An absolutely jaw-dropping psychological thriller
by Jerome Loubry
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 17 Jun 2021 | Archive Date 17 Jul 2021
Where to hide when there's nowhere left to run?
Sandrine is asked to empty her late grandmother's house on a small island near the Normandy coast. She soon discovers that its elderly inhabitants haven't left the island since their arrival as children during World War II. Sandrine can tell they are terrified of someone, or something. Yet, they refuse to leave the island.
What happened to the children from the holiday camp which was suddenly shut down in 1949? And who was Sandrine's grandmother really?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 20 members
#TheRefuge #NetGalley An excellent quick read. Sandrine is asked to empty her late grandmother's house on a small island near the Normandy coast. She soon discovers that its elderly inhabitants haven't left the island since their arrival as children during World War II. Sandrine can tell they are terrified of someone, or something. Yet, they refuse to leave the island. What happened to the children from the holiday camp which was suddenly shut down in 1949? And who was Sandrine's grandmother, really? I loved it. Please read this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder Straighten for giving me an advanced copy.
I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book, by a quarter of the way through it picks and by halfway, you won't want to put it down. It is like 4 books in one, and just when you think you have an idea of what is going on, boom! another plot twist and you are starting all over again. I had to stay up late to finish it because it sucked me in and I couldn't put it down. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
This is the English translation of a book that was originally published in French in 2019. I’ve noticed that sometimes when books are translated into other languages, it can seem like something quite literally got lost in translation, but the translator for this book (Maren Baudet-Lackner) did an absolutely phenomenal job. This is a true fast-paced, page-turning, I-think-I-need-to-keep-this-book-in-the-freezer horror/thriller novel. The creepy atmosphere of the setting and the sense of foreboding that’s woven through the narration of both timelines easily transports the reader right to the island, as if you’re the one who’s there and experiencing these events yourself. It’s a story within a story and the type of book that wracks your nerves and makes the hair on the back of your neck prickle even in the middle of the day.
What a wild ride! This book was crazy but in a good way! I honestly can't await now to read the other book The Final Chapter!. Like wow is all I can say!.
‘Who rides so late tonight through night and wind?’ - Goethe Why, it’s the Erlkönig, the Erlking, the symbol of death and the loss of innocence. In September 2019 François Villemin, a lecturer at Tours University presents a case known as ‘Sandrine’s Refuge’ to his students. We all use refuges, hiding a hurt behind a forced smile, reading, listening to music or day dreaming but Sandrine’s refuge is deep, as deep as the Mariana Trench, forcing her to abandon reality and it is a very necessary refuge. Zut alors. This is an incredible book, it has taken my breath away in its complexity. It’s an enigma, a huge impenetrable puzzle where there are so many alternate realities. This book defines twisty. It’s like a maze you navigate to try to find your way out but you keep reaching dead ends. The layering in the storytelling resembles Russian dolls or to keep the Russian analogy going like layers of an onion such as on the Kremlin. I don’t want to give much away in this review because it’s one of those books you have to go into blind and without preconceptions. However, the Erlking, water, islands, clocks, cats, shoes and many other images combine to create a story of incredible power. Throughout the narrative there are some powerful images and emotional references to Nazism and this serves to demonstrate the magnitude of the story. It’s a dark black tale and people become prisoners to it but their ghostly presences haunts the pages. It’s chilling, the stuff of nightmares you don’t want to dream never mind live. There are fearful secrets despairingly locked in the mind that are shocking and horrifying you almost want to disconnect and seek your own refuge from the reality of it yet at the same time you want to play detective. What is Sandrine's truth? Where does it lie? You try to work it out and guess what? I’m wrong, every time. This is one of the cleverest, most powerful, most enigmatic books I’ve read in a long time. It’s not easy, the themes are dark and leave a bitter taste as you shudder and weep but this is a novel I will never forget. Incroyable. Ps. Superb translation too. With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Hodder and Stoughton for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Wow, where has this author been hiding and why haven’t I read more of their books! Sandrine is asked to empty her late grandmother’s house on a small island near the Normandy coast. She soon discovers that its elderly inhabitants haven’t left the island since their arrival as children during World War II. Sandrine can tell they are terrified of someone, or something. Yet, they refuse to leave the island. What happened to the children from the holiday camp which was suddenly shut down in 1949? And who was Sandrine’s grandmother, really? Lots of questions needed answers and I’m afraid it was an extra late night reading until I got them all. A page turner and definitely my type of book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What an ingenious narrative with different layers of plot and a translation to go with. Fans of psychological thrillers don’t miss it. This book should be read in one sitting. I liked it a lot more than The final chapter. Totally unpredictable.
