Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz Book Review

About the Book:

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.

My Review:

I thought this book had real potential. A thriller set in an old house with an odd author hosting a group of young women for a month long retreat with the idea of making them write a novel. You know odd and scary things are going to happen.

What I did not expect was the sexual tension. Considering it was a house full of women, the sexual tension was all of the lesbian style. There were graphic descriptions of sexual encounters, one being a vivid dream. That was something I did not anticipate and did not appreciate. There were also some supernatural elements which I had anticipated and did not mind. There was lots of foul language. These are young, career age potential authors and a few had filthy mouths and irreverent attitudes. I didn't like that either.

This book was not for me. I think Bartz has real potential. Her writing ability is good. I think this plot had real potential. It could have been a real psychological thriller. But it went in a direction I did not expect from the description and one I did not appreciate.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

About the Author:

Julia Bartz is a Brooklyn-based writer and practicing therapist. Her fiction writing has appeared in 
The South Dakota ReviewInDigest Magazine, and more. The Writing Retreat is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaBartz and Instagram at @JuliaBartz. Photo by Savannah Lauren

Atria, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

No comments: