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In a Dark, Dark Wood

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What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.

308 pages, Paperback

First published July 30, 2015

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About the author

Ruth Ware

23 books36.1k followers
Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

Find her on twitter at www.twitter.com/ruthwarewriter, on facebook at www.facebook.com/ruthwarewriter or via her website - www.ruthware.com

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5 stars
75,377 (22%)
4 stars
127,329 (38%)
3 stars
97,047 (29%)
2 stars
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1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 26,006 reviews
Profile Image for Vegantrav.
822 reviews184 followers
August 30, 2015
I don't think I've disliked a protagonist as much as Nora, the main character in In a Dark, Dark Wood, in ages. Earlier this year, I found Rachel, the protagonist of The Girl on the Train, to be annoying and very unlikable, but I didn't hate her.

To be fair, I didn't hate Nora so much as find myself repulsed by her. She is a 26-year-old woman who is still haunted by and distraught over a break-up that happened when she was 16. Yes, 16! What kind of loser is so affected by an adolescent relationship that she or he allows it to poison all of her or his adult relationships? I'll tell you what kind of loser: the whiny, childish, immature, insipid Nora. My god, but you would think the world all but ended when she broke up with her boyfriend, James, over ten years ago, and, yes,
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the break-up was brought on by her unexpected teen pregnancy (which she aborted), but Nora herself makes it clear that she was not upset so much by the pregnancy or the abortion: it was the break-up with James that has left her an emotional wreck as an adult, unable to form stable, long-term relationships. Because of a break-up with her teen-aged boyfriend. A break-up that happened 10 years ago! Sheeesh!

Now, what's more ridiculous than a grown woman who cannot get over a break-up that happened a decade previously when she was an adolescent? How about her former best friend, Clare--who is now, rather conveniently, engaged to James, Nora's previous boyfriend, the one who broke her heart--fearing that people will hate her and be disgusted by her because when she, Clare, was 16, she basically caused the break-up between Nora and James by sending a break-up text to Nora from James's phone--unbeknownst to James--so that Nora would think that the text was really from James?

Yes, Clare is afraid that she will be judged and ridiculed now, at age 26 (like Nora), because when she was 16, she played a mean, nasty, adolescent trick on Nora and made Nora think that James had dumped her. What world does Clare live in where she thinks adults actually take seriously and hold grudges over stupid adolescent behavior that happened in the distant past?

However, one person does actually judge Clare harshly for her action: the even more ludicrously ridiculous James, who is on the verge of breaking off his engagement with Clare when he learns, a decade later, what Clare had done just as he and Clare are about to get married. Yes, this grown man is so shaken by the revelation of some stupid adolescent hi-jinks from a decade ago that he is going to dump his fiancee. And this from a character, James, who, we are told, has himself been a profligately promiscuous man, sleeping with numerous women and men before finally deciding--at least until this revelation about Clare's adolescent antics--to settle down with Clare.

And so Clare, faced with the prospect of losing her fiance and being held up to public shame by all the people who care what she did when she was only 16, decides that the best course of action for her to take would be--what else?--to murder James and to frame Nora for the murder. Yes, I kid you not. Clare plans to murder James so that she will not be humiliated by being dumped by James and by being exposed for her evil, teen-aged deeds. And she plans to frame Nora, a woman whom she has not even seen since that break-up of 10 years ago, for the murder.

This is what we are asked to believe. I can suspend my disbelief easily for fiction. I can believe in magic and aliens and alternate histories and all other sorts strangeness. But it is monumentally difficult to suspend my disbelief to the point that I can buy the characters in this novel as being even remotely real, non-crazy (all of them: Nora, Clare, and James would have to be insane to think and behave as they do in this novel) human beings. This novel is just so outlandish that I am aghast that a publisher would let such sheer and utter nonsense into print without heavy editing--because there is, actually, the makings of a decent narrative here, but it is so psychologically improbable that it boggles the mind that an editor did not send this back to the author for some major re-working of the characters and their motives.

Yet I have rated this novel 2 stars and not 1 star. I give it 2 stars rather than just 1 because I do see some promise. I hear the voice of a writer who has the makings of a good story-teller. And this is, after all, a debut novel. So, although this review is, I admit, rather harsh, I don't want to be just mean and nasty because that's not my intent. Despite its many problems, In a Dark, Dark Wood does contain the germ of a good story, and the story was not so bad that I did not finish. I did read all the way to the end. I did want to find out, ultimately, who had killed James and why, so my interest was maintained although I was deeply disappointed in the ending itself and in the character development.

Two final notes:

(1) In a Dark, Dark Wood has been marketed as a scary horror novel set in, as is as obvious from the title, a forest. It is not a horror novel. It is not remotely scary. If we are going to place it in a genre, it would be more aptly labeled a mystery or a thriller--though it is not all that thrilling.

(2) In a Dark, Dark Wood is compared in some of the advance reviews and even in a blurb on the back cover to a Gillian Flynn novel. Comparing women writers whose books feature women protagonists to Flynn has become de rigeur, but it is particularly appalling in this case. In a Dark, Dark Wood features a lead character who possesses nothing of the strength, intelligence, resourcefulness, charm, or personality of any of Flynn's protagonists, and the narrative itself lacks the polish, the character development, the plotting, and the genuinely and realistically surprising twists of Flynn's novels. Yet again, we are promised Flynn and get nothing of the kind.
Profile Image for Kirsty.
238 reviews117 followers
May 27, 2015
Honestly one of the worst books I have read this year, and I definitely cannot recommend it as a tense crime novel!!!

In a Dark, Dark Wood is the antithesis of what a thriller should be. It's hugely predictable, very slow paced, has big plot holes, and was downright boring.

I found the writing style to be quite amateurish, and the characters very immature and one dimensional. These women are supposed to be adults, and in their mid to late twenties - yet they came across as judgemental, bitchy, under confident teenage girls. The complexities of adult friendships / relationships was sorely lacking, and made the whole story seem like teenage drama. None of the characters are likable, and I didn't end up rooting for any of them, or caring who died or survived.

The flow of the book didn't work for me either. As it was easy to guess who was "bad guy" VERY early on. There was no exciting build up, and it seemed to limp on and on and on...

