Cover Image: The Retreat

The Retreat

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Member Reviews

The story begins with a corpse in a pool and Eva and her partner refurbish Jose's inherited property into a health center in Spain. They offer the retreat to select guests, unaware they are facing a vendetta against them. The vengeance thriller/locked room mystery is part of a crowded market/genre. A little underwhelming and full of typos. The descriptions of the surrounding were good however.

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The prologue to the story opens with a body in the swimming pool. Then we learn Eva and her partner have used their life savings to renovate Jose’s inherited home and turn it into a wellness retreat in Spain. Then the main story opens with them opening the retreat to a handpicked number of guests for a trial run. That way they can iron out any problems before the main summer season begins. Little do they know, none of the invited guests are there just for wellness; they are all harbouring some sort of grudge against the couple and someone is determined to exact revenge.

This sort of book is part of a very saturated market. The revenge thriller/locked room mystery takes place in some lush exotic setting. I’ve said before that to succeed in this genre, you either need something unique or you need to write extremely well. Sadly, this book does neither.

The book is slow, the writing is poor, the plot is weak and the characters lack personality. The twist at the end isn’t that much of a surprise. Some of the writing with phrases like ‘Eva’s eyes were as blue as the sea’ is bordering on inane.

In contrast, the settings for the retreat in Spain were described wonderfully and the book has a great cover. Ultimately though, I couldn’t recommend this story to anyone so it’s only a 2 star read for me.

My thanks to NetGalley, Bookoutre, and Karen King for the ARC in exchange for an open and honest review

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The Perfect Dream..
When Eva and Jose realise their ultimate dream of opening a health retreat nestled in the picturesque Spanish mountains everything seems stunningly perfect. Absolutely nothing can go wrong. Can it? Well, it turns out that maybe it can. When the first group of guests arrive, Eva is horrified to find among them Saskia, a former best friend. So begins a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Someone is trying to sabotage the retreat and the perfect dream is turning into the perfect nightmare. But who… and why? Engaging and immersive suspense with a well imagined and atmospheric setting, a plot populated with an eclectic and well drawn cast and a narrative bubbling with twists and turns.

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I enjoyed the premise of this book, with the past coming back to haunt the female lead and the obvious perpetrator claiming innocence - leaving confusion and worry as to who could be seeking revenge. The characters were well-developed and engaging, and I loved the background setting and the foundation of the plotline. I have definitely read thrillers in the past where it was obvious what was going on and who was committing all of the terrorizing, but that was not the case in this book. I also enjoyed getting the perspectives of the different characters. Some plot points overall were a bit overdone or prolonged, but in general this is a great book to read if you want to be guessing until the end of it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this Arc in exchange for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book. The pace was perfect, the characters were interesting and it kept me guessing throughout. I had so many theories as the book went on, but didn't guess the ending.

Definitely give this a read, I'll be reading more from this author in future.

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“The Retreat” is a thriller mystery by Karen King. Wha I liked about this book was that it seemed that everyone (and I mean everyone!) in this book had a reason for sabotaging the retreat location. There are a few inconsistencies, as someone pointed out, but for the most part they didn’t deter from my overall enjoyment of this book. I will say, though, that this book takes a while to get going - and even after it’s gotten going, at times the pacing was achingly slow. I found the last chapter to be a bit unnecessary … maybe it could’ve been combined somehow into Eva’s final chapter? It was a decent read, but not necessarily a memorable one … other than the final who-done it twist(s).

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The Retreat by Karen King has everything you want from a mystery. You will be jumping from suspect to suspect as you work your way through the book - not everyone came to the retreat to get a cheap vacay, someone came for revenge!

Loved the dual pov, getting to know Eva & Jose was a treat. Their drive to get their dream up and going (even when the worst begins to happen)

Tons of twists and turns, which really kept you guessing until the very end! Exactly what I want in a mystery/who don it! Would recommend this to anyone looking for a book they can’t figure out in the first few chapters. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read this ARC!

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This started a bit slowly. But once things puck up its a white knuckle ride to the end. And the beautiful setting adds a unique element that I loved. The cast of characters was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the ending was a bit of a let down after such an intense build up.

