The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz – Blog Tour Review

Title: The Writing Retreat

Author: Julia Bartz

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Magpie

Publication Date: 2nd March 2023

Rating: 4.5/5



A book deal to die for.

Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.

Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.

But then the women begin to die.

Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.

This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…


I’ve been seeing this book a lot on bookstagram and the premise had me super intrigued – so I jumped at the chance to read and review The Writing Retreat – and it did not disappoint! This is one of those books that I found myself unable to put down for the evening and go to sleep. I just had to read one more chapter of this propulsive, eerie and seriously addictive thriller. It’s got everything I enjoy in a thriller: a killer setting dripping with atmosphere, a compelling plot that makes me want to know more and a truly crazy cast of characters.

Now, admittedly, the Writing Retreat is a bit bonkers, but in a way that totally works for the setup and teeters just on the edge of too crazy. I genuinely had no idea where it was headed and who I could trust – including our troubled and secretive narrator, Alex. As for the mysterious, unnerving and dramatic host of the retreat, Roza Vallo, she will stick in my mind as a truly spooky and unpredictable character. Intense, melodramatic and fabulously entertaining – if you are looking for a gripping read then I’d definitely recommend The Writing Retreat.


Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

Buy the book:

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

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