Narrator: Imogen Church
on August 4, 2015
Length: 9 hours and 41 minutes
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.
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.
In the tradition of Paula Hawkins's instant New York Times bestseller The Girl On the Train and S. J. Watson’s riveting national sensation Before I Go To Sleep, this gripping literary debut from UK novelist Ruth Ware will leave you on the edge of your seat through the very last page.
My top thoughts:
Ruth Ware has yet to let me down and In a Dark, Dark Wood is now in contention with The Woman in Cabin 10 and One By One for top spot. I think it falls just slightly behind them, simply because there’s a hint of sadness that I didn’t feel in the others.
What I liked/didn’t like:
This makes my 6th book by Ruth Ware and I’m starting (yes I’m slow on the uptake sometimes) to realize that she has three core elements to her books and she uses them masterfully here:
- Unreliable narrators – I can’t say with 100% certainty, but I think every book (that I’ve read) has an unreliable narrator, something I LOVE in a book. When you can’t know that what you’re getting is accurate it makes everything all the more suspenseful for me. In a Dark, Dark Wood has Nora who has suffered an accident of some sort and is struggling to remember the past few days.
- A unique setting – of this I am CERTAIN. In each book I’ve read by Ruth Ware, the setting is basically a character all it’s own, beautifully described. Remote settings, isolation, weather – Ruth is expert at using these factors to heighten the suspense and mystery. This time, our characters are in a remote cabin (in a dark, dark wood lol) and the weather conditions amplify that.
- A big cast of characters, each with their own mysteries and suspicions. Maybe you need this in mystery/suspense and I’ve never thought about it as much as with these books – but there are always so many characters and MOST of them SEEM perfectly normal until shit starts happening. And then, well then I start looking at even the most simple things with suspicion. And then there’s the 1 or 2 super suspicious or slightly/extremely off-their-rocker characters that you immediately don’t trust, but then wonder if that’s why they’re so obviously crazy, to throw you off? This book had the complete combo.
I buddy read this with Stephanie, but she finished about a day before I did and as a result when it was getting closer and closer to the reveal I was constantly messaging her with my guesses. It was like I had this panic to try and figure it out BEFORE the reveal. I was just as anxious as Nora!
I enjoyed this immensely and I know Stephanie did too – she said it is her favorite Ruth Ware to date and it pulled her out of a reading slump. We both listened to it (thank you Scribd!) and Imogen Church’s narration was, as always, fantastic. Since discovering that she narrates Ruth Ware’s books I never even consider reading. To me, it’s no question that I’ll be listening.
I think I only have 1 more Ruth Ware book and 2 shorts to read 🙁 but I look forward to them too.