The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas

This month’s Tasting Notes Book Club title is ‘The Family Retreat’ by Bev Thomas.

I was not sure what to expect from this book as, I am sure you have gathered by now, I do not read blurbs – so the only idea had about it was that it may be considered a psychological thriller. Although, if you judged a book by its cover, I am not sure if that is the category that you would place it into as a reader.

However, having now read the book, I am not sure that I would consider it a psychological thriller. In fact, I am not even sure it is a thriller. It seems more like a piece of contemporary fiction, but it certainly evokes an atmosphere of the long English summer.

This book is told from the point of view of Jess, an overworked GP who is taking some time away from London with her family. We soon learn that this may not just be a simple family holiday, but that there is more to her decision to take this break. She meets a number of different characters during her time away, who all seem to have their own struggles, which Jess appears to get drawn into. The timeline of this tale is not always strictly chronological; there are moments when Jess reflects on events in the past, which for me did cause a little confusion in the story, and I am not sure they always really added to the narrative.

There are a large number of issues covered in this book, such as mental health issues and unhealthy, controlling relationships. I understand that it is important that such issues are covered in books, but I did feel that in this book there were a number of issues covered and maybe this led to them feeling like they had been touched on rather than fully tackled. They did not neccessarily add to the narrative of the story, although it can not be denied that it could and should start conversations about some of these issues.

This is certainly a book that will be worth discussing by book clubs and book groups – I think it will create a whole range of different opinions.

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