Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Retreat, by Mari Reiza

Now this one I have read!

The Retreat by Mari.Reiza
 Coming of Age / Psychological Thriller 

About the Book:

An uncomfortable but fascinating ripening journey.
Ahmed has abandoned her. Nadia is gone the way Isabelle did before, her two fallen warriors. But Marie can still hear His voice clearly.
A deep call for justice takes hold in an impressionable teenage girl from a recently broken family during a religious retreat; what happens next will mark her life for years to come.
the Retreat is a story of men playing God, of hurt that doesn’t find its way out.

Find it on Amazon

About the Setting
The story moves back and forth in time and place. From Brussels during Marie's early teenage years with her mother and siblings, to Zermatt where she's sent with the nuns on a fated ski trip. Years later in London, Marie is attempting to find a job and build a life with Ahmed who she met on a plane, when she's lured to a Victorian bathhouse and meets troubled Nadia. But the book begins and ends after Marie's London years, back in her natal Bordeaux. There Marie strikes the final blow in her prodigal daughter's return of sorts.

About the Author:
Mari Reiza was born in Madrid in 1973. She has worked as an investment research writer and management consultant for twenty years in London. She studied at Oxford University and lives off Portobello Road with her husband and child.

Find Mari at:


My review:
With a rich unexpectedness of language and frequent unconventional usages, this is a book that is sometimes hard to follow with its leaps back and forth in Marie’s life. First showing us her present somewhat unlikeable self, the author then justifies her by going into Marie’s teenage years, desertion by the father she loved, moving schools, distance from her mother and sisters, and hints at something awful which Marie did to ostracise herself more completely from much of her family. The author is good at observing vile people and ordinary awkward social situations as she jumps from perspective to perspective in, for example, a gathering of teenage girls urged to look for religious messages in Dirty Dancing. The book is full of sexual references so if that’s not your kind of thing I’d suggest avoiding it. The end is shocking and you’re left wondering if you have misinterpreted the whole book.

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