The Secret Resort Of Nostalgia

Fiction - Mystery - General
294 Pages
Reviewed on 02/04/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

There are many novels with a dystopian setting. I decided instead to write about a modern-day utopia, a place so perfect, that anyone would want to live and work there. However, this is a mystery novel, so there has to be something wrong underneath the surface, something my protagonist sets out to discover at increasing threat to his life, something I challenge the reader also to figure out. If you like a novel to appeal to your intelligence as well as to your emotions, you should give this book a read. Multiple twists and misdirection are a feature of my writing, and a second novel is currently on the way, featuring a murder committed by a murderer who doesn't exist.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Intelligent, highly imaginative, and gripping, The Secret Resort Of Nostalgia by Sahlan Diver is one of those novels that will appeal to fans of mystery crafted with a good dose of suspense. Twenty-two-year-old Mike Denning has just graduated from England and has landed a great job at the perfect location, a remote island off the coast of Ireland. The weather is perfect, as are his pay and everything, including the wonderful views. Plus he has a boss who is beautiful and young and free. But there is a sinister eeriness about the place that gives Mike the creeps. He can’t understand why half of the island is fenced off. The town’s only connection with the outside world is through the use of an old telegraph. As Mike begins to check out the oddities of this beautiful place, he notices that he is being watched. But it is just the beginning of an unending nightmare. Can he get off this cursed island?

Sahlan Diver grabs the attention of the reader from the very beginning and sustains it until the very last page of this gripping story. The reader feels suspended on a thread, hanging between dream and waking, absorbed by the creepiness of the story. I noticed the strong sense of mystery from the very beginning as the author describes an unusual journey, and this quickly transforms into a psychological conflict that runs through the narrative. The Secret Resort Of Nostalgia features great writing and the author knows how to make the reader feel a part of the setting, thanks to his excellent prose and his ability to paint vivid images in the reader’s mind. I enjoyed the compelling cast of characters, the well-imagined and masterfully constructed plot, and the awesome handling of conflict. This book is a great read.

Neil A White

The Secret Resort Of Nostalgia by Sahlan Diver begins with the protagonist, Mike, receiving a job offer from the enigmatic “Earl” to live and work on a mysterious island and to document the community’s history. With the added benefit of being able to spend time with the Earl’s alluring assistant, Saoirse, he gladly accepts. His journey begins with a ninety-mile train ride through a tunnel linking the island and the Earl’s estate. A six-hour trip that transports him, seemingly, back in time. The island was once a hippy colony in the '60s, and the small town of Nostalgia is now a thriving, self-sufficient experiment in environmental and economic sustainability. A modern-day utopia, completely cut off from the real world. And a timely message delivered by Sahlan Diver to the world at large. However, as Mike is soon to discover, something beneath the surface of the town’s outward appearance doesn’t quite feel right. Why is Nostalgia surrounded by a border fence patrolled by armed guards? Why are only people with no living relatives on the mainland recruited? And what of the mysterious and inaccessible Agricultural Research Institute? As Mike begins to question these anomalies, the tension builds.

The Secret Resort of Nostalgia by Sahlan Diver is an imaginative and atmospheric mystery/thriller that builds with a slow burn as the pages turn. The author does a masterful job in creating the visual setting for this novel; a small island, ninety miles off the coast of Ireland. The richly-drawn characters and attention to details – down to even the most trivial item, an invented currency – are impeccable. Shades of the mysterious 1960s British television show, The Prisoner, come to mind as Mike hunts to uncover the island’s secret. And although for this reader, the final twist fell slightly short of the excellent and nefarious build up, it was still worth the investment and is a read I highly recommend.

Deborah Lloyd

Mike Denning, a 22-year-old graduate from England, agreed to an unique assignment. It began with a request in a letter from a former colleague. John had had an unfortunate accident and needed an assistant to complete the project; the return address on the letter was “Nostalgia.” Author Sahlan Diver weaves a mysterious plot in the novel, The Secret Resort of Nostalgia. Mike’s interview for the job was with the fourth Earl, from an ancestral line, on his large estate in the southwest corner of Ireland. Mike agreed to take the temporary position in the town of Nostalgia, which was located on the other side of a nine-mile underwater tunnel. After pledging to keep secret everything he learns about Nostalgia, he took the train to the idyllic community. With the population of around 5,000 happy residents, Mike soon developed a curiosity about the high wire fencing around the town, the scientists in white coats, the green guards, and many other idiosyncrasies. He also became enamored with the Earl’s assistant, Saoirse, a beautiful, intelligent woman. And, the tale unfolds…

This novel is an exceptional mystery, with just the right amount of clues for the reader to make educated guesses about what is really happening in this little town. The author is a very competent writer, engaging the reader from the first page to the last. The characters are well-developed, and it is not clear which ones Mike can trust. The setting of the town is exquisitely detailed. In The Secret Resort of Nostalgia, author Sahlan Diver has skillfully written a complex, yet easy-to-understand plot. Great book!

Sefina Hawke

The Secret Resort of Nostalgia by Sahlan Diver is a gripping mystery novel that would appeal most to a diverse audience made up of mystery lovers who are young adults and adults. Mike Denning is a twenty-two-year-old man whose whole life changed when he received a letter from someone that he calls Publishing John, a letter offering him a new career opportunity. This opportunity leads to Mike traveling to a unique town called Nostalgia that is located on an island off the coast of Ireland. Mike’s job is to interview people and take photographs in order to document the story of this town that lives according to new ideals, without cars and almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. However, he soon discovers that not everything is as pleasant as it appears and his every move is being watched. Can Mike find out what is really going on in Nostalgia and escape with his life?

The Secret Resort of Nostalgia by Sahlan Diver is a well-written book that was a breath of fresh air in the mystery genre. This book was unlike any other mystery novel I have ever read as it had a unique plot line that kept me on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what was going to happen next and the truth behind Nostalgia. I liked how the author began the story with Mike being on the train on his way to Nostalgia, and then had flash back chapters that explained why he was going there and about the job opportunity itself. This style of writing made even the beginning of the book a mystery. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I loved trying to discover the truth behind Nostalgia alongside Mike!