On a remote farm in the deepest Devonshire countryside, four pregnant women arrive at an exclusive yoga retreat for a five – start weekend of prenatal pampering.
The location is idyllic. Their host, Selina is eager to teach them all she knows about pregnancy and motherhood. But, like Selina, each of the women has a secret.
And secrets can be deadly…
Thanks firstly to Ella at Quercus for inviting me to be involved in this social media blast and sending me a proof copy of The Sanctuary. Four pregnant women heading off to a yoga retreat, sounds like bliss. What can go wrong.
Told chronologically over the course of the weekend from the perspectives of all four women, plus their host Selina. We first meet the women as they set off on their journey to the West Country, the location of the newly renovated farm and their home for the weekend. Evident from the start is the fact that these women have secrets, we meet them individually and much is alluded to but there is most definitely a sinster undertone.
Similarly Seline and her partner are not straight forward, a new venture for Seline, she is desperate for this to work, Will seems less keen and their relationship is clearly troubled – despite Seline’s best efforts to present a perfect unified front. Once everyone has arrived the fun begins. What is supposed to be a relaxing weekend seems beset with problems and it is blatantly obvious these are of a man-made kind.
The writing felt very original, the shifting perspective and the timeline broken down into sections of the day over the course of the weekend gave this story a unique flavour. However personally I found it a bit tricky to keep track of the women’s backstories and actually to differentiate between a couple of the women. All had secrets and so for my investigative mind I was not able to track the individual storylines as much as I would have liked.
The story itself was twisty and intriguing, the characters were interesting and Seline was particularly strong although most unlikeable! Aspects of the plot weren’t necessarily plausible and the luxurious retreat didn’t quite work for me, but this was a work of fiction and the secrets and lies were strong and my desire to find out what was happening kept me turning the pages.
A great read for fans of escapist thrillers, shrouded in secrecy with a web of interlinked secrets – this is a great holiday read – short chapters, a strong mystery and a sinister theme. Published today, will you be escaping to The Sanctuary?
About the Author
Charlotte Duckworth started her career as an interiors and lifestyle journalist. She is the bestselling author of The Rival, Unfollow Me and The Perfect Father. She lives in Surrey with her partner and their daughter.