding their own secrets which leaves you questioning who is telling the truth and who can be trusted, if any of them. One moment I was all for one character and the next Karen managed to completely flip things on their head leaving me with no idea of what I was thinking!!! I love the fact that there are some sections of the books that tells us how an anonymous protagonist is feeling and what they are thinking as it gives the reader an insight into the reasons behind events. I really liked Eva and José's characters but whether this changed or not I will leave you to read this amazing book and work it out yourself. I will say that by the end of the book my opinions on certain characters changed from the beginning then the middle and then again at the end!!! Each of the characters were well developed, unique and thanks to Karen's fantastic evocative writing skills they all came to life before my eyes. I was absolutely shocked when the characters true personalities came to light and it took me a while to believe it even though I was "seeing" it happening myself. That is all I will say as I don't want to run the risk of dropping any hints or spoilers. However, whether you love or hate these characters, they all have their own strong unique personalities and they all bring the story to life playing their roles perfectly.

Yet another HUGE SUCCESS by this extremely talented author. This is EXACTLY why you are one of my favourite authors Karen and here is to your next success 🥂!!

Make sure you read to the very end of the book to read the first chapter of Karen's 'The Mother-In-Law' which I have actually read myself and it is just as addictive as this book and I would highly recommend reading it!!

Overall a page turning addictive psychological thriller that will have your heart racing and will blow your mind with the explosive twists.


296 pages.

This book is just £1.99 to purchase on kindle, free with kindle unlimited and £8.99 in paperback via Amazon which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!!

Rated 5 /5 (I LOVED it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook.

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Sometimes when we banish people from our pasts from our lives it’s a=fir a good reason,
Jose and Eva have worked hard to open their retreat. Their first batch of guests keeps them busy and threatened.
All manner of the things go wrong as readers discover more of the secrets Jose and Eva harbor.
It kept,me guessing but I did correctly assume who was the main culprit.
After what one character did to Eva no way would I have allowed that person back into my life.
I after reading this book felt like I needed a retreat but not at The Retreat.

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It’s not often that I DNF a book, but here we are. The Retreat had me retreating from it. I made it halfway and thought, “this has to get better”, pushed to 60% but that is as far as I go. The market of thrillers seems to be saturated with these stories of revenge that take place in a remote setting - I’ve read quite a few and each one has its own quirk or twist to keep it interesting. This one seems to just be drawn out forever and is very repetitive. We get it - someone wants revenge on Eva and Jose, who have opened up this retreat for a trial run weekend. Yet somehow every person there is from their past. Little things go wrong. Who done it? We hear a lot about Jose’s garden and him cooking, and Eva giving massages. But not once did I feel intrigue or “thrilled”. Sorry to say this is a no from me, which doesn’t happen often. Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Select for this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. Pub date: 13 October 2023

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The setting of this book sounds divine. It is set in Andalucia, Spain. A wellness retreat in a beautiful setting, what could possibly go wrong? There are six guests and two hosts. All are harboring some sort of secret. Jose and Eva have worked hard to turn his grandparents' old homeplace into a dreamy wellness retreat. They decide to make an offer to potential guests for a large discount in order to have a trial run to see how things will run in their new villa with guests present. You will immediately see that there are some secrets floating around from each one's past. Someone has a secret that is worth killing for. First, there is sabotage everywhere that could be discounted as accidents, but we know better. Then Eva starts getting written threats. Eva has a secret that not even Jose knows about. Their guests are not unknown to their hosts as they soon realize. The tangled web of deceit on all sides will cause you to scratch your head at times.

If you like mind games, you will thoroughly enjoy this one. Karen King is one of those authors who loves to play mind games with her readers, which makes this book a thrilling read. Even though the setting is beautiful, there is something murderous going on marring the beauty. As I read this book, I suspected every single one of the guests at some point and time. So, don't let the beautiful cover fool you, relaxation is the last thing you will get at this wellness retreat, at least for this week. Kudos to Karen King for stringing me along until the end.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC copy of The Retreat! I really wanted to love this book but it fell short for me. The story line has so much potential and Eva is a very likable character. However, the internal dialogue and character interactions felt awkward at times. I never felt the suspense of the story and the ending fell a little flat and was predictable. I am new to this author so maybe the writing style is just not for me, but I am very thankful for the opportunity to read it!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the copy of The Retreat by Karen King.