If crime novels or thrillers are your favourite genre of book, I would suggest you look elsewhere for a story that will keep you gripped and entertained. There is nothing original, or fresh here - its not even a good re-hash.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.8k followers
September 11, 2023
**3.5-stars rounded up**

Who needs friends, when you have frenemies?!

I had a lot of fun reading In a Dark, Dark Wood. Personally, I don't think it gets the love it deserves.

Sure, it has a standard format and slightly predictable plot, but it also has an intriguing, unreliable narrator, a creepy atmospheric setting and a delightful cast of unlikable characters.

In addition to being highly enjoyable, learned some valuable lessons from this book. Most importantly, when invited to a 'hen do' for a girl you don't even associate with anymore, just say no, thank you!!!

If for some insane reason, you do accept the invitation and end up at said 'do', when it starts getting weird, LEAVE!!!

Pack your shit and get the hell OUT!

This story was fun, intriguing and definitely a Ruth Ware.

She has a type, doesn't she? But I'll tell you what, it keeps me coming back every damn time.

I read every one of her published novels in 2018 and I will pick up anything else she puts out for the rest of time.

That's a promise!

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
May 21, 2021
3.5 stars
It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.
Ten years ago, Leonora ("Lee" "Leo" "Nora") broke up with her boyfriend (James), ditched her best friends (Clare/Nina) and skipped town. She hasn't looked back since.

Well, until now.

She just got an invite to Clare's Hen Party (bacholorette weekend) and despite her misgivings, she decides to go.

She's spent so much time running from her past that she thought she could handle facing it...but (unsurprisingly) things do not go well...
The whole thing had been painful to the point of nausea, made worse by covert sympathetic looks from Nina. If there's one thing I dislike more than being hurt, it's being seen to be hurt.
So now, Nora is stuck with Clare (the backstabber), Nina (training to be a doctor), Tom (a gay playwright), Melanie (a young mother) and Flo (a carbon-copy of Clare).

All of them are stuck in the glass house in the middle of the woods until this party is over. And when the party ends, it's not with a whimper but with a bang.

All in all, not a bad book per say.

I liked how Ruth Ware structured the novel. We have the past (the Hen Party) interspersed with the present (Nora recovering from a car accident) until the two timelines merge.

Both sections were compelling but they felt a little flat to me - the characters didn't wow me, they didn't feel like real people - they each had a role and they played it perfectly.

And... I predicted the ending.

I'm not saying that to brag....this is something I literally never do. I am the worst ending-predictor ever (and proud of it). I deliberately try not to guess because I love being surprised.

...and yet, I totally saw this coming.

Audiobook Comments
Read by Imogene Church - an absolute legend!

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Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
this is a truly beautiful ARC, one of the nicest i've seen:

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it's all textured and graphically pleasing and nice to touch and hold:

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but the story didn't really meet my expectations.

i'm giving it a three, but it is a low three. it is an incredibly fast read, and if you are looking for something in that vein - a fast-paced page-turner mystery thing, this may well satisfy you. but be forewarned it is not a creepy book, or even remotely spooky, as the cover and epigraph seem to suggest:

In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house;
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room;
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark cupboard;
And in the dark, dark box there was a....skeleton!

which also bothers me because the line that transitions cupboard to box has been omitted, so it looks weird. traditionally, it is :

In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house;
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room;
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark cupboard;
And in the dark, dark cupboard there was a dark, dark shelf;
And on the dark, dark shelf there was a dark, dark box;
And in the dark, dark box there was a....skeleton!

but for all that, it's not supernatural, it's not horror, it's not even psychologically creepy. the characters aren't particularly nuanced, it's predictable, it does that thing that i HATE where years of turmoil could have been avoided with ONE conversation, and amnesia-as-obstacle is so contrived and trite that unless it's handled really really well, it's just distancing; a device used to stretch out the story and lead the reader along by the nose until the author feels like revealing their zinger. which in this case, is telegraphed pretty early on, so it's not quite the rug-yank it's meant to be.

but there's a time and a place for every book, right? this was neither my time nor my place, but i can see this being an excellent book to read while on a long train ride, or on a plane, or curled up by a fireplace or a beach, if you're into that sort of thing. it's a very fast read, and despite all my complaints, i really was immersed in it. i just wasn't all that crazy about what i was immersed in. i've just read too much in this genre and this one didn't give me anything i hadn't seen before. but you and i are different people, with different needs.

i did have one big chuckle, but i'm not sure it was meant to be funny:

I Googled James. Once. Only once. Google was spattered with images of him - pictures of him in costume, onstage, publicity stills, shots of him smiling at charity functions and opening nights. The ones I couldn't bear were the ones in which he was looking directly at the camera, directly out of the screen, at me. When I scrolled down to one where he was naked onstage, in Equus, I had closed the browser with shaking hands, as if I'd stumbled on something violent or obscene.

that "as if" just cracked me up because - duh - equus.

so, yeah - beautiful, beautiful ARC.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Mandy.
320 reviews334 followers
February 26, 2017
3/3.5?!?!!! This book left me in such anger. The beginning was so fast and I was so sucked in and then the middle left me feeling lethargic and as if I were reading as I was walking through mud. Then the end.... The end totally blew my mind. I couldn't believe it happened the way it did... Would I recommend? Yeah, probs. The assortment of characters are absolutely uncanny. Such a strange cast of characters but when written together it was absolutely perfect. Ugh. I liked it and then I hated it... I love how it all came together but then I hate it at the same time and I can't say why... You have to read it yourself but when you do you will think... Oh how I hate this... But at the same time still find it hard to put down.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,449 reviews7,061 followers
April 13, 2020
Leonora Shaw is a crime writer. Ten years ago, following the breakup of a young love affair, she left a school in which up to then she had been very happy, lost touch with all her school friends and now lives alone in a small flat in Hackney, in which she devotes her entire time to writing. Her only relaxation is her daily running, at which she excels.

