Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back.
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage – the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her.
But something goes wrong.
And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.
I featured In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware in this Friday Post on book Beginnings and said that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it having been disappointed by the only other book by her that I’ve read, The Woman in Cabin 10. But as some people commented that they had enjoyed it and as it has good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads I decided to read on. It promises to be a psychological thriller – a scary book – but maybe I’ve read too many psychological thrillers as I didn’t find it thrilling or scary. It’s mystery novel that slowly reveals why Leonora, known either as Lee or Nora or Leo, and Clare haven’t seen or even spoken to each other since they were 16, ten years ago. That was also when Nora’s heart was broken when her relationship with James came to an abrupt end. She had never come to terms with their break up.
I thought the setting was good – the hen party is held in a glass house in the middle of a wood in Northumberland. The mobile phone signal is practically nonexistent and they are cut off from the outside world and isolated when the snow sets, in cutting off the landline. But the characters are stereotypes – a new mother pining for her baby back home, a gay male actor, a gay female doctor (who is in my opinion the most sensible of the group), the dippy devoted friend of the bride who has organised this terrible hen party, the bride, self-obsessed, selfish and manipulative as well as Nora, who can’t move on from her past. The outcome is predictable when footprints appear in the snow, the backdoor that was supposed to be locked is found open and the hen party keep arguing and antagonising each other. It’s obvious from the start that something terrible had happened when Nora wakes up in a hospital bed and realises that she can’t remember what had happened … or what she had done.
In a Dark, Dark Wood is Ruth Ware’s debut novel and the film rights have been optioned by New Line Cinema. I can imagine that a film would be much more terrifying than the book – it should be, the potential is there. I don’t like being critical of a book, but I can’t recommend this book.