Leta’s Book Review: The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Adult

Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon&Schuster Canada for a copy of this ARC.

The Writing Retreat was a wild ride. I had no idea where it was going at any point and it always took me to strange and unexpected places. A setting like this one creates a crazy, mysterious thriller: an exclusive, month-long writing retreat that features a collection of random strangers converging on this house in the middle of nowhere with no cell service or internet. It’s the perfect setup for a thriller, with excuses for isolation that actually make sense in modern times.

Alex, our protagonist, is a great point of view to have during this novel. She blindly trusts Roza, the author whose house they’re residing at, in the beginning, it quickly becomes clear that Roza’s expectations are above and beyond reason. When a snowstorm cuts them off from the rest of the world, things take a dark turn. A turn I never would have expected it to take.

The twists in this thriller were clever, never quite giving the reader everything until the final climax.

This is a great, unpredictable read that will have you questing everyone in this house. Fans of Clue (both the board game and the movie) will be enthralled by this dark house full of secrets. Writers beware: who knew that going on a retreat with your favourite author could have such dire and deadly consequences?

As always with thrillers, check out the content warnings before heading in. And if you’re reading this on February 21st, 2023, happy publication day to The Writing Retreat! It’s now available to be bought and read to everyone’s sinister delight.


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