Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.
Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiancee invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends–one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship–Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.
Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.
A huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour! Please see do check out everyone else taking part in this tour!
This is gripping psychological thriller that focuses on four women’s getaway to a wellness retreat. However, instead of finding peace and tranquillity, their time at the retreat takes an incredibly dark turn and everything spirals out of control.
Katie Manning is the main protagonist and I found her to be the most intriguing character by far. Sherri spent a lot of time delving into her backstory. Once a beloved child star known as Shelby Spade, everything came crashing down around her after she was brutally attacked by her manager and left with permanent facial scars. Now at twenty seven, she is struggling to get by and is rapidly running out of money. But that isn’t her whole story… shocking and disturbing memories resurface during her time at the retreat and it certainly put her character in a whole new light. Personally I thought Katie was a deeply misunderstood character. The more the story unfolds, the more we find out about her tragic past and how much she has suffered at the hands of those she trusted most.
Ellie, Katie’s future sister-in-law, doesn’t get along with Katie and arranged the wellness retreat for some bonding time but she becomes frustrated when Katie invites her two friends, Ariel and Carmen. I felt bad for Ellie because this was a nice gesture on her part only for her to become isolated because she doesn’t know Katie’s friends and is including from their inner circle. Like the others, Ellie has her own story to tell and hers is quite significant. The way Sherri tells it is incredibly compelling. She reels you in bit by bit and then pulls the rug out from under you.
I was pleased to see that Ariel and Carmen weren’t shunned off to the side and were actually given equal time in the spotlight. They both had their own reasons for coming to the retreat and like Katie, they also had their own inner demons. Out of the two, Ariel was definitely my favourite. She came across as incredibly innocent and childlike but she was a disturbingly vulnerable character. My heart went out to her because she desperately needed help but it was clear she wasn’t getting any. I hated how she was taken advantage of and wished things could have been different for her. Carmen, on the other hand, was tough as nails and once she set her sight on something, she was determined to fight tooth and nail to get it. She wasn’t afraid to cross boundaries and had an air of confidence I admired but she wasn’t doing it for herself. Even though she did terrible things, she had her own reasons and once they were revealed, it made me admire her even more.
Naomi and Dr. Dave, the owners, operators and married couple were the most bizarre characters. I wasn’t impressed with Dr. Dave because even though he claimed his retreat helped people, he certainly had no trouble taking advantage of the most vulnerable. I was very suspicious of them both throughout and felt like I was on edge the whole time. Sherri did such a great job with these two shady characters and I felt an immense amount of mistrust towards them.
This was a slow burner but Sherri successfully drops some intriguing twists and turns that kept me turning the pages. I was interested to see where the story was going and I thought I’d had it all figured out until that jaw-dropping twist at the end. If you like intense, pulse-pounding thrillers that are sure to leave you on the edge of your seat, I highly recommend The Retreat! I’ll certainly make you think twice about going on a wellness retreat!