Welcome back to the bookclub! In June, we read The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! If you wish to access all of the latest updates/information, click here. Spoilers ahead!
Quick Reminder: This month we are reading ‘The Silent Companions’ by Laura Purcell.
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do the IGTV videos. You can find the IGTV video for this talk and others on my bookclub Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you wish to guess without being spoiled, do not scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
THE SANATORIUM by SARAH PEARSE – JUNE 2021
An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken some time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.
Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.
When they wake the following morning, her brother’s fiancée has disappeared without a trace. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer she stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic. But no one has realised yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in…
OVERALL STAR RATING
This book has received so many mixed reviews – mainly negative ones. The majority of my bookclub did not enjoy it. I however, did. I base my overall ratings on how a novel makes me feel. Even if isn’t well-written, as long as I had a positive experience (and it’s not problematic) the rating goes up. I will discuss what I enjoyed and didn’t in the discussion topics down below. I gave it 4/5 stars.
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
Yeah this book isn’t scary. It’s not even really a horror. It’s more of a thriller/mystery. I gave the scare-factor rating a 1/5 stars. I think a movie or television adaptation would be better at providing the eerie vibes.
1.) What did you enjoy about the book? If anything?
By now, you’re probably wondering why I liked this book. Here are a few reasons: a.) The setting. A sanatorium turned hotel in the Swiss Alps? Yes, please. It was the perfect location for a mystery novel. b.) The anxiety and trauma representation. As somebody who suffers from Generalised Anxiety Disorder and childhood trauma, I felt the author did an excellent job conveying those issues through the protoganist, Elin. I felt pretty seen. c.) The ending. Yes, some people believe it was rushed but it genuinely took me by surprise. I didn’t see it coming. It definitely eludes to a sequel which I would be interested in picking up. d.) The twists. I felt they were revealed in a timely manner and not too obvious and e.) The intrigue. I wanted to see where the story was going and the short chapters helped keep me interested.
2.) What do you think would’ve made the book better?
My biggest issue with this book were the inconsistencies, which I will address in topic #4. There were a lot of loose ends that weren’t tied up. I was also confused by two separate scenes that felt completely unnecessary. 1.) After Margot was revealed as one of the villains, Elin took a break before pursuing her, despite the fact that all of the remaining patrons were in danger. 2.) When Lucas left Elin stranded underground, I didn’t understand why she didn’t immediately confront him for his actions. Those parts felt a bit sloppy. 3.) The motive for murder felt a bit extreme. I’m not discounting what happened to Cecile but did it warrant killing innocent people? That was a bit iffy for me.
3.) Did you find Elin to be a relatable protoganist? Discuss.
As I mentioned in topic #1, Elin felt extremely relatable to me. I too suffer from panic attacks, trauma and Imposter Syndrome, which shows up in her career. I’m also somebody that gets very obsessed with uncovering the truth and getting answers. A lot of reviewers mentioned how Elin was all over the place and incompetent but I know what it’s like to operate from a place of anxiety and it’s rough.
4.) What loose ends weren’t tied up?
This is where the novel fell short for me. There were a lot of plot points that went nowhere. It didn’t come across as super thought out. Here are some of the loose ends I didn’t think were tied up: a.) Why was Isaac fired for being intimidating to others? What did he do? b.) What was the argument between Laure and Adele about? c.) Why did the victims have their fingers chopped off? d.) What was the explanation behind Laure’s burner phone? e.) Why doesn’t Will have a phone when they go searching in the boiler room? He could have used that instead of a torch and f.) What happened to Elin checking in with the detective? That kind of dropped off.
5.) Who do you think pushed Elin into the pool – as referred to in the epilogue?
I believe it was Isaac. From the beginning, he’s described as an angry person without empathy. He was also fired for intimidating his colleagues. It wouldn’t be beyond the realm of probability that he was a sick, twisted individual all along. Also, I cannot think of who else it would be. Lucas was arrested and Will was with Elin when she was being spied upon. There weren’t any other male characters mentioned.
Easy: What was the name of Elin’s brother who died?
Medium: What minor detail gave away Margot’s location?
Hard: What is the number on Laure’s bracelet?
I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the bookclub, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: Sam. Medium: Nail varnish flakes. Hard: 87534.