Retreat House

Fiction - Thriller - General
228 Pages
Reviewed on 03/07/2019
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Originally from the idyllic coast of Maine, Sarah Yasin presently lives inland where she studies world literature in translation using the public library. A facilitator of writing retreats, she is also a convenience store clerk. She has stories in Macabre ME and the Mad Scientist Journal. Learn about her forthcoming books at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Robin E. Williams for Readers' Favorite

Retreat House by Sarah Yasin is a fiction thriller about a young woman, Holly, running a youth group to bring the youth of her congregation together. With the plans made to have a co-sleepover at Holly’s uncle’s old lake house, parents begin to take their kids off the list, leaving six teenagers to a night they will remember. A night with good fun until the power abruptly goes out and one of the teens comes back with a knife wound. The woods are dark, phone service isn’t available, and there’s someone lurking in the woods. The only person between the terrified teens and a madman is Holly, and even she is afraid of the dark. Fighting for survival is relatively easy - if you know who to trust.

The beginning of the plot was good. The exposition was clearly defined, introducing us to the main character with her background and personal conflicts, and to all the secondary characters she was taking to the retreat. The dialogue between the characters was good. The teenagers were well defined and Sarah Yasin did a wonderful job at portraying the typical teenage rebellious sides. The reader could tell if Holly was talking or if it was a teen by their distinct dialogue. Holly was unique with her accent, and the teenagers had their own slang. Each character's personality was vibrant and portrayed in a way where the reader could easily relate, making themselves a part of the story. The scenes were painted perfectly. Retreat House is Christian based with a thriller mix. Sarah Yasin wrote a wonderful thriller that left me wanting to never put it down.

Divine Zape

Retreat House by Sarah Yasin is an interesting thriller that explores Christian themes and the world of teenagers. Holly knows she'll have to tell someone if the test comes out positive. Although she still worries about what people may think of her, the girl who leads her church's youth group. Her secret love affair will eventually come to light. For the meantime, she has something to do: she organizes an overnight fellowship retreat on Pine Cliff Island and six teenagers show up. All they want is to bond and have a fun-filled experience. Then the power suddenly goes out and one of the teenagers returns with a knife wound. A dangerous man prowls the night and Holly finds herself standing between him and the kids who are scared. Can they outwit the madman and survive long enough to escape the island?

This is a beautiful story simply told and the author does an impeccable job in exploring the emotional depth of the story, deftly using suspense to keep the reader's attention focused on the characters and the scenes. The feeling that something terrible could happen any moment permeates the narrative, and the reader quickly learns to care about the characters. The writing abounds with religious themes, featuring a protagonist torn between her illicit love affair and her call to leadership. It is interesting how the theme of teamwork is developed in the narrative. Sarah Yasin is a great storyteller and her gift for tight prose combines with focused scenes to create a tale that is spellbinding. Retreat House is a compelling read, a thriller with great entertainment potential.

Jack Magnus

Retreat House is a Christian thriller for young and new adults written by Sarah Yasin. Holly’s plan for her Congregationalist youth group had become controversial, thanks to some provincial and traditionally minded parents who viewed the retreat she organized as a co-ed sleepover. While they may have considered her too close in age to the teens she mentored, Pastor Rick was fully on board with the retreat and was even participating in a Saturday night cookout and a sunrise service on Sunday morning. They were holding the retreat on her uncle’s beach house on Pine Cliff Island.

This is a well-written and refreshing novel that presents a devout yet modern approach to worship and religion. Holly’s belief in Christ and adherence to religious beliefs does not preclude allowing boys and girls to share a retreat house, nor does it cast a damning look at her and Adam’s loving and committed relationship. I admired her acceptance of Jesus Christ as both her King and her confidant. The group’s unknown stalker is genuinely creepy, and the venue, the old beach house with its hidden rooms and endless halls, is the perfect setting for a youth group weekend gone awry. I loved seeing how the weekend still had a positive effect upon each of the participants.

Yasin’s plot is suspenseful and engaging, and her characters are credible and fully dimensional. The young adults in Holly’s group learn to work as a team, and their fellowship is enhanced immeasurably as a result of their retreat. I also appreciated Yasin’s empathetic treatment of PTSD issues faced by many veterans after their service in the Middle East. Retreat House is a well written and suspenseful story that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their particular religious beliefs, and it’s most highly recommended.