The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse



Head games in a hotel that was once an Alpine sanatorium.

“Digging up the past, especially with this place, you’ll send yourself mad. If you go into the details about what went on . . .” The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse.

Pearse’s debut novel immediately sets the gothic tone of eeriness in a sanatorium transformed into an elegant hotel, nestled into the tranquility and beauty of the Swiss Alps that is hit by a blizzard.

Among the guests of this hotel are British Police Officer – Elin Warner, her boyfriend, and Elin’s brother – whom she has not seen for years, (although the memory of him with their dead brother haunt her).

Pearse does a great job creating tension with short, tension-filled chapters, changing point of views, and tossing out red herrings as people disappear and turn up dead.

The suspense is engaging and Pearse keeps the narrative tight for most of the book. However, the slow trickle of back story caused my attention to wane. When more hints and history as to what was going on were finally revealed, I felt that some points in the promising plot were left hanging, while others were too easily, and literally, explained away, and didn’t quite make sense to me.

That said, this book still has Reese Witherspoon’s badge of approval and it’s got some atmospheric descriptions and tension. If you aren’ hung up on intricate endings, this might be the perfect read for a day when you want some creepiness.

If you are looking for suspenseful reads, read my reviews on:

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Crooked River by Preston and Child

The Typist by Suzanne Rindell

The Vegetarian by Han Kang