This one sounded very promising and did have a good storyline, however I felt it was too wordy and seemed to drag on to get to the end. I do like the alternating perspectives it was written from as well as how the story progressed. I would consider trying more by this author.

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I have to say Karen King sets the location for this story beautifully. I was right there at the ‘The Retreat’ nestled in the lush vegetation of the Andalucian mountains. And what a twisty journey I had! The author’s excellent characterisation drew me immediately into José and Eva’s story and their dream to turn José’s grandparents’ run-down villa into a holiday and wellness retreat. The scene is set when, having decided on a trial run and offered a 50% discount to six guests, both José and Eva recognise the names of two people on the list who they worry will bring with them ghosts from their pasts. The couple, as people do, are keeping secrets. As are some of their guest. We embark on a suspenseful journey of sabotage and intrigue where suspicion abounds culminating in attempted murder. But who is the culprit? What is their motive. Is it a simple case of someone seeking revenge?
In psychological fiction we often have characters who are unlikeable. We might be engaging readers with a character who is likeable. Can we forgive a likeable character who does something which appears morally ambiguous? It’s a tricky question, one which Karen King poses perfectly keeping you reading right to that last page. I loved The Retreat and would highly recommend it!

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I enjoyed this one but wanted closure sooner as it seemed everyone had a motive for revenge! Jose and Eva have just opened their Relaxation Retreat in Spain and are giving 6 people a 5-day stay at 50% off to see how it goes. But nothing goes right! Everything is planned; there are garden-fresh meals, massages by Eva, poolside activities, and hikes up the mountain. But things keep going wrong; gates left open, red paint in the pool, art projects ruined, and a fire that could have been deadly. There are many suspects as they all have motives, many opportunities, and many secrets they are hiding. It's a fast-paced thriller that kept me guessing until the end!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

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Welcome to our little slice of paradise in the heart of the Spanish countryside! The setting is nothing short of perfect – a serene retreat where you can escape the chaos of daily life, immerse yourself in nature's beauty, nourish your body with healthy delights, unwind with soothing massages, and rejuvenate your soul through yoga and mindfulness exercises.

For José and Eva, this is a dream turned into reality, a haven they've lovingly crafted just for you. And before our grand opening, they decided to offer a sneak peek – a soft launch at 50% off for six lucky individuals from our social media family.

The response was overwhelming, and our chosen six have arrived! Let's meet our intriguing guests:
Saskia - Eva's long-lost best friend, estranged for years due to an unfortunate falling out.
Carlos - José's enigmatic cousin, the so-called "black sheep" of the family, shunned by his father's side.
Adrienne & Sean - Adrienne, who shares a connection with one of the owners, brings her partner Sean along, forming a duo with secrets of their own.

A diverse and captivating group, isn't it? But as the days pass, peculiar events begin unfolding around our villa. The story unfolds with a hint of the classic board game "Cluedo." Twists and turns, accusations and suspicions, and an air of uncertainty pervade the retreat. Trust is in short supply, and the identity of the puppet master behind these strange occurrences remains elusive.

Like a well-crafted mystery novel, you'll find yourself guessing, changing your mind, and accusing everyone in your thoughts. It's a slow-burning tale that's expertly penned, captivating your attention and leaving you craving more. I devoured it over two nights, unable to put it down. If you're seeking a gripping mystery without the gore, this one's a gem.

Karen King's storytelling prowess shines through, and I'm already anticipating my next journey through her literary world.

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Hahaha well before going to a retreat I'll check on the owners and their past 😅 😂 damn what a ride this was hahahaha!!!!

I wanted to read this author long ago and I was so excited when I got this arc from the publisher. And I'm not disappointed!!! I really wasn't expecting this end and all those twists were like nah wait hahaha like when you're reading, and something happens so you go back a few lines to make sure you understood 😅 Love that feeling.

