Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
The Resort by Sarah Goodwin – Book Details
TITLE – The Resort
AUTHOR – Sarah Goodwin
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2023
PAGE COUNT – 384
MY RATING – 3 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 3.75 of 5
What It Is About
If ghosts are real I wonder what these ones have seen. What stories they might tell if only I could hear them. Perhaps they could answer some of my questions or spark new ones. Or else whisper their last words to me.
Mila and her husband Ethan are traveling to Germany for her sister’s destination wedding. But on their way there, their rented car breaks in the middle of nowhere, as the snow is slowly settling in.
The only thing they can do is walk to an abandoned ski resort near there. But once there, everything seems eerie. The cabins are completely abandoned, the windows are boarded, and there’s this weird feeling they shouldn’t be there.
Still, they have no choice but to spend the night in one of the cabins. But when Mila wakes up the next morning, Ethan is gone without a trace. And she can’t get rid of the feeling that someone – or something – is watching her.
Themes and vibes:
- stranded in an abandoned ski resort
- lots of snow
- what the hell is going on here
- could it be paranormal
- complicated sisters’ relationship
The Resort by Sarah Goodwin – My Review
This place has so many secrets. A history of either violence or misfortune, perhaps both, has made its mark on every bit of it.
There’s nothing that can make me pick up a book faster than mentioning there’s the snowbound trope in it. It’s one of my favorite tropes ever – such possibilities for an atmosphere that is cozy, mysterious, tense and unnerving at the same time.
And The Resort by Sarah Goodwin started out promising everything I could wish for from a thriller set in an abandoned retreat, with snow storms cutting off the road and something sinister lurking around.
Right from the start, as Mila and Ethan slowly lose one by one option to get where they were headed to, I was hooked. You could feel this uncertain, untrustworthy atmosphere that prepares you for something spooky.
It was truly captivating at moments. The isolated, claustrophobic setting. The unexplainable events. The nightmarish situation the protagonist has found herself in. The paranoia creeping around the edges of her consciousness at the lack of answers. No way out.
There was nothing I could hold on to, no fact or explanation to keep me grounded in reality. Without that anchor my mind was going wild, unable to settle on any of the terrible theories it had conjured up.
Everything was set and ready for me to dive in and devour this book. Yet, the story failed on several levels.
Not that it was too bad or anything. But with the sheer amount of my favorite tropes packed in a single book, my expectations were up through the roof. So it was kind of my own fault, but also – the book realistically had its weak sides.
Being snowbound, for example. The way I see this trope is a bunch of people being locked up together, trying to solve a mystery around a crackling fire. But they have to hurry up because someone is hurting them and they can’t escape.
Warm. Cozy. Mysterious. Suspenseful.
But in The Resort, Mila is all alone for a good chunk of the book. Which did add on the eeriness, but also – things got repetitive really fast. No dialogs. No tension from the human interaction factor. Just her, alone, going through the same set of thoughts over and over and over again.
Why was it abandoned? What had happened there to make it feel like this? What was it that I could sense, that my mind kept trying to explain away – the sense of being watched. Of being haunted.
The flashbacks to her childhood did help a little, breaking the monotone (albeit life-threatening) portion of the story. Still, it’s a bit disappointing when you get something you usually enjoy and it’s not delivering.
Also, you can more or less see where the story was headed from quite early on. And while I didn’t hate the twists and all, there were a couple of other potential endings, and I rooted for some of them because I liked them more than what actually happened.
I could feel that something was there. I could sense it watching me, following me. Not being able to see it only made it more frightening.
There’s one more thing I really didn’t like about this book, but talking about it might spoil the story for some people. Let’s just say we got a lot of teasing about something that in the end never happened, and you just have to ask yourself what was the point.
I just went and reread some of those parts, and they sound so shallow and silly when you know they don’t lead anywhere. Seriously underwhelming.
With all that said, The Resort by Sarah Goodwin wasn’t a bad thriller. I did enjoy it, some parts more than others. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected I would.
There was something eerie about the lack of evidence, the unexplained disappearance. Something that tapped into the childish part of me that still believed in monsters and ghosts, but only when it was dark. Only when I was all alone.
The story reminded me a bit of Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard, which I read a couple of months ago. That one had endless rainy fir forest instead of snow storms in the Alps, but the principle was similar.
There’s something about isolation playing with characters’ brains that is deliciously unnerving. I loved that part about The Resort, I just wish it went even further.
I still have high hopes for the other Sarah Goodwin’s book that I currently have on my shelf, Stranded. It has better reviews and the blurb sounds irresistibly twisted, so I’ll definitely be hanging out with this author some more soon.