The Family Retreat By Bev Thomas – A Review

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Publication Date: 25th August 2022

It was May when the proof of The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas dropped through my letterbox. I did that thing that I’m sure a lot of us do where you just have a sneak peek at chapter one just to see what it’s all about. I read chapter one……chapter two……chapter three and didn’t put it down for a couple of days. This is one of those books you want to skip work and ignore your family for!

Rob has decided that it will be a good idea for his family to get away for the summer and leave their home life and worries behind. Jess, his wife, is not so sure it’s a good idea to run away from their problems but as she’s currently on a sabbatical from her job as a GP in a busy London surgery she agrees to the break to spend some time with Rob and their two young children Sam and Ruby.

They soon settle into their relaxed holiday vibe in a lovely little cottage on the coast and even start to make friends. Helen and her husband James are living in a cottage nearby with their two children. Jess makes friends with Helen but the relationship is quite superficial at first with Jess sensing that Helen wants to keep her distance and keep things on a surface level. Jess admires Helen’s organised mothering skills and strict routines and watches on sometimes enviously. Helen’s husband, when he’s around is attentive and helpful and Jess admires their whole family dynamic.

As the women spend more and more time together with the kids, days on the beach, barbecues etc Helen begins to open up more about her life and some issues within it. But what secrets are both women keeping and will it bring them closer or crack families apart?…..

This is quite a tense read and there were times when my heart was hammering due to the dangerous and heart-in-mouth moments that occurred. I was swept along so skilfully in the narrative that I was fully immersed in the situations along with these characters.

The back drop of the coast line was such a good choice. The descriptions of the landmarks and a particular place known as the dancing ledge were very evocative. In fact the author Bev Thomas put an image of a similar place to the dancing ledge on her Twitter feed and it was exactly as I’d pictured it.

There are lots of layers to this story to build up and peel away. I love a story with secrets and facades to chip away at.

This book deals with some difficult issues such as mental illness and domestic abuse which is something to bear in mind.

I really enjoyed this book which I think would make an absolutely perfect summer read. I honestly couldn’t put it down.

I can’t wait for what Bev brings us next!

Thank you to Bev and Faber & Faber for my review and finished copies.

See you all soon.

Amanda x

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