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Retreat [Kindle Edition]

Mary Stanley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'Come Monday morning after breakfast, silence will commence . . . until the following Saturday morning. That gives you five full days of contemplation and prayer . . . As usual, leaving the Sister Chapel and its grounds is forbidden, and of course, Sutherland Square is expressly out of bounds.'

Retreat. . . (n.) a period of withdrawal from the ordinary activities of daily life in order to meditate on the central truth of faith, to seek a closer union with God. . .

. . .but for the teenage boarders at St Martin's convent school in Dublin some rules are made to be broken - as sixteen-year-old Mary Oliver discovers to her horror during a confessional. With the help and support of her best friends, Mary survives - but only just. Mary, Kitty, Bernadette, Bridie and Treasa are five girls from very different backgrounds, united by their need to break out from the often cruel constraints of convent life - and by an experience too awful to talk about until they are adults.

Written with passion, insight and humour, Retreat is an unforgettable story about friendship and the loss of innocence and is an exciting debut from a fresh new voice in Irish writing.

Discover Piatkus Entice: temptation at your fingertips -

Product Description


'The pages turn with ease' Observer (Observer)

'Warm, and even at its darkest, never entirely black. An engrossing read' Irish Sunday Independent

'Stanley's real strength is characterisation... Compelling and memorable' Image (Image)

'Mary Stanley is a fresh new voice in Irish writing... Retreat is written with passion from an author who will certainly give the likes of Maeve Binchy, Sheila O'Flanagan, Patricia Scanlan, Marian Keyes and the like a run for their money' Irish World (Irish World)

'This is an exciting first novel from a new voice in Irish writing, a passionate yet peaceful read, and flavoured with a tongue-in-cheek humour that makes it the more compelling' South Wales Argus (South Wales Argus)

'The themes may be harsh, but there is a great deal of hilarity in the book... It is a meaty, and at times dark book... It is, however, engaging and funny, and a must for anyone that has been to a convent school' Ireland on Sunday (Ireland on Sunday)

Book Description

An unforgettable debut from a brilliant new Irish writer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1062 KB
  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747267367
  • Publisher: Piatkus (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009EA3UFE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #243,159 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exceptional First Novel 16 Aug. 2001
This is an exceptional novel from a new writer who writes lovingly of her characters, sensitively of a taboo subject and hilariously of what convent girls get up to behind closed doors.
This funny moving book is complexly but not complicatedly constructed , as it weaves backwards and forwards in the lives of five young girls who form livelong friendships at school without knowing quite how deep the bonds between them lie.
The detail in the characterization of these five main figures draws us in so that we want to know more about the childhoods, the families, the cares of each of them. There is sweet Anna who lives in a world of her own consisting of French Revolutionary Heroes and the possibility of a dramatic seduction. There is warm observant Treasa who grows from the most adorable baby to appear in adult fiction to a calm solid woman - the friend we would all most like to have to lean on. There is sad lost Mary Olivier whose surname the nuns have changed to Oliver as her French background is too affected for an Irish convent school. There is smart imaginative Bernadette whose creativity extends to transforming the Lives of the Saints into the more readable Scrumptious Sex. And finally there is the bold Kitty whose skirts are too short and whose expression too impudent for her to last very long in any convent.
The story moves from the opening scene when the girls, in their final year at school, attend the annual religious retreat back to each of their childhoods and then on to the present day and a denouement which leaves the reader turning the pages faster and faster.
This is an author who deals with a difficult subject with the lightest of touches, who lightens a serious book with wit and with wisdom and whose future work her readers will await with great anticipation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retreat is a relevant book... 4 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
As a 'survivor' of the system which Retreat deals with, I would like to recommend this book. It was a cruel regime and friends were the support that helped me through it. The authorites of that time have a lot to answer for, and I like the way the author leads the reader through the brutality and out the other side. She reminded me of the role of laughter in my childhood. Thank you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, poignant, evocative... 30 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
I actually wondered if this was the school I went to - all the characters were there, even the nasty teacher of Irish, and the nuns who thought they were above you. It's about a time I'm glad is over, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it from a distance.
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