The Writing Retreat have been a decent little thriller, and there's definitely glimmers in here of a better book under the overwhelming amount of baggage that comes packed in the 400 or so pages this one operates with. Between the angst-filled characters, the laborious pace, and the generous helping of the ludicrously incredulous, this one's a massive letdown, which is a real shame given what this has to work with. The premise for Julia Bartz's debut novel is enough to instantly hit the buy button but trust me, you may want to hold off on doing that. In its simplest form, five women are selected for a month-long writing retreat where they're whisked off to a remote estate operated by a feminist writer called Roza Vallo. Among those invited is Alex, a struggling novelist who has writer's block and serious underlying issues with her old best friend Wren. As fate have it, Wren is also selected to be part of this refuge and the pair are forced to work in the same area together. As they settle in and learn the rules of this little game, Alex soon realizes that there could be murderous intent running through the veins of the other ladies. Can she survive? As mentioned above, this is one slow book and it takes a good 200 pages or so before anything significant happens beyond the ladies showing up at the retreat. Even then though, The Writing Retreat stumble […]

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