The Retreat


By Elisabeth de Mariaffi

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around July 20, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In this "gorgeously written and atmospheric thriller" (Robyn Harding), one woman must face her darkest fears when her visit to a beautiful but remote mountain retreat takes a deadly turn.

*A CrimeReads Best Psychological Thriller of 2021*

Maeve Martin arrives at the High Water Center for the Arts, a gorgeous lodge nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, determined to do one thing: begin her own dance company. A retired performer and mother of two, time is running out for her to find her feet again after the collapse of her disastrous—and violent—marriage. And at first, there's a thrill to being on her own for the first time in years. Isolated in the snowy beauty of the retreat, Maeve can forget the ghost of her past for an hour, for a day.
But when an avalanche strikes, Maeve finds herself trapped with six other guests. They’ve lost all power, phone service, heat, and the road back to town. At first, there’s a sense of camaraderie—the fire is warm, the freezer well-stocked. But as the days pass and the storm rages on outside, tensions start to run high. Help is coming, so they just have to hold on, right?
Then the first guest meets an unspeakable death. Followed by another. Soon Maeve must admit how little she knows about these strangers . . . and how useless a locked door is if the darkness is already inside.

“Magnificently absorbing and haunting . . . With a dabble each of Hitchcock thriller, cozy mystery, and domestic noir, The Retreat offers a terrifyingly fun read.” —Amy Stuart, author of Still Water

  • “A magnificently absorbing and haunting novel. . . . De Mariaffi’s spare yet deeply rich prose renders the isolation and claustrophobia of the mountains downright palpable. With a dabble each of Hitchcock thriller, cozy mystery, and domestic noir, The Retreat offers readers a most thrilling setup followed by a galloping sprint to the final page. What a terrifyingly fun read.”
    Amy Stuart, author of Still Water
  • “Will probably keep you up until dawn . . . de Mariaffi has built a reputation over her last two books for weaving the elements of genre fiction with keen attention to women’s lives and a strong literary bent. . . . de Mariaffi vividly humanizes what might, in lesser hands, have been a pro-forma, overly familiar thriller. Instead, The Retreat shines, at once thoughtful and chilling, familiar and unsettling.”
    Toronto Star
  • The Retreat is a chilling reinvention of an old mystery favorite…The atmosphere is richly drawn, a heady mixture of artistic ambition, oncoming claustrophobia, and adrenaline-soaked sleuthing.
  • “This vivid, immersive story had me jumping at shadows. The isolated setting, the tension between the characters, the sense of danger unravelling in a place there is no escape from. Suspenseful and atmospheric, it will keep you questioning which is the biggest threat - nature or people, outside or in.”
    Helen Cooper, author of The Downstairs Neighbor
  • “Take a group of artists, ambition, isolation, and violence, and add a twist of the coldest, snowiest winter you’ve ever known, and you’ll arrive at The Retreat. Yet de Mariaffi’s heart-stopping thriller is powered by more than suspense—Maeve, her resourceful main character, is a mother and dancer piecing her life together after an abusive marriage, and Maeve’s journey through the novel’s danger and betrayals becomes a genuine act of grace.”
    Maria Hummel, author of the Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick Still Lives
  • “A gorgeously written atmospheric thriller with hidden depths, The Retreat will have readers racing through the pages, trying to decide who to trust, until the chilling finale.”
    Robyn Harding, internationally bestselling author of The Swap
  •  “Elisabeth de Mariaffi delivers the requisite heart-in-mouth moments of pure paranoia, but she balances these thrills with shrewd character studies and the odd nugget of wisdom.”
    New York Times Book Review, on The Devil You Know
  • “Magnificent and daring . . . A gripping page-turner on one hand, The Devil You Know is also literary in its unwavering focus on the complex portrayal of the psychology of its main character, and in its illumination of broader issues around violence against women.”
    Los Angeles Review of Books, on The Devil You Know

On Sale
Jul 20, 2021
Page Count
336 pages
Mulholland Books

Elisabeth de Mariaffi

About the Author

Novelist and screenwriter Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the critically acclaimed author of The Devil You Know, which was named a Globe and Mail Best Book and a National Post Top 100 of the year. She lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Learn more about this author