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Reviews of ‘The Writing Retreat’ by Julia Bartz

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Review 1

Reviewer: @writeherereadnow (Instagram)

Everyone, supposedly, has one great book in them. What lengths would you go to get your book published?

In The Writing Retreat, a group of aspiring authors are offered the opportunity of a lifetime to spend a month living with and learning from esteemed, enigmatic horror novelist Roza Vallo.

They are told that they will each have to complete a manuscript to compete for a huge, life-changing book deal. Unorthodox lessons and harsh critiques turn out to be the least of their worries. Not all of them will live to tell the tale of their experience.

Things quickly descend into seriously macabre territory as the writers’ stories get darker and darker, intersecting with the story they are living through.

The Writing Retreat is told from the perspective of Alex, who has a bad case of writers block and a rift with her former friend turned retreat foe that’s larger than the drifts of snow slowly surrounding the house.

I couldn’t fault the setting of this closed-door, remote-location mystery. Blackbriar Estate is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s infamous Hill House, complete with its own haunting origin story.

The book proffered some seriously strange scenes that could have been left out for me, but they did serve the bizarre nature of the plot in their own way. There are some interesting, unexpected twists. I’d definitely recommend this one for a buddy read, so you have someone to chat to as you go.

Review on Instagram

Review 2

Reviewer: @reading_untamed (Instagram)

Rating: 4/5

  • Psychological Thriller
  • Fast-paced
  • Single POV and timeline

This was one of of the most exciting thrillers I have read in a while. Even though this was a told from a single POV, there were a few different characters all with very different personalities and backgrounds who were get to know.

From the moment they all got to the house I was captivated by the eerie atmosphere and with all of these characters you can’t help but be suspicious of each and every one of them. It’s a cut-throat environment and there’s a huge bonus at the end for one of them. Of course this only adds to the tension between the attendees.

The story shows how far people will go to get what they want. Besides each of the women invited to the retreat there are a few other creepy characters that add to the chilling ambience of the estate. Overall this book is fast paced, twisty and a book I would highly recommend to other thriller lovers

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Review 3

Reviewer: @denisha_meows (Instagram)

Rating: 4.25/5

I have seen so many mixed reviews about this book but I actually really really enjoyed it. it was just so unhinged and ridiculous in the best way. I loved the fact that even though it was unserious, everything still made sense. the first half felt like a normal well written thriller and the second half was just an insane fever dream.

I honestly gave TWR this high of a rating because I was genuinely entertained and had a great reading experience while reading this book (I said “reading” twice, sue me). I am glad that it did not take the supernatural route that I thought it would because that would have made it a little too unhinged lmfao.

my favourite character was the house itself; it created this eerie gothic atmosphere that I will eat up every single time in any type of media. I wish we got to explore it a lot more, from the descriptions to the lore, I wanted to see and learn more about it.

I am trying to be more picky with my 5 star reads so that’s the only reason why I did not give all 5 stars.

anyway, read this if you are looking for a ridiculous closed-door thriller with toxic friendships and characters who you will not root for. this IS an adult thriller! not ya! pls pls pls keep that in mind.

Review on Instagram

The Writing Retreat is available at the following retailers:

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