Harvill Secker | July 2015 | 352 pgs
Source: Purchased

Leonora Shaw hasn't been in contact with her schoolmates for ten years. Now at twenty-six and a crime fiction writer, she is intrigued by an email inviting her to attend an old friend's hen party. Clare Cavendish is getting married soon but it is Clare's friend, Flo, who is coordinating the party. Nora and Clare used to be best friends, but Flo on the other hand is a complete stranger to her. Nora isn't sure if she wants to go, after all it has been ten years and it would be awkward, but she sees her other friend, Nina da Souza, is on the emailing list as well. In the end, Nora decided to attend, for she knew she is also very curious why Clare has chosen to invite her to the hen party but not her wedding. 

Unlike any other bachelorette parties, Clare's hen party is held at Flo's aunt's glass house in the woods. It is remote and the telephone connection is bad, but Flo assures them that they have all the privacy and people rarely step their foot there, at least not during winter periods. While the rest of the group doesn't really bothered by the fully clear glass house, Nora couldn't help feeing scrutinised but most of all, she doesn't really know the group except for Clare and Nina. 

The mystery comes in when there is a murder in the glass house. Suddenly, everyone becomes a suspect and as Nora lies on the hospital bed after the bloody aftermath, she has to rely on her memories (which she couldn't remember) what had happened and the motive of the murder. 

Told in a first person narrative by Nora, In a Dark, Dark Wood is an absorbing read and I could see why this book would make a good book club discussion. Fast-pace and foreboding, this is what made it a page-turner though I didn't really feel connected to the characters. Most of them are unlikeable and leave a reader with doubts, but I suppose this is how it goes with the story's direction and the thrills it evoke as we read further. As much as I was enticed with the premise, I felt there is something lacking with the logical sense of some circumstances but then I am not going to delve into them for they would be spoilers. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this debut novel by Ruth Ware (and all the more with her latest release, The Woman in Cabin 10) and I know I will be looking out for her future releases.

14 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I agree! I did enjoy it, but there were a couple of things that bothered me, including the ending.

  2. Kay Says:

    Yes, I understand what both of you are talking about. I did like this one, but because it has been some months since I read it - my main memories are a bit vague - except for that glass house. Creepy!

  3. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - The story wasn't perfect but I did like the intensity and the thrill it gave me.

  4. Melody Says:

    Kay - Totally agree with the glass house! I wonder why Flo's aunt's wanted to build that house in glass and steel and nothing else.

  5. diane Says:

    I finished this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for your thoughts! I already read this and I feel much the same way. I enjoyed the intense plot, but I dislike the characters and felt confused by some of the dumb decisions they made! Glad you mostly enjoyed it-- it was a fun read.

  7. Iliana Says:

    I thought this had a great premise and I did enjoy it a lot except for the ending. Still this is an author on my watch list. Wasn't the description of the house great? I can't imagine a home like that in the middle of the woods - it sounds so out of place.

  8. Lark Says:

    This is an author I need to read...though I might start with The Woman in Cabin 10, because it sounds like that's the better book. Thanks for the review! :)

  9. Melody Says:

    Diane - I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

  10. Melody Says:

    Rita - Yes! I didn't understand about the decisions they made. It didn't really make sense to me at some point, but then there wouldn't be a story if things are going as the way we think. ;-p

  11. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Agree about the ending. I just loved the atmospheric setting of the glass house; so cold and creepy!

  12. Melody Says:

    Lark - I think you'll enjoy this author's books, Lark. Yes, do start with The Woman in Cabin 10. :)

  13. Marce Says:

    This book and her new one sound so good, something about them make me think of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, I definitely need to read them. Have you read her new one, I think Cabin 10.

  14. Melody Says:

    Marce - I enjoyed this one, but Cabin 10 is better! I liked it that the latter has bits of Agatha Christie's element.

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