The Writing Retreat, Julia Bartz

A view of pine trees atop a snow mountain. The cover is made to look as a book, with bent pages in the corner.

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’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.

A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female friendships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.

Book Links
Releasing February 21st


My Thoughts

This book is really hard to put down once you start.

One month at a writing retreat with the author of your dreams? For Alex, this sounds utterly perfect. But she is suffering from writer’s block, and her ex-best friend, Wren, will be there. Alex is determined to make this work because it means spending a month with Roza Vallow. But once she gets there, she learns there’s no cell service nor internet, and what once appeared shiny is dulling by the minute.

I enjoyed how Bartz included the book Alex is working on at the end of some chapters, so we get a mini book within the overarching storyline. The house is remote and creepy. Throw in some weird dreams, and the reader is on edge from the start. The story is super dramatic, and when things start going wrong, they go spectacularly awry. This was a fun, fast-paced read from start to finish.

Thank you, Atria Books, for sending along an ARC.

Read this review on Goodreads and Bookbub.


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