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I love the vacations gone wrong trope, so the blurb sparked my interest. "The Retreat" by Karen King is a slow-burn tale of revenge and betrayal set in beautiful Spain. Revenge best served cold? Not always.

The book follows a young couple named José and Eva, who have a dream to open a health retreat. After inheriting his run-down grandparents' house in South Spain, Jose worked with his girlfriend to convert the rambling villa into the beautiful place it is now. They decided to do a trial run before officially opening the place in the summer, so they offered a big discount to the first round of guests. The guests are an eclectic mix of characters: Saskia - who was once a close friend of Eva, Carlos - an estranged cousin of Jose due to a family feud, and two couples: wealthy and snobby Adrienne and Sean, and the couple Bianca, a librarian, and Nathan, a policeman.

Eva isn't entirely open about her past with her partner and is afraid that Saskia might reveal something to Jose. Meanwhile, Jose has his own secrets to worry about. When things start to go wrong - someone left the gate to the vegetable patch open, and the goats ate the vegetables, among other incidents - it seems someone has it out for them and is trying to sabotage the retreat. As mysterious incidents continue to plague their retreat, Eva and Jose find themselves caught in a web of secrets, lies, and suspicion.

With plenty of suspects to choose from and red herrings aplenty, one is left wondering who the guilty party is. I enjoyed the sense of impending danger. The book is written in the third person and alternates between Carlos, Jose, and Eva's perspectives, occasionally featuring chapters in the first point of view of the villain.

I loved the setting, the premise, and the writing, but a couple of things felt far-fetched and made me raise an eyebrow, such as the cause of the family feud, the motives, and the secret Eva hid from her partner. While I understand the roots of the feud, they seem to take it too far. As for Eva, she should have been more honest with her partner. We know almost at the start what the secret is, and while I understand where she is coming from, it isn't something she should have kept mum about.

Although the book was slow to start, it still kept me intrigued throughout. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the activities and found the idea of the workshops fresh. I also liked José and Eva and admired the work they put in to fulfill their dreams. I didn't guess the identity of the villain(s), which is also a plus. It is a resort I won't mind visiting, without the incidents of course... I enjoyed the book greatly and definitely recommend it.

* Thank you NetGalley and (publisher) for the opportunity to read this arc. All opinions are my own.

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I love thrillers that take place in a vacation destination. There’s so much fun to read. This thriller takes place on a holiday, gone awry.

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First of all I like to say this is a gorgeous cover. I could easily imagine myself in one of those sun loungers, reading a book and enjoying a glass of fresh orange juice.

People go to a retreat to unwind and to recharge their batteries, but at this moment this the atmosphere in he villa could not be less relaxing and it seems like someone is determined to turn 'El Sueño' into ''El Mal Sueño'... Believe me there are quite some candidates battling for that title.

I had two persons on the top of my list specifically... No, no, no did you really think I was going to tell you? No way! I will let you make your own list. :)

So who is travelling all the way to sunny Spain to try to make Eva and José's future dream go up in flames? Who is holding a grudge? Is the past coming to haunt them?

This book is a textbook example of what Murphy's law is about ;) and I admire Eva and José for their determination and not giving up. They immediately come up with solutions to make their guests happy. 

I found this an easy read and I loved the twist and the ending. It proves that something beautiful can come out of something nasty.

Throughout the book I was constantly thinking 'I can trust this person', then being forced a few moments later to change my mind. LOL. I like this a lot.  5 stars 

Thank you

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I found immense pleasure in reading this book. The character development and the intricate dynamics between them were a particular highlight, as was the vivid portrayal of the story's setting. While the story begins at a somewhat leisurely pace as the characters are introduced, it truly comes to life and becomes riveting once the suspense takes hold. There were a few instances that felt extraneous, and a few moments that seemed a bit far-fetched, but on the whole, I found this to be an excellent read and would enthusiastically recommend it.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with an advance copy of this book (ARC)!

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An easy summer read and quite inoffensive.

I didn’t enjoy it particularly, though I did finish it. I couldn’t relate to the characters and I struggled with the inference that José or Eva were about to unveil their big reveal.