Then, out of the blue, she receives an e-mail inviting her to the hen party of Clare, who had been her best friend throughout her entire time at school, and whom she had loved and admired in equal measure. The party is to be held in a house situated in the middle of Kielder Forest in Northumberland. The invitation comes from Flo, who now claims to be Clare's best friend. Nora – which is the shortened form of her name by which she is now known - initially decides to ignore the invitation, but out of curiosity reads the names of the other people invited. She only knows one of them, another former school friend called Nina. She decides to do no more about it, but then receives an e-mail from Nina, suggesting that they go together. Reluctantly, Nora agrees, pushing the event to the back of her mind, thinking that November is still some time away.

Of course time moves on all too quickly, and on the appointed day Nora and Nina, six feet tall, reckless and great fun, drive down a bumpy forest track to an amazing modern house , fronted entirely in glass. The door opens and a blonde girl steps out to welcome them. Nora initially thinks she is Clare, but quickly realises she is a Clare look-alike, lacking both Clare's beauty and personality. She introduces herself as Flo. The house is her aunt's holiday home. Flo has evidently worked out a detailed timetable for the entire weekend, which is to be strictly adhered to. Nora's heart sinks. Soon the few guests are assembled – Nora, Nina, Melanie, a young married woman who has left her baby in the care of her husband for the first time, and Clare herself, as beautiful and charming as ever.

The programme begins with a pizza supper, a silly game and the consumption of a great deal of alcohol. The next day, when there is to be clay pigeon shooting and a séance, sounds even worse. Nora has noticed uneasily that there is a rifle hanging on the wall,but Flo assures her that it is only loaded with blanks to frighten the marauding rabbits. It is on the second day Nora learns that Clare's fiance is her young lover from ten years ago, James.

I liked the way the story was narrated by Nora, and I loved the strange house and its chilling forest backdrop, but I felt the characters were immature and unlikeable, and ultimately feel that the storyline could have offered so much more.
Profile Image for Sandra.
683 reviews6 followers
August 17, 2018
Writer Leonora (Nora) Shaw gets invited to old friend Clare's hen night (aka bachelorette party) by a girl named Flo. (It is being held in Flo's aunt's house.) Nora lost touch with Clare years ago, hasn't spoken to her in ten years, and doesn't know if she wants to go to this party. But after talking to another friend who is also invited (Nina) Nora reluctantly decides to go.

Nora and Nina arrive at the house where the party is being held, which is isolated in the woods in Northumberland. It's a very strange looking house, mostly glass, and it makes Nora uncomfortable to be in it. More guests arrive. Nora finally meets Clare again, and to Nora's dismay she discovers Clare's fiancé is Nora's ex-boyfriend James, who Nora still has feelings for, even though they broke up ten years ago.

The hen celebration gets underway with activities, games, a séance... Then, one night, they hear an intruder moving about downstairs in the night. Flo grabs the gun off the wall (which isn't supposed to be loaded) and the intruder is shot... (This book began with an injured, battered, and bruised Nora, who is experiencing some memory loss, in the hospital, overhearing the police discussing a murder. Is she a suspect? Who has been murdered?)

This was an entertaining read. I found the glass house in the dark, isolated woods an eerie setting for this story. And I was curious to find out what was going to happen next and who the murderer was.

An enjoyable, atmospheric read with secrets from the past, mystery, and suspense.
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
679 reviews1,325 followers
March 25, 2017
2.5 stars. This was a quick and easy read. I feel that my lack of enthusiasm for this book was largely affected by my expectations being set too high. I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

I really enjoyed this author, Ruth Ware's, second novel "The Woman in Cabin 10". I was expecting more of that heart-pounding, suspenseful writing that kept me on the edge of my seat, however, I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed upon finishing this book. This story dragged on and was somewhat predictable to the point that I found myself skimming over parts. None of the characters were likeable to me. Several of them were frustratingly self-absorbed and rather annoying. I kind of liked the main character, Nora/Lee/Leo/Leonora, but found I wasn't truly engaged in her story or life. The inner turmoil that Nora feels is extremely repetitive - reference to her secret was overkill to me - her inner dialogue and thoughts about it grew to become irritating. About 2/3 of the way through, the secret is revealed but it lacked a 'shock factor' for me. There were also several situations that seemed far-fetched.

I liked that each chapter left a small cliff hanger that kept me hungry for what would happen next. Though the story was somewhat predictable, it still kept stringing me along making me think perhaps I was wrong in my assumptions. (Unfortunately I was not). If you haven't read this author before, I strongly suggest trying out her second novel "The Woman in Cabin 10" as I found that to be a much more thrilling and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
April 7, 2022
In a Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه اکتبر سال2017میلادی

عنوان: در یک جنگل تاریک تاریک؛ نویسنده: روث ور؛ مترجم: شادی حامدآزاد؛ تهران نشر نون، سال‏‫1395؛ در352ص؛ شابک9786007141854؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده21م

عنوان: در یک جنگل تاریک تاریک؛ نویسنده: روث ور؛ مترجم: امید عناصری‌ مفتخری؛ تهران، میلکان؛ سال1396؛ در260ص؛ شابک9786007845783؛

کتاب‌های «روث ور»: «در یک جنگل تاریک تاریک (سال2015میلادی)»، «زنی در کابین در (سال2016میلادی)»، «بازی دروغ (سال2017میلادی)» و همین‌طور «مرگ خانم وستاوی (سال2018میلادی)» و ...؛ هستند؛ سبک نوشتار در داستانهای جنایی «ور»، با سبک بانو «آگاتا کریستی» سنجیده میشود؛ شخصیتهای محوری «ور»، زنان عادی هستند، که خود را در فضای جنایت، پیدا میکنند؛

در این رمان پر از حاشیه، هیجان انگیز، و پر از پیچ و خمهای داستانی، چیزی که قرار بود پایان هفته ای آرامش بخش، و پر از سرگرمی و لذت، در ییلاقی «انگلیسی» باشد، به کابوس بدل میگردد؛ «گاهی، تنها چیزی که باید از آن بترسی...؛ خودتان هستید»؛

