A "gorgeously written and atmospheric thriller" following a woman on a long-awaited visit to a mountain arts retreat—where she soon finds herself trapped among strangers and in a deadly race to survive (Robyn Harding).
“Magnificently absorbing and haunting . . . With a dabble each of Hitchcock thriller, cozy mystery, and domestic noir, The Retreat offers a terrifyingly fun read.” —Amy Stuart, author of Still Water
She came looking for inspiration.
Instead, disaster strikes.
But when an avalanche strikes, Maeve finds herself trapped with six other guests. They’ve lost all power, phone service, heat, and the road back to town. At first, there’s a sense of camaraderie—the fire is warm, the freezer well-stocked. But as the days pass and the storm rages on outside, tensions start to run high. Help is coming, so they just have to hold on, right?
Then the first guest meets an unspeakable death.
Followed by another.
Soon Maeve must admit how little she knows about these strangers . . . and how useless a locked door is if the darkness is already inside.
"A magnificently absorbing and haunting novel. . . . De Mariaffi’s spare yet deeply rich prose renders the isolation and claustrophobia of the mountains downright palpable. With a dabble each of Hitchcock thriller, cozy mystery, and domestic noir, The Retreat offers readers a most thrilling setup followed by a galloping sprint to the final page. What a terrifyingly fun read.” —Amy Stuart, author of Still Water
“Will probably keep you up until dawn . . . de Mariaffi has built a reputation over her last two books for weaving the elements of genre fiction with keen attention to women’s lives and a strong literary bent. . . . de Mariaffi vividly humanizes what might, in lesser hands, have been a pro-forma, overly familiar thriller. Instead, The Retreat shines, at once thoughtful and chilling, familiar and unsettling.” — Toronto Star
“The Retreat is a chilling reinvention of an old mystery favorite…The atmosphere is richly drawn, a heady mixture of artistic ambition, oncoming claustrophobia, and adrenaline-soaked sleuthing. — CrimeReads
“Take a group of artists, ambition, isolation, and violence, and add a twist of the coldest, snowiest winter you’ve ever known, and you’ll arrive at The Retreat. Yet de Mariaffi’s heart stopping thriller is powered by more than suspense—Maeve, her resourceful main character, is a mother and dancer piecing her life together after an abusive marriage, and Maeve’s journey through the novel’s danger and betrayals becomes a genuine act of grace.” —Maria Hummel, author of the Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick Still Lives
“This vivid, immersive story had me jumping at shadows. The isolated setting, the tension between the characters, the sense of danger unravelling in a place there is no escape from. Suspenseful and atmospheric, it will keep you questioning which is the biggest threat nature or people, outside or in.” —Helen Cooper, author of The Downstairs Neighbor
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 25 members
I was dying to read this book and I was absolutely rewarded. This is the engrossing story they kept me interested until the last page. This is going to be one of the best books of the year.
Mulholland is one of my favorite publishing houses, and when I read the summary of The Retreat, I knew I had to request an ARC. While I wasn't familiar with Elisabeth de Mariaffi before this book, I definitely plan on visiting the rest of her work after it. Maeve signs up for a two-week stay at an artist retreat in the secluded mountains. Determined to overcome her personal demons and focus on reuniting with her identity as a dancer, she is not prepared for the literal avalanche that strands the residents--and the terrifying events that unravel. I loved this book. I took a day to think about what I wanted to say in this review. I'll start by saying this has all the elements of some of my favorite thrillers: secluded location, locked-door tension, unreliable characters, troubled backstory. There is a solid balance between internal turmoil and external conflict, and I really enjoyed how Maeve's insecurities, doubts, and fears manifest in the world around her. Some of this reminded me of one of my other recent favorites, Zoje Stage's Wonderland. While I wouldn't say there is a supernatural theme here, there is one of spirituality, of a dissociation that comes with a major identity transition. No spoilers, of course, but de Mariaffi explores the constructs of motherhood and womanhood with unabashed confidence. She nails this on multiple levels. Women as things, bodies separate from emotion and thought, to be bent and molded without resistance. Women as sexual objects, the focus of the male gaze. Women as unilateral beings, mother or professional, one or the other, where we see the struggle between wanting more and the guilt of not being satisfied with one signifier: mother. That being said, I think many readers will relate to Maeve's struggles, and I found the larger-picture discussion about bodies and identity insightful and unapologetic. On the other hand, we also get this taut, almost nostalgic thriller, that reminded me of some of my favorite 90s slashers (think: I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream). The last few chapters were cinematic, and I held my breath for the entire last page. So. Good. Overall, The Retreat is a gripping, gutting read with crisp prose and nuanced characters. Out 07/20, add this to your TBRs now. Big thanks to Mulholland and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.
This book has a very creepy, unsettling feeling to it. From all the characters to the story, to the location. It's not an obvious in your face creepy, it's more of a quiet, something is not quite right, uncomfortableness, I really enjoyed it. The story takes place at a remote artist retreat. Maeve, a dancer who retired when she had children, is now a single mom and comes there to get some quiet away from her kids so she can restart her life. It's off-season and the group is soon trapped by an avalanche. I will be checking out more of Elisabeth de Mariaffi's books!
This book has it all! Thrilling, creepy, atmospheric and a dash of noir! I absolutely loved it. One of my favorite tropes is MC is stuck somewhere with communication cutoff and people picked off one by one. Such a good book, good writing, questionable characters and enough twits and turns to make a pretzel jealous1 Thank you so much!
This was an excellent thriller, claustrophobic and chilling (literally). The whole cast of characters seem untrustworthy, hiding secrets and schemes, and the ending was seriously intense. Being stuck in a blizzard is always a good atmospheric trope in my opinion and the isolation and intensifying cold make an excellent backdrop for this story of mystery and danger.