Title: The Wilderness Retreat
Author: Jennifer Moore
Release Date: 22/2/23
I received a free eARC copy from HQ ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I release myself from the shackles of the outside world and embrace the wilderness within.
As Bella drops her son off at university, she’s devastated. It’s been the two of them ever since Asher was born. The only thing helping her through is the upcoming week-long wilderness retreat in Sweden. It’ll be her chance to reconnect and recharge.
At the retreat, Bella basks in the beauty of the modern lodge, with its luxury rooms and picture-perfect views, the glistening lake and lush forest. For the full detox effect, everyone must surrender their phones.
The holiday seems idyllic until the person who ruined Bella’s life years ago arrives, threatening everything she’s worked hard for and will do anything to protect. Suddenly, a terrified Bella is trapped in the wild, knowing someone wants her dead…
This was enjoyable. I really liked the construction of this mystery. First it is great to have a middle aged main character. I really liked that despite being successful in her career and being a single mother, she was still filled with imoster syndrome, and worry for her now adult son. Her various worries and frets really built up a picture of her life and her past while also giving a fantastic reason for her being at the retreat and trying to embrase it.
The setting was great. I felt the description of the retreat was just fantastic and really atmospheric. It both gave a calmness and a friendliness to the whole thing, while also allowing the mood to turn on a dime and be scary, close and intimidating which really ramped up the tension.
I also loved the way Bella’s past was explored. it was presented in flashback form but they read like a change of perspective at first, almost like we were getting two stories happening simultanious but then slowly reveals that it is flashback which I thought was a really interesting element of the story. I also really liked the writing around the sections in the retreat it was very good at conveying the gaslighting that Bella experienced.
However, I found the outcome and big reveal to be a little conveluted. It was just a bit of a stretch. It left me feeling a little disappointed especially after such a good build up. It both felt like the culprit could be guessed but that their reasonings just didn’t have the oomph to give the shock reveal the setting and the build up deserved.
Overall I think this was a good read and I did enjoy it.