زمانی که نویسنده ای گوشه گیر، به نام «لئونورا»، برای گذران پایان هفته، به ییلاقی «انگلیسی»، فراخوانده میشود، او با تردید و اکراه، فراخوان را میپذیرد؛ و با رسیدن نخستین شب، اسراری میان دوستان کهن و تازه، افشا میشود، یادمانی ناخوشایند، ذهن «لئونورا» را، به خود دلمشغول میسازد، و راستیهای ترسناک فاش میشوند: «لئونورا» و دوستانش، تنها مهمانان آن جنگل ترسناک نیستند

نقل از متن: (در یک جنگل تاریکِ تاریک، یک خانه ی تاریکِ تاریک بود؛ و در خانه ی تاریکِ تاریک، یک اتاق تاریکِ تاریک بود؛ و در اتاق تاریکِ تاریک، یک کمد تاریکِ تاریک بود؛ و در کمد تاریکِ تاریک، یک... اسکلت بود!؛ آنجا به شکل عجیبی عریان بود، انگار که ما در صحنه ی تئاتر، مشغول بازی کردن نقشهایمان در مقابل چشمهایی در جنگل بودیم.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 17/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kelli.
851 reviews403 followers
November 10, 2015
This was a mediocre story that had all the makings of something better than it was. I would describe it as a light mystery. It wasn't a thriller. It wasn't dark or scary. The voice of the narrator was lovely, the music at the beginning and end creepy but the story itself was slow and a bit clunky at times...filled with constant chatting done by characters who were each a bit odd and behaved in a way that was both catty and juvenile. It reminded me first of an Agatha Christie mystery, then of a show like Pretty Little Liars, and then of the game of Clue. The story was entertaining enough but I would have enjoyed it more had it taken less time getting to the action of it all. I found it more compelling toward the end and so I will go with 3 stars, but I feel I'm stretching to get there.
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
315 reviews2,419 followers
September 2, 2017

There have been many reviews for the regular book version of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware, but my review is for the audio version. I have had the actual book for awhile now and for some reason, every time I picked it up I just could not stay with it due to my unfortunate yet seasonably short attention span. As happens so many times, a beautifully made audio version of the same book will quickly suck me in, even if I just read the same words myself and they seemed so uninteresting in my own head.

The fabulous Imogen Church is the narrator, she is wonderful and a one-woman show, acting out all the voices with authentically nuanced personality traits. I had previously enjoyed her narrations of Alex Marwood's THE KILLER NEXT DOOR and all the BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY books by Helen Fielding. Ms. Church is also reading Ruth Ware's next two books and I will definitely be listening.

I really liked this book. For me, the audio version is much more entertaining and suspenseful than reading it with my own eyeballs. So, maybe, Reese Witherspoon will take it up the next step and the movie version will be even better!!? (fingers crossed!). The story revolves between six frenemies tucked away for a "hen party" in a cottage in a dark wood far away from civilization. I guarantee that you have never been to a bachelorette party like this. The creepy location, the sarcastic barbs the "friends" hurl on each other, the drug use, the Ouji board playing, and last, but not least, clay pigeon shooting as the main activity, all work together to create plenty of foreshadowing of the murder we know is going to happen. But, which of the friends is the killer? And who gets killed? The book is written in a first person POV by Nora who has unfortunately suffered a terrible head trauma and is, therefore, a most unreliable narrator (yippeeeee, I love unreliable narrators!).

The story pays homage to the Agatha Christie "locked room" murder motif, one of many a mystery lover's favorite plot devices. You will figure out the ending way before the main character does (sadly, no plot twist), it is an excellently written psychological mystery and a tremendous debut for Ruth Ware. THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 has higher reviews and that's always a plus for a new author-- to be on the upward trajectory.

Come to my blog for a review of the new Playster app touting itself to be bigger and better than Audible! spoiler alert: Playster SUCKS!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,621 reviews994 followers
June 26, 2023
In a dark dark wood! Wowsers! A smashing debut thriller by Ruth Ware. A simple premise, a simple story a 'locked room' kind of mystery, but just told so compellingly!

Nora hasn't seen her former best friend Clare for a decade when she gets a very random invitation to Clare's hen-weekend. Will she go? Can she go? The book centres on one of the most suspense ridden and also quite macabre hen-weekends ever.

A rip roaring thriller which I genuinely couldn't put down. A gorgeous whodunnit heralding to the genre's illustrious past. Easily 8 out of 12 Four Stars. And a recommended read for all :-)

2019 read
Profile Image for Julie .
4,081 reviews59k followers
May 5, 2016
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a 2015 Gallery/Scout publication.

I began hearing a few rumblings about this book last year, but could never find the time to read it. However, when Ware’s next novel came up for review, I snatched it up immediately and was very, very impressed. So, off I went to my Overdrive Library to locate a copy of this novel. Although this book has been out for a while, the hold time was still lengthy. But, finally, a copy became available, so with giddy anticipation, I eagerly dived in.

“In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house;

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark, room;

And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark cupboard;

And in the dark, dark cupboard there was… a skeleton!

- Traditional Halloween tale

The atmosphere is created right from the start when Leonora- or Nora, as she prefers to be called, receives an invitation via email to a hen party being given for an old friend she has lost touch with, and with whom there are some painful memories associated with.

Against her better judgment, Nora agrees to attend the party with another friend, but when they arrive at their destination, Nora knows instinctively she has made a grave error, but it is too late to back out, and so we begin a serious game of psychological mind games that are not intended for the faint of heart.

As the story progressed, I picked up on a little tribute to Agatha Christie and her classic tales of mystery, but of course the story slowly morphed into a warped, twisted, tragic and utterly shocking tale of horror and suspense.

I love dark, suspenseful thrillers, so of course, this is just my kind of book. But, it takes a lot to impress me these days, so, I really appreciate a clever plot that gives my brain a workout, as well as my emotions.

I won’t lie and say I didn’t have my suspicions about what might be going on, but the thing is, I wasn’t sure, and I entertained several possibilities along the way, so this wasn’t one of those books where I saw plot twists coming a mile off.

I was engaged from start to finish and nearly read this book in one sitting. So beware- when you start this book, be sure you don’t need a full eight hours of sleep because you may not be able to put it down.

I really enjoyed this book and although it has generated a some buzz, it really could compete with some of the highly praised and wildly popular psychological thrillers that have garnered so much media attention.

