The Writing Retreat
by Julia Bartz
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Pub Date 21 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 07 Mar 2023
Atria Books, Atria/Emily Bestler Books
“Sex, suspense, and the supernatural fuel this propulsive debut.” —People
“Darkly satirical and action-packed....An absolutely splendid debut!” —Wendy Walker, nationally bestselling author of Don’t Look for Me
The Plot meets Please Join Us in this psychological suspense debut about a young author at an exclusive writer’s retreat that descends into a nightmare.
Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.
But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she must discover the truth—or suffer the same fate.
A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female relationships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.
A Note From the Publisher
“I loved this chilling, tightly plotted, feminist, seriously effed-up thriller...and not just because my brilliant sister wrote it! Can't wait for everyone else to fall in love with this wicked debut.” —Andrea Bartz, NYT bestselling author of Reese’s Book Club pick WE WERE NEVER HERE
"A sexy, thrilling, compulsive mediation on art and competition amongst women who ought to be sisters, only something malignant gets in the way.” —Sarah Langan, award-winning author of GOOD NEIGHBORS
• "A wild ride from page one . . . This thrill-packed story brims with secrets, intrigue and murder. I dare you to put it down." —Janice Hallett, internationally bestselling author of THE TWYFORD CODE
"THE WRITING RETREAT is bonkers in the best way, and it left me with a brutal case of author envy." —Layne Fargo, author of THEY NEVER LEARN
"NIGHT FILM meets THE SECRET HISTORY in Julia Bartz’s bold, brilliant, and genuinely scary debut . . . Palpable atmosphere, sinister characters, full-body chills, jaw-dropping twists, and stay-up-all-night suspense. I am obsessed with this book. I never wanted it to end." —Megan Collins, author of THE FAMILY PLOT
"Equal parts nightmare and erotic fantasy as five would-be writers are pulled deeper into the secrets of Blackbriar and its inhabitants."—Jennifer Fawcett, author of BENEATH THE STAIRS
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 1418 members
Best thriller of the year. Writers retreat turns competitive and potentially deadly!!! I absolutely loved this book. It had all the elements of the best thrillers a great mystery, interesting characters, inclement weather and a scary mansion.
This book is insane in the best of the ways. It is an exhilarating thrill ride — and that is frankly an understatement.
The tension in The Writing Retreat is palpable from Page 1. Julia Bartz does a fantastic job of keeping it building throughout, leaving readers riveted with each new twist, decoy and reveal.
I had so many theories reading this and while one key one panned out, most fell apart to a very satisfying — if not slightly ridiculous — conclusion. Being intentionally vague here to avoid any spoilers, but let’s just say I was really hooked by several refreshingly new plot devices (demon historical fiction, anyone?). Bartz also managed to keep me stressed — in the ways that you want while reading something like this — on the edge of my seat while furiously reading every last bit.
If you’re in the market for a thriller that keeps you guessing and bypasses traditional genre tropes, look no further — this is absolutely it.
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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