Now I won't lie, I think the book could have been shorter but it didn't bother me. I enjoyed this book, a lot and I'll definitely read more books by this author really soon!!!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the chance to read this ARC book and give my honest opinion. This
engrossing story captured my interest from the beginning and kept me guessing throughout the book. The characters were well written, and the story kept getting more mysterious. The Retreat, a villa in Spain will be a culinary and wellness place for relaxing and reconnecting but a trial run proves to be almost deadly. From a body in the pool to many other unexplainable happenings and a near death experience it will keep you guessing because all the supposed strangers at the trial run have connections to the owners. It has a very satisfying epilogue and I highly recommend the book.

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I found The Retreat to be an OK read. I did enjoy it but it didn't grip me as much as I was expecting from the description. It was quite a slow burner which did make it difficult in parts.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my ARC.

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The Retreat is a suspense novel by Karen King, a new author to me. I stumbled upon the book through NetGalley (thanks for the early copy) and was intrigued by the description. A couple opens a B&B retreat in their Spanish home, one the husband inherited from his recently deceased grandparents. They open for 6 people to test run the operations, and it seems many of the guests have connections to the owners, tho the owners don't know it at first. Great concept, one that requires readers to look the other way at the volume of coincidences (totally cool with this, it's what we enjoy reading). Overall, the plot was well-paced but I felt the dialog was too stilted... often awkward. It only threw me off a few times, and I think maybe just one more thorough read could've made it shine even brighter. I liked the author's vibe, and I'll read another book by her. Loved that it was set in another country than my typical reads.

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Title: The Retreat
Author: Karen King
Pub Date: October 13, 2023
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was my first read by this author. Although it was a little slow to start, it turned out to be a fun whodunnit that kept me guessing.

When Jose and Eva inherit his grandparent’s house, they decide to renovate it and turn it into a beautiful peaceful wellness retreat. Before officially opening to the public, they offer a trial run for 6 people, offering a big discount to help promote it and make sure everything is set up to run smoothly. To their surprise, it turns out that everyone that signed up for the trial stay is somehow connected to either Jose or Eva and one of them is not there for a vacation.

Since all of the guests have a history of conflict with either Jose or Eva that includes secrets that yhey don’t want revealed, they find themselves trying to figure out what motivated them all to sign up for the trial. Crazy unexplainable things start to happen and Jose and Eva wonder if they are in danger and which one of the guests is there for revenge and to sabatoge their new beautiful retreat. Can they figure out who is behind it all before it’s too late?

Thank you to @netgalley and @bookouture for this ARC.

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Relaxation...recovery...revenge...

When I saw other reviews were mixed and a couple DNF, I was surprised as Karen King has always been a winner for me with three out of four of her thrillers being 5 stars. But having trudged my way through this one, I can see why. It was quite drawn out and very much a slow burn. But the premise was intriguing so I stuck it out. OK, so it did get better but not till around 65% when things really started to pick up and by that stage I was flipping the pages at the speed of light. Before that, it was all yoga, breathing, nature walks and munching kale, olives and chia. Yeah, na.

Eva and Jose have spent the past two years renovating the villa he inherited from his grandmother after her death some five years before. Their dream was to open a wellness retreat...a place to relax, reflect and just unwind. Eva, who had her own baggage of secrets, was now a wellness coach practicing yoga, mindfulness and massage. Jose was a chef who grew his own vegetables and everything at this retreat came from what they grew themselves.

As an introductory special, they decide to offer six places at half price for a week's trial before opening to the public for summer. The bookings are snapped up right away and Eva is shocked to discover that her old college friend Saskia is among the guests. That wouldn't be so bad if Saskia didn't come with her own set of problems and the past she represented to Eva that she has tried so hard to put behind her. Saskia betrayed twice before...is she coming to do it again? Or is she just over thinking things?

Jose's cousin Carlos is also amongts the guests, whose families have been estranged since before they were born and no one revealing what the feud was about. But is Carlos jealous that their grandmother left the villa to him? Is that why he has come? To get his revenge for an inheritance he feels he should have also had a part in?