So, while I never like to compare one author to another or one book to another, I will say, if you liked the more popular books in this genre, you really should give this one a look.

For a debut novel, I couldn’t ask for more, really. I have read the second book by this author, “The Girl in Cabin 10”, which will release sometime this summer, and I can see Ware’s craft is solidifying and truly believe this author could become a household name if she continues to improve at this pace. Ruth Ware is an author you should be paying close attention to.

4 stars

Profile Image for Clumsy Storyteller .
350 reviews726 followers
February 29, 2016
Warning !!!!! Review may contain spoilers!

Damnnnnnnnnn WTF did i just read ! OMG this is so creppy and amazing :D and mindblowing wow i’m at loss of words ! This book is a crime novel: an absorbing, genious thriller in which, halfway through, a big twist upends everything. (Spoiler alert: I plan to discuss that twist below.) 
The story is being told by Nora’s POV she is an author , insecure woman haunted by her past , one day she recieved an Email from Flo inviting her to clare’s wedding , the bride « Clare » is  having “Hen night”  a party for women only and Tom of course the gay friend :D anyway Flo organized the party and invited Melanie , Tom , Nina , and Nora

Nora and Clare have known each other since they were five years old, Nora had a boyfriend James whom she broke up with and left her home town and never came back , after that nora lost contact with everyone she knew from that town and decided to leave her past behind and start fresh , Why ? Ha i won’t tell you that will spoil the fun :D a Decade later Clare invites Nora to her wedding and guess who’s the groom ! Oh yeah it’s James

‘I think Clare’s changed a lot, actually,’ I said. ‘She seems a lot more …’ I stopped, searching for the right word. Maybe there wasn’t one. ‘She just seems kinder, I guess.’
‘People don’t change,’ Nina said bitterly. ‘They just get more punctilious about hiding their true selves.’

Reading this i was like Really bitch ? From all fucking 7 billion human on this planet you chose him ! Your best friend’s ex boyfriend i’m sorry i got carried away back to storyline , The party wasn't as fun as they thought it’s going to be…….….. so long story short That was stone cold !


this book was recommended to me it was a great book and I would highly recommend it to fans of mystery , crime novels

Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,268 reviews195 followers
July 17, 2021
I thought this book would be a thriller and dark. Instead it turned out to boring and the characters were chatty and got on my nerves. Instead of calling it a "Hen" party, it should have been called a "Bitch" party. All of the ladies were bitchy and mean. The chapters are short but the book still felt like it was a long read. Nothing really happened until about mid way. Which by than I was so over the characters that I did not care what happened to them. I jumped to the last few chapters of the book because I was curious to see how this story would end. Disappointment with what I found out was the motive for the whole story. I don't know if I will check out another book by this author.
Profile Image for Theresa.
232 reviews143 followers
December 27, 2019
This is a tough one. I had high expectations for "In A Dark, Dark Wood" by Ruth Ware, but I must be honest - I'm extremely disappointed with this clunky novel. I had 2 main problems. The first being the writing. I will say I did enjoy the plot, even though the pay-off was mediocre at best. This is the story of a hen night (bachelorette party for us Americans) in the English countryside gone awry. The beginning was fast-paced and sucked me in, but halfway through, the plot started to cave in on its self.

I feel like Ruth Ware's writing was uneven and frustrating to get through. There's a lot of rehashing. Too much verifying scenes that took place in the previous chapters. My 2nd problem was the protagonist, Leonora (also goes by Nora and Lee, *rolls eyes*). Leonora is what you call an unreliable narrator. I found Leonora to be one-dimensional and a bit boring. Leonora also lacked self-awareness. She was completely oblivious to everything around her. I found her annoying and not the sharpest tool in the shed.

I hate to say it but this novel is VERY PREDICTABLE. I knew the so-called "twist" less than 200 pages in. I kept hoping for a "gotcha" moment near the end but it never happened. This book didn't scare me in the slightest. It was just a modest and overrated psychological thriller. I did enjoy the supporting characters like the sarcastic and quick-witted, Nina, and the emotionally unhinged, Flo. These 2 ladies had the best dialogue. As for the rest of them: Clare (the bride-to-be/Leonora's former best friend), Melanie (the overstressed new mom), and Tom (the stereotypical gay male) failed to make a lasting impression on me. Like watching paint dry.

"In A Dark, Dark Wood" is one of the most disappointing novels I've read this year. I've heard Reese Witherspoon's production company is turning this baby into a major motion picture. I actually think this novel could work as a feature film because the plot is entertaining in a chick-flick kind of way. Ruth Ware is not a bad writer, she's just not as polished and refined yet, (this is her debut novel) so I'll cut her some slack. It's a mixed bag for me. Ho-hum.

Favorite line:

"If you ask me, she's a couple of Xanax away from reenacting the shower scene in Psycho."
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
721 reviews1,121 followers
May 1, 2021
Every time I think I’m getting fed up of thrillers I pick up a really good one that saves the genre for a bit longer.

4 stars 🌟

Leonora Shaw lives a quiet life alone as a writer in London. Out of the blue she is invited to an old school friend’s hen party, a school friend she hasn’t spoken to in 10 years.

Against her better judgment Nora decides to go. But when she turns up at this creepy house in the middle of nowhere all the secrets of the past are raked back up, and some new ones are revealed.

A gripping thriller, I had a rough idea where the plot was going so it wasn’t a massive shock. However I don’t need that for a good book, I was entertained and hooked which is good enough for me 😊
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,157 followers
August 19, 2015
After a bachelorette (Hen) party, Lenora wakes up in a hospital bed badly bruised and confused with a bandaged head and memory loss; and when she overhears a devastating police conversation outside her door, she begins to piece together the nightmare of a weekend that brought her there.

Based on the title, In The Dark Dark Wood and the great eerie book cover, I was hoping for creepiness and devilment in the snowy outdoors, but instead received a fair to middling (somewhat) predictable crime-mystery that nonetheless kept me reading into the early morning hours.

While the character's actions and conversations seemed a bit juvenile for their age, still a solid 3 Star entertaining debut read from an author I would definitely try again.

