Mark Edwards

The Retreat

"With all of Edwards’ work, don’t expect to guess the ending..."


Julia Marsh has spent the last two years grieving the tragic accident that lead to her husband drowning before her eyes in a local river. Her eight-year-old daughter, Lily, is still missing, presumed dead. Now living alone, Julia finds herself unable to move on, convinced that Lily is still alive. But as money runs out, Julia needs to find a way to keep hold of their beautiful and secluded family home. She decides to open a writer's retreat.

Lucas is a successful novelist suffering from writer's block and one of her first guests. He's no stranger to personal tragedy and forms an instant bond with his host, Julia. The longer he stays, the more of a local legend of the Red Widow, a fabled witch who kidnaps young girls, captures his imagination. But as Lucas delves into details of these disappearances, and as locals take more than a passing interest in his investigations, Lucas finds himself at the centre of a very real horror story.

The retreat is harbouring secrets: all Lucas must do is separate the facts from the fiction before the ghosts of this small town become all too real.

Purchase the book from Amazon.


As children, we all believed in a bogeyman or some local legend about being taken away from our parents if we did something wrong. Mark Edwards has latched onto that childhood fear and created a chilling story of mind games and paranoia. 'The Retreat' is a frightening novel with genuine characters driven to the extreme by dark circumstance. The setting for Edwards' latest psychological thriller is a writer's retreat in Wales. Edwards, a long-standing and celebrated writer, obviously had fun creating the writers in this book; giving them quirks and nuances he's probably seen in his fellow scribes. The scenes featuring the writers are a treat to read. Although this is a first person narrative told by writer Lucas Radcliffe, it is grieving mother Julia Marsh who is the stand out character for me. Edwards has written her perfectly; the drive to find her missing daughter yet needing to function in reality. The despair she feels at having failed to protect her only child. These raw emotions are difficult to get right but Mark Edwards has got into the head of a parent living on the edge and executed it with precision. With all of Edwards' work, don't expect to guess the ending, as you'll be wrong. As secrets are revealed and lies uncovered the finale is shocking and ingenious. 'The Retreat' is a treat for fans of urban legends and the unexplainable.

Reviewed By: