Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood

Happy Fourth of July!

After almost two months of reluctant reading, I am feeling back in the game. The last three books I’ve read, I’ve read in about three days flat. The most recent of those being – In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

The Woman in Cabin 10, also by Ware, was a very popular Book of the Month selection last August. Unfortunately it was right after I had selected a different thriller and during the SAME month as All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (to date, one of my most favorite books). After continuing to hear amazing reviews about The Woman in Cabin 10, I finally was able to check it out from the library and enjoy it for myself. I was absolutely taken by the writing style and the suspense, and swore I would read whatever else Ware had published.

It took me six months, but I finally got around to opening Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark Dark Wood, and from the moment I opened it, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t pride myself on being a fast reader, but I couldn’t believe how fast the pages were turning; how quickly the book was progressing; how I felt like I couldn’t start the next chapter fast enough. This book was nothing like I expected and truly a thrilling experience.

Synopsis:

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

I [shockingly] don’t have a ton to say about this book, except it was one of my favorite binge-thriller-mystery-suspense reads in recent history, but for tradition sake let’s go through the rundown briefly.

What I Liked:

The pace. This mystery was 100% feel good. It wasn’t heavy or deep and there wasn’t that much to figure out. It all unfolded in front of you on the page as you read it, at a pace that felt fast but easy to keep up with.

One thing that I noticed in Ware’s writing is the use of dramatic irony, in that you know what a bad situation the protagonist is in and you know they don’t deserve to be there. Yet you can’t imagine a way out, and that feeling keeps you on the edge of your seat.

What I Didn’t Like:

This may have been extra apparent because I read it so fast, but there were a couple things that happened twice and Ware used the same language both times without acknowledging that second time was the second time. I.e. Nora’s phone goes missing twice, and Nora reacts the same way both times without acknowledging how weird it is that this happened twice. There was no exclamation of ‘Why am I so bad at keeping track of my things?’ or ‘Who the hell is taking my phone?’ This definitely confused me and for the first time in the novel made me feel like maybe I was the one who was losing it.

A couple of the characters felt under developed for me. Tom in particular. What was his deal? Was he just there to add to the suspect list? That confused me.

Conclusion:

Overall, I am so happy I picked this one up right before a holiday weekend and was able to absolutely devour it. I HIGHLY recommend it if you’re in the mood to not overthink things and go for a wild ride. It was truly an adventure. Enjoy!!

6 thoughts on “Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood

  1. I really liked this book too (although it’s been a year now since I read it, so I honestly can’t remember much else) but interesting that you noticed the repetition. I hate when authors do that!

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