Profile Image for Danielle.
836 reviews452 followers
May 11, 2021
This was an okay mystery… not my fav from Ruth 😜 but you can always count on her for that little twist 👍
Profile Image for Iris P.
171 reviews206 followers
December 15, 2016
In a Dark, Dark Wood

What originally lured me to this novel was the synopsis: "what should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn", good enough. Sounded like a nice to way to immerse myself in some fluffy, brain-candy kind of story. Unfortunately my enthusiasm was short-lived.

Perhaps I am on the wrong demographic for this novel, but I found this book tedious, repetitive and frankly not very original. The writing was subpar bordering on mediocre, and the plot farfetched and predictable.

Setting a hen party on a remote cottage in the woods (known as the "Glass House") was I guess, supposed to serve as the perfect metaphor representing life as a stage where we are the actors on a play or something. Instead it comes across as a force device that never delivered any particular memorable, insightful or inspiring moment.

Because the story is told using a first person narrative, we are unfortunately stuck with the unbearable musings of Leonora Shaw, a 26 y/o crime writer who is so insecure she's not even able to demand that his friends call her by the name she prefers to go by (Nora, not Leo or Lee).
And really how many times do we need to hear that the protagonist is tired or cold or needs to remember what happened!!??

These characters are not only dislikable, they are immature and obnoxious. I usually don't mind unpalatable characters but as the reader, I need to CARE what's going to happen to them or at least there needs to be a solid story behind them. Sadly that was not the case here.

A thriller that wasn't that thrilling.
Profile Image for Sue.
2,732 reviews225 followers
August 1, 2015
** I would like to thank Random House UK, Vintage Publishing for allowing me the copy to read and review **

This makes for compulsive reading.

Lee is a writer, she lives on her own.
Likes to run.

She gets invited out of the blue to an old friends hen do, from Flo the Matron of Honor.
Something happened between her old friend and herself.
They have not seen each other for around 10 years.

She contacts another friend to find out if she has been invited too. And they both decide to go together.

The place they have to stay at where they are meeting up is a bit 'out of the way', and only a couple of other friends accepted the invitation as it was short notice.

You wonder where her friend is when they arrive, there is Flo to welcome them in.

You also wonder what happened between herself and her friend all those years ago.

This is not just a hen party, clubbing and pubbing, no this is being held within the confines of this home.
Flo's aunts home.

Her aunt goes away in the winter leaving this home empty.

Emma soon gets to meet up with Claire again.

We find Claire and Flo an odd couple of friends and left wondering what is between them too.
Flo is always in Claire's shadow, right to wearing the same clothes at times, what's that all about.

Years ago Lee was in Claire's shadow always feeling the lesser of the two.

Returning after 10 years seems to throw them right back in time to how is used to be. Except, each of them have their own lives now.

Another friend there is Mel. She has a 6 month old baby she has left behind with the Father. But she realizes that she may have left her child too early. She's never left her baby before, not even for a night. And constantly wants to keep in contact by phone with her husband to see how things are going. But the telephones do not always work, out in the remote, and cell phones are even worse.

Thomas is another one there.

He is gay, and he has a partner, we learn that he had an argument with him before coming away.

We jump back and forth between the events and Lee being in hospital.

What lead up to that?

Lee cannot recall anything, zilch of that night.

Then it jumps back to the house again and the events that went on leading up to it. It does this several times with ease.

This is a great debut novel. Its kept my attention and my inquisitiveness going from start to end.

When the secret came out, I was gob smacked. It all fitted together.
I can HONESTLY say there was one scenario that entered my mind, I wasn't too far wrong, but needed more to build on my idea.

The last chapters left me in no doubt at all about how each character fitted to each part.
My full attention was on the latter chapters wanting to know and eager to know how this was going to end.

I LOVED how this author wrote and kept teasing me, kept me on the edge of my seat. She writes with a confidant flair and each descriptive word had meaning, allowing you to be sucked in and devour every word.

Strong plot. No dips of pace.
I wasn't bored or distracted once, quite the reverse.

Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,471 reviews1,013 followers
June 21, 2015
Seriously addictive and with such a gorgeous flow that you could easily read it in one sitting if you have a free afternoon, In a Dark Dark Wood is definitely up there with the best psychological thrillers I have read.

It is beautifully character driven – to the point that even inanimate objects become characters in their own right – most especially the “dark dark house” mentioned in the blurb which takes on a life of its own and is so deliciously creepy that there is a touch of cinematic horror story to be had in here as well. Ruth Ware has a subtle yet affecting descriptive quality to her writing that sinks into your psyche, making this an edgy and highly intriguing read.

So we have Nora then – invited rather randomly and out of the blue to the hen party of an old friend she has not seen for ages, she is in two minds as to whether or not to go. Ultimately she makes the decision to attend, a decision that will change the course of her life…

The plot is tense, claustrophobic and completely fascinating – a small cast set up in a tightly woven environment where secrets hover just beneath the surface waiting to jump out – the entire character group are beautifully drawn both individually and in their interactions with each other. The author weaves a web of deceit around her carefully set pieces and the whole thing is just really so readable, involving and entirely captivating.

The ultimate solution may or may not surprise you but in this case the journey is the thing and the extremely compelling utterly riveting story unfolding before you.

Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for  Li'l Owl.
398 reviews239 followers
August 6, 2019
Oh, my!
In a dark, dark wood....
There is a dark, dark house....

With a few odd, strange friends....
Invited to an odder, stranger Hen....
And something that warns
M uuu rrr d eee rrr eee rrr

Leonora Shore wakes to discover she's in hospital but has no memory of what happened. She's been told she's been in a car accident and has banged her head very hard at least once and she's got a bandage on her forehead. As she fades in and out of a morphine haze she tries to remember what happened. She remembers that she had been at a Hen party that weekend for an old school friend, Clair, but the memory of the accident and of much of the time leading up to it refuses to break through the fog.

A week before, Nora received an email from someone named Flo inviting her to a Hen party for Clair Cavana. She and Clair had been best friends since primary school but she hadn't seen or heard from her in ten years, not since....

