Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

dark dark woodKnowing nothing about this book, I chose the audio version from my Libby app mostly because it was available, and because I had seen some postings on Facebook from fellow book readers who enjoyed it.

By the title, and cover (yeah, I know. Never judge), I thought this was going to be a much more creepy story. But turns out, it’s a story about a bachelorette weekend (although this is UK-based so it’s called a “hen do”) gone wrong. I had never heard of a hen do, or “hen” for short. I figured we all called it the same thing around the world. I guess this is another one of those chips/crisps, french fries/chips, cookies/biscuits, soccer/football things.

The cast of characters is fairly archetypical. You have the protagonist, Leonora, who currently goes by Nora, but others know her as Lee, or, as we will find out very late in the book, Leo. Why all the name changes? Well, the change to Nora seems precipitated by a traumatic breakup in her late teens where *something* happened. We don’t know what. She doesn’t talk about it.

Claire is our bride. She and Nora (although it was Lee back then) grew up together, but have lost touch for over a decade. Due to this breakup/total life change for Lee/Nora.

Nina is another friend from this era in life, although they are still in touch for whatever reason. She’s a doctor.

Tom is the token male on the hen … obviously for a male to be invited, he has to be gay. And yeah. He’s a gay actor.

And finally, Flo is the maid of honor who is basically obsessed with Claire. Dresses like her and everything. Gets super psycho if anyone threatens to ruin the “perfect hen weekend.” Yeahhhhh.

Oh and there’s Melanie, a new mom, but she leaves halfway through the novel and honestly I’m not sure why she’s a necessary character. Maybe someone can explain to me why she’s there. Maybe just to show that someone left before things went terribly wrong.

Yeah so … things go terribly wrong. I should probably mention that Claire is marrying James, Lee/Nora’s ex, the one surrounding the breakup that made Lee/Nora shake up her life and cut everyone off. And that she didn’t know that prior to being invited to the hen. And the whole reason Claire invited her to the hen was to drop that bombshell on Lee/Nora. Yeah, Claire is kind of a vindictive bitch.

To say more would be to give everything away, but those are the players, that’s the scenario, and some bad stuff happens. Like, some murdery stuff.

It’s a good read. I’d categorize this as chick lit-slash-thriller. It was fun to listen to; the narrator, Imogen Church, did a good job of voicing all the characters. Sometimes the narrator’s voice is a huge turnoff for me but I enjoyed listening to her.

Check it out for something entertaining… see if you can figure out the twist(s) before they’re revealed. I figured out one of them, and had a notion of the second. The justification of why the murderer did it was kind of hokey to me, but I was able to still enjoy the ending.

I have another of Ware’s books, The Woman in Cabin 10. I’ll probably check that one out this year. Anyone read it? Is it any good?



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