Book Reviews

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (2015) Review

Leonora Shaw has been invited to a bachelorette party. The bride? Someone she hasn’t spoken to in 10 years, 10 years ago when she left everything painful behind.Catching herself by surprise, she agrees to go and in turn, is shacked up with strangers in a strange glass house for an entire strange, trying weekend. And then a gun goes off.

Bits and Pieces: It’s a bit obvious, isn’t it? Narrator seems like the author might be writing close to home. Vivid, defined characters- each have unique voices and thoughts. Love the British terminology as an American reader.

The Nitty Gritty: Readers who enjoy a first person perspective will easily whisk through In a Dark, Dark Wood. It feels like a memoir and reads like a delicious soap opera script. The confessions of the personal faults and weaknesses from our narrator are painfully familiar to any awkward, shy, or internally struggling girl that us women have (hopefully) evolved from. However, the mystery did not require Holmes in the slightest. Ware attempts several times to knock readers off the trail but the transparency of the plot was just a few too many hints thin. Even the casual reader will not find it surprising to start pointing their mental fingers at a suspect early on. Because of that, the conclusion dissipated quickly and without much flare.  It wasn’t a read done in vain though; the players come to life and all the dialogue flowed so naturally, almost like a screenplay. It’s the type of book that would make a great TV film; it balances proper increments of drama, vulgar language, and graphic content. This is by no means a horror tale; more of a tamed thriller. And for such a cool title, I was looking forward to being scared. No such luck.

Long Story Short (Too Late): In a Dark, Dark Wood was a fast paced and mildly intriguing story of a heartache, overwhelming confusion, and harbored ill will. It’s a good example of what happens to people who live with regret and individuals who obsess over the worst times of their pasts- fingers crossed nothing extreme happens to those real life folks. It’s a book to read with girlfriends or with a glass of wine; only there’s no sex and more blood. I was disappointed in the flatness of the reveal but the yo-yoing of foreshadowing and the sequences of foggy memory also helped readers move forward with a thirst for the truth and in turn, proves the author succeeded in making characters you care about.

To purchase In a Dark, Dark Wood and support this blog, click the cover.


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