The Retreat

Coming July 2021

A “gorgeously written and atmospheric thriller” following one woman’s long-awaited visit to a mountain arts retreat—where she soon finds herself in a race to survive (Robyn Harding).

She came looking for inspiration.

Instead, disaster strikes. 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.


“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 Still Lives 

“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

The Retreat is a magnificently absorbing and haunting novel. When dancer Maeve Martin arrives at a remote arts centre to spend a few weeks in reconnecting with her waning dance career, we understand immediately that she is not safe high up in the snowy mountains. A small but compelling cast of characters slowly weaves into the pages from there, and the game becomes figuring out who we — and she — might trust. 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

“A gorgeously written atmospheric thriller with hidden depths, The Retreat will have readers racing through the pages, trying to decide whom to trust, until the chilling finale.” —Robyn Harding, internationally bestselling author of The Swap