There were so many repetitions during the book - Carlos never meeting his grandparents, his jealousy, Eva and the driving accident - just to name a few. It felt as though the repetitions were used to pad out the story, but I found it irritating.

I found the ending weak I’m sorry to say.

I liked the book cover and the author’s description of the property and surrounding mountains.

I rate this book 2 stars.

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I really enjoyed this book. I appreciated getting to know the characters and their dynamics, as well as reading about the location of the story. It does start off a little slow as the characters are introduced, but it really gets entertaining and interesting once the suspense starts! There were a few moments that I felt weren't necessary, and moments that I thought were kind of out-of-reach, but overall, this was a great read, and I would highly recommend it.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC!

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English Eva and her Spanish partner, José, have restored an old house in the Spanish countryside and are planning to open it for wellness retreats. José has borrowed heavily to make their dream come true and is desperate for it to be a success. They decide to have a “soft opening” with just six guests who are offered a half price holiday while any problems are ironed out. Unfortunately for Eva and José, one of the guests harbours an old grudge. Things start to go wrong – little things at first, but by the end of the five-day holiday, there is murder afoot.
Karen King's latest has distinct aspects of Agatha Christie. Gradually, we learn that almost all the characters have secrets in their past and almost any of them might have a reason for wanting the retreat to be a failure.
As the tension ramps up, so suspicion shifts from one guest to another. I ended up suspecting almost everyone in turn and I didn’t see the answer coming.
Karen King is a well-established writer and the book is an easy read. Her background as a romantic author is reflected in the romance between Eva and José at the beginning and another blossoming romance in the course of the story, but she does not allow these relationships to get in the way of her mystery. She also brings her love of Spain to the book, and particularly of Spanish food. The meals José provides (he's a trained cook) are described in detail and the book will give you lots of menu ideas if nothing else. Eva’s wellness techniques are also covered which didn’t interest me as much, but that may just be because I’m greedy.
One of the things I struggle with in Agatha Christie books is the way that all the characters/suspects are introduced in a bunch and then I spend the rest of the book trying to remember which one was the pilot’s ex-girlfriend and which had the sister who had an affair with the pianist. This could so easily have been the same, with six guests arriving together and some important relationships between them and their hosts. It’s not a problem here, though. There’s an English couple (she’s the one with a dark memory), an American couple, both weird but she’s weirder, an old friend of Eva (shares a Dark Secret) and a cousin of José (also with a Dark Secret). King makes it easy to keep track of them all and their respective links to Eva and José.
Whodunnit? And will Eva and José’s relationship survive once their own secrets come out? No spoilers here: you’ll have to read it to find out.
A fun read to extend that summer feeling a little longer.

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does a great job of keeping you on edge and continuously guessing as to what is going to happen next. The plot was well-developed and the characters were interesting and complex. The setting of the retreat was described so vividly that it made me feel like I was right there with the characters.

Overall, I would highly recommend "The Retreat" to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller. It is a page-turner that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for allowing me to read and review this book.

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I enjoyed this book a lot! It had me questioning every guest and wondering who was actually guilty. So many twists and suspense throughout the book. I wish the beginning was a little bit more fast paced but the rest of the story made up for it. The ending was so unexpected which is exactly what I love in a book!

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!

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Great and interesting story!! I was a bit on edge from so many suspects, but I guessed correctly and enjoyed reading the story. I do feel like some things weren't needed, but overall I liked this book. Will definitely be reading more of this author.

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This is a clever book, full of mystery and suspense! As I read, I was suspicious of everyone and the psychological grip had me feeling keen to find out the ending. I finished it in a few days and found it an easy book to read, but also quite exciting. The first quarter was a bit slow, pace built by the halfway point and in the final quarter, twist after twist was revealed. It was a good reading experience overall.

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I didn’t finish this one, I started to feel that it was dragging and began to notice inconsistencies in the story and found spelling errors. One I started nitpicking, I knew I needed to be done. It’s unfortunate but I don’t think Karen King’s writing style is for me. I’m bummed because this story had so much potential but just didn’t do it for me.

Thank you NetGalley for granting me access to this title!

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