The remaining guests are two couples. One British - Nathan and Bianca. The other American - Sean and Adrienne. Both saw the opportunity for rest and relaxation under the sun. But are they all they appear to be?

Someone is out for revenge. But who? And who are they seeking revenge against? Eva and her secret past? Or Jose and his inheritance? Or is it something else altogether?

I had to shake my head at Eva who jumped up and down at Jose keeping secrets when she is doing the exact same thing! Pot...kettle...and all that. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, though Eva and Jose were kind of sweet. Most of the guests were pretty unlikeable. But then that's the nature of the beast.

There were plenty of twists and I liked the ending because comeuppance was had for the villain in the end, but it took a lot to get there. It wasn't King's best but it was still entertaining enough.

I would like to thank #KarenKing, #Netgalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheRetreat in exchange for an honest review.

This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.

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5 stars don't do this book justice, its easily a 5+ from me! This read is psychological fiction at its finest.

Eva is a woman escaping a troubled past, who is living out her dream by opening a wellbeing retreat in rural Spain with her Spanish partner, Jose. The couple offer a discounted price for a trial break to celebrate their opening, and to their surprise, both see a name from their past amongst the holiday makers! This realisation is met with some unease from both Eva and Jose, and unfortunately their fears are justified when things start to go wrong on the retreat, is this mere bad luck, or is someone sabotaging the retreat?!

This is one of those wonderful books where multiple motives are possible, casting suspicion over every guest with the delightful use of smoke and mirrors further adding to the intrigue. I won't say more for the risk of providing spoilers but I will absolutely say that this is a book that readers of this genre will utterly devour!

My thanks to NetGalley, author and publisher for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an advance copy.

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Eva and Jose are making their dreams come true by renovating an old Spanish farmhouse and opening a retreat. They plan a trial opening with a small number of guests, determined to impress them so the word spreads about the retreat. However, things immediately begin to go wrong and it seems like one of the guests is trying to ruin things. A brilliant, tense thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Loved it!

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DNF. Unfortunately, the dialogue in this book is far too stilted for me to continue. The premise is great, but this is not how real people speak to one another. I’m sure it’s a good book, but I can’t get past it.

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Things don’t always go as planned!

Are you superstitious? With a Friday 13th publication date, King’s upcoming release will shatter all our preconceived notions about unlucky. Let this established author show you that good things (such as her addictive psychological thriller ‘The Retreat’) do indeed happen on this infamous date!

King writes to examine the impact of secrets and lies and in doing so, she brings us to question if some mishaps are actually plans that were doomed from the start.

Jose and Eva are on the cusp of realizing their dream - turning Jose’s grandparents’ home tucked away in the Andalucian mountains of Southern Spain into a wellness retreat. In an effort to tame pre-opening day jitters, they decide to offer an Easter trial run - a discount to the first six people to book. The result is an eclectic mix of past and present, strangers and friends with ulterior motives. El Sueño, meaning ‘the dream,’ will soon be the center of attention - and not the kind that Jose and Eva had in mind!

The story is built around secrets and the three R’s; relaxation, recovery, and revenge.

Readers are kept on their toes as they know that the foundation (of both the marriage, friendship, and business venture) will crumble when the secrets are set free. When we start to see ‘cracks’ appearing at this soft opening leading up to the big day, readers are hooked and pointing fingers as they follow the mysterious events, looking for answers. Added to this tension is the question of sabotage - is someone purposely sabotaging this dream? Why? Perhaps recovery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

King is masterful at misdirection and at creating a setting we’d all love to visit. Her love of Spain and Spanish cooking will pull you into this richly layered story and her well-plotted mystery will keep you entertained.

While there are some eye-raising moments, this is a captivating read that will ignite your inner sleuth.

Will Eva and Jose’s relationship survive the secrets? Who’s sabotaging their dream? You’ll need to pick up King’s upcoming release come October 13, 2023.

I was gifted this copy by Bookouture and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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