Why then, would she be invited to a small group of Claire's friends for one last party before she gets married. It doesn't say who the groom is, only that Clair would really like to see her.
Against her better judgement she agrees to go, but only as a pact with her friend Nina, another mutual friend from school, to go together. Unlike she and Clair, Nora and Nina have kept in touch and they see each other occasionally. When Nina and Nora arrive at the house where the Hen party is being held over the weekend they find themselves looking at a glass house as it has so many floor to ceiling windows. And it's surrounded on all sides by dark woods.

Clair drops a bomb when she explains why she wanted to see Nora now, after ten years. (I'm not going to spoil it for you!)
Nora learns that Flo has been Claire's "best" friend for the past ten years.
The weekend has been barely tolerable with all of Flo's incessant chatter about the wedding. Worse still is Flo's anxiety to not let anything get in the way of her plan to have the "absolutely perfect and best Hen party" for Clair, bursting into tears at the smallest things. Everyone at the party is taken aback by Flo's strange behavior. But she exhibits even more bizarre behavior towards Clair, even dressing in nearly the same clothes.

During one one of the few moments she is awake Nora notices that there is a police officer outside the door to her hospital room. When she overhears the officer say that this is now a murder investigation she's not sure she heard correctly. As she struggles to understand what has happened she hears more voices.

The police woman's voice is low but her tones are clipped and clear as a news readers and her words filter through the glass much more distinctly than the nurse's northern burr. ... "that this is now a homicide investigation."

So it's true. I didn't imagine it. It wasn't some product of too much morphine in my battered head. It's true.
I struggle up against my pillows, my heart pounding in my throat. And on the monitor on my left I see the little green line leaping with panicked jerks against the flat line.
Someone is definitely dead.
Someone. Is. Dead.
But who?

This is my review for the audiobook of In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, narrated by my all-time favorite Imogen Church. I love Imogen. She's so talented, smooth and flawless. She does wonderful things with her voice and accents that never has you guessing which character is talking. Best of all, she has the ability to make you feel the apprehension, tension, and expectation in your bones!

I think many of you know how much I love my audiobooks! I always listen to the sample to determine whether I will like the narration as it's crucial to the enjoyment of audiobooks.

This was brilliant! I have loved everything I've read by Ruth Ware. Actually they were all audiobooks, narrated by Imogen Church and I think this is my favorite.
Ruth Ware is able to create a twisted story with a kicker at the end that left me reeling!
The unusual characters that have been invited to the Hen party makes it a highly entertaining, creepy read, to say the least! The 'friends' are easy to dislike with their petty arguments and their oddities but I think the have been written that way. I think readers are supposed to be put off by how wierd they are, which for me adds credence to just how bizarre Flo's behavior is. For me the strange characters ask readers to question. Are these people really the closest friends Clair has? Why are these odd people the select few special enough to have at her Hen?? Then add the extra creepy setting
In a dark, dark wood....
There is a dark, dark house....

With a few odd, strange friends....
Invited to an odder, stranger Hen....
And something that warns
M uuu rrr d eee rrr eee rrr
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,730 followers
January 18, 2021
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is the kind of book where you have a difficult time determining a rating. I had never read any of the author's novels until about a year ago, and since then, I've read them all--this being the final one, even though it is an early book of hers. While there is nothing bad about it, there is also nothing that stood out. Had I read this one first, I wouldn't have continued reading... not because I didn't like it... but because it was too ordinary.

Let's start with the plot--a hen party. Okay, never been to one, read a lot and saw a lot on tv. I totally get the concept. But... Nora, who's changed her name, which is never a good sign if you are trying to start anew yet agree to visit a friend from over a decade ago--I get it, some call me Jay, some call me James... we all need a different identity at times--but Nora, formerly Lee, agrees to go to the bachelorette party for a former friend she didn't really like all that much. A secret comes out. One guest leaves. Murder happens. Whodunit? (P.S. sorry for that major run-on sentence... I'm dabbling in different review styles these days, and instead of formal, I went stream of conscious here.)

In terms of plot, it wasn't very strong compared to the other books. Also, one of the six guests just left and we hardly heard from her again. I barely understood how they were all friends. And since I shouldn't give away spoilers, I'd just say that there were a bunch of open holes in terms of how this group came together. It felt like half a plot was created, and none of the fleshed out story points for the side details were focused on. I am a very forgiving reader, but this had way too many that could've been used as clever plot devices or red herrings.

The characters were boring and flat, and I hardly liked anything about them. When I add all this together, I found myself skimming a lot. Then something suspenseful would happen and draw me back in. I think this was the writer's initial foray into a serious thriller novel, and it worked on some levels, failed on others. Usually, at this point, I forgive indie writers because they don't have the backing of a publishing house with editors and agents who can guide their authors from a C to a B+ or A- grading. For indies, they often have no money nor fans yet either, but in this case, someone should've stopped the book and said "Hey, we can make this stronger."

That said, the author is clearly talented, and I like how her mind works. I enjoy the writing style (easy, accessible, not overly flowy). In the end, when the plot came together, I was a little surprised at some pieces, so I bounced back and forth on ratings. Compared to her other books, I was disappointed, so I ended up with an average rating of 3. I'll still read her next novel, but I wouldn't recommend this to a newbie in her list of books as a starter.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,354 reviews3,008 followers
November 5, 2018
4.5 stars

I finally got around to reading this and overall I thought it was entertaining even if there were some problems along the way. This is the second Ruth Ware book I have read and for me she is very similar to B.A. Paris. I enjoy their books even though I am well aware of the flaws and understand why they aren't every reader's cup of tea. How I choose to rate books is based mainly on my overall reading experience and I did have a fun time with this one.

Leonora is invited to spend the weekend in the English countryside for her childhood friend's bachelorette party. Despite the fact she hasn't even been in contact with her friend for years, Leonora decides to attend. But at some point she's going to question that decision because this probably isn't going to be your typical weekend getaway.

I thought the book started off rather slow but really picked up as the story progressed. You know fairly early on something horrible has happened and the fun part is the story going back and forth between what happened during the party weekend and the aftermath. Did I find the ending to be completely satisfying? No, I think it is fairly easy to predict what is going on here before everything is revealed. But yet, I still got out of this book what I was hoping for which is something that I find interesting enough to want to keep turning the pages and in that respect it certainly delivered.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
1,025 reviews2,980 followers
June 20, 2020

Leonara Ware has constructed for herself a solitary existence in London, living in a small but comfortable apartment, writing crime novels and eating, running and writing on a very precise schedule. She seems content for the moment but we wonder why she is so sheltering herself from others her own age and not really living her life.