another quick and great read from Jerome Loubry. Plot is amazing, characterisation is great, it keep me guessing right up to the end. this is the secon of his books that I have read and I cannot wait to read more. i also have to give props to the translator because they did an amazing job. Please pick up this book and read it you will be missing out if you dont.
*4.5 stars * “Who rides forth tonight, through storms so wild? It is the father with his child. He has the boy in his arms; he holds him safely, he keeps him warm. ‘My son, why do you hide your face in fear?’ ‘Father, can you not see the Erlking? The Erlking with his crown and tail?’ ‘My son, it is a streak of mist”. “Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe” When Sandrine is tasked with clearing her late grandmother’s house on an island off the coast of Normandy, France, she discovers a mysterious and frightening place with many secrets. She comes across a former holiday camp that was used just after the Second World War, and was intended to help heal the mental wounds of war for traumatised children. The austere concrete buildings, were a legacy of the Nazis military base. The buildings were to be utilised to attack the mainland, but were never used for that purpose, and instead became the living quarters for the children and staff, but there are some very strange goings on across this isolated island! Creepy and wonderfully atmospheric, with a terrifying sense of foreboding, this was an extremely clever storyline, very complex but utterly brilliant, though you’ll discover that nothing is as it seems - and I do mean nothing!
I was keen to read "The Refuge" by Jerome Loubry as I'd recently read and enjoyed ,"The Final Chapter" by the same author and thoroughly enjoyed it..........and there is a nod to the previous book in this one. Sandrine Vaudrier is a young journalist in rural France in 1986 covering stories such as a local Farmer's cows being graffiti'd when she' s told that her Grandmother,who she's never met, has died on a remote island and she's to pick up her belongings. On arrival she quickly realises that something strange is going on and the handful of surviving inhabitants have, as her Grandmother had, been on the island since just after World War 2 and are afraid to leave. Something strange is a massive understatement . She's told the story of a strange holiday camp where her Grandmother worked and the survivors stayed as children and it's murky past as a Nazi military installation. This is quite an amazing book which will have the reader guessing from the start,as it jumps around between various strange and often horrific events. I was a bit baffled at a bit under halfway on my Kindle when I thought the story was finished and had nowhere else to go.....only for a massive curve-ball to take things in a totally different direction, then another,then another. From a fairly conventional thriller,albeit a very bloody and twisted one it turns into a roller-coaster of deflections, misdirection, shocks and some outright nastiness. The Refuge isn't for the squeamish or easily-shocked with a number of subjects within the story that might upset or offend. To say more would be dropping big hints to the plot that those yet to read the book wouldn't thank me for. I normally detail a bit more of the plot of books I review but this is something very "different " and there are so many ways that even the barest extra information other than that already given would be a massive spoiler. Just when you think you know what's going on everything gets turned on its head,not just once but several times, even the kind of book it is seems to change as it goes on. While it is definitely something very different it did also remind me ,once I'd finished it,of a book by a very well-known American author,yes I know that's an annoying reference but even the specifics of that would give the game away, I'm sure others will come to a similar conclusion. This book is quite a ride and certainly not what I'd expected after reading the author's previous book . It's hard-hitting, often confusing ,shocking and very,very clever. Translator Maren Baudet-Lackner deserves particular praise, this is a very complex story flawlessly translated.