She receives an invitation to a hen weekend (we in the States call it a bachelorette party) for a former friend, Clare, whom she has not seen for 10 years. After much deliberation and only after having been assured that her other friend Nina will also be attending she agrees to go.

The book is told in past and present sequence with Nora being in hospital with a serious head injury and multiple cuts and bruises. The police keep urging her to remember what happened the last night of the hen weekend when things went horribly wrong. She knows that someone is dead because she overhears the police but at first her memory eludes her.

Upon her arrival at the hen party, taking place in a beautifully crafted glass house owned by a friend’s aunt, she soon finds out that Clare has invited her to tell her that she is marrying James, Nora’s ex-boyfriend. The other guests include, Flo, a woman who seems to worship Clare, Tom, a friend from Clare’s theater group and Melanie a young mother who was reluctant to leave her infant home.

Nora soon is feeling so uncomfortable that she feels a run will clear her mind. She runs through the “dark, dark woods” and does feel somewhat better after.

Nevertheless the first night passes uncomfortably with Flo constantly trying to make this the perfect night for Clare and the others being incredibly bored. There is no cell reception in the house and inexplicably the landline is cut off. Melanie decides to return home not being able to tolerate being cut off from her husband and young child.

The plot becomes more tense and tightly woven and what seemed at first to be a predictable thriller evolves into a novel that is readable, frightening and well written.

The scenes in the hospital with Nora struggling to remember what happened and the police bearing down on her as a suspect were the most tense for me. Within a few days she does remember and what follows next is a riveting attempt by Nora to return to the house and reclaim her memory.

I read this book in a couple of sessions finding that it did keep me turning pages and trying to find the murderer among the group.

Even though the plot is not wholly original (I’ve read other stories taking place in the woods with a killer among a group) I found the writing to be very good. Very good descriptions of the landscape and house and good character development. I will be recommending this book.
Profile Image for Katie.
273 reviews3,840 followers
February 17, 2022
This book has been mocking me for years every time I walked by it in a bookstore. It said "hah! you review thrillers and you haven't read ME?!"

Well I wish I hadn't. This was bad.
January 4, 2023

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Maybe it's because of all the Point Horror novels I read as a teen, but nothing gets my blood singing like a thriller about a murderous party. So it delights me that the successes of books like THE GUEST LIST have popularized this subgenre of thrillers for adults again. Who doesn't like a good locked room mystery? You might say no, but you're secretly lying. I know you've watched Glass Onion and Knives Out.

My previous experience with this author was pretty mediocre as I loved the idea of THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 but then I felt like it kind of jumped the shark. But how could I say no to a bachelorette party that ends in bloodshed? I can't. Obviously. So I decided to swallow my reservations as if they were a shot of tequila and forge ahead.

IN A DARK, DARK WOOD starts out OK. Nora receives a questionable invite to a "hen-do" from an estranged friend and decides reluctantly to go at the last minute because another one of her friends, Nina, will be there. The destination is a beautiful cabin in the middle of the woods and it's snowing and it's CREEPY. The other guests are Tom, Flo, Melanie, Nina, and of course, the bride to be herself, Clare.

It doesn't take long for tensions to seep in. IN A DARK, DARK WOOD is told in dual timeline and through the "present" and flashbacks, we learn that something at the party went wrong and that there were tensions between some of the guests. I thought the cattiness and weirdness was really well done but as soon as the book started to get to the end, I could feel a shift-- just like THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10. And then the book-- it kind of got weird. And predictable.

This wasn't a bad book but it didn't really bring a lot to the table, either. I ended up skimming because I just wanted to get closure and find out what happened so I could hang up my hat. Maybe if I hadn't read THE GIRLS WEEKEND by Judy Gurhman, which has a similar plot but is better done, I would have liked this more. But THE GIRLS WEEKEND was way better-- and smuttier!-- so this book ended up falling short by comparison. I do think people who enjoy THE GUEST LIST will probably like this book and it certainly passes the time, but after two meh reads from this author, I'm not sure I'll read more (although I've said that before and read more anyway, so make a liar out of me, Ms. Ware, I DARE YOU).

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Linzie (suspenseisthrillingme).
313 reviews148 followers
December 2, 2022
Leonora ‘Nora/Lee/Leo’ Shaw receives an email inviting her to a hen party (for non-Brit’s that’s a bachelorette party). Only problem is it’s for her ex-best friend Claire Cavendish, who Nora hasn’t seen in ten years. On a whim, however, she decides to attend despite not being invited to the wedding. Because, in the back of her mind, the question of why she was inviting at all niggles at her.

Arriving at the “cabin” (aka modern glass home deep in the woods), Nora suddenly finds herself thrust back into school-girl dramatics and memories she’d rather forget. But things begin to go sideways when Nora discovers footprints in the snow outside of the house that everyone swears they didn’t leave. Is someone lying? Or does someone outside of the house have dangerous plans? Frankly, any more information will ruin the story, so you’ll just have to read it to find out the twisted darkness within!

I’ve been rereading some of my all-time favorites recently, hoping that they’ll measure up the second time around. Unfortunately, this one dipped a little bit for me (not a lot, but enough to drop it from five stars where I rated it the first time). A quick, easy read, I finished this book in less than a day, but I didn’t find it quite as riveting as I originally did.

Told in dual timelines, the hen party in the past and the hospital in the present, and filled with complicated relationships between friends, it held huge promise, which for the most part delivered. I am sad to say that I figured out the big climax before it happened (how much this had to do with having already read it is unknown) and I found the plot somewhat predictable.

Despite all of this, I always love a good Ruth Ware book and this definitely is one, just not twice within just over a year. Nevertheless, twisty and dark, just like the name promises, In a Dark, Dark Wood exposes long buried secrets between friends. And aren’t they always the most dangerous? Overall, I still highly recommend. Rating of 4 stars.

Trigger warning: abortion, attempted suicide, drug and alcohol use
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