Review of ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ by Ruth Ware

My expectations of this book were too high. I hadn’t read any of Ruth Ware’s other books but I know a lot of readers enjoy them. In a Dark, Dark Wood was praised as ‘gripping’, ‘chilling’ and a ‘page-turner’ but that wasn’t the case for me.

The story revolves around a group of mismatched friends who are invited to a hen party in a remote house in a wood. The protagonist, Nora, hasn’t seen the bride, Clare, for ten years. Yet she still goes to what the reader already knows will be no ordinary gathering. This story is interspersed with scenes of Nora in hospital, where she knows that someone is dead but is struggling to remember what happened. Although the concept sounds promising, I found everything else to be disappointing. I put the book down when I was halfway through and didn’t pick it up for a day. The writing style didn’t persuade me to keep turning those pages. I would categorise the book as a crime novel but not a thriller.

I didn’t like any of the characters. The ‘dark, dark wood’ should have been a creepy setting but it wasn’t really exploited as such. There weren’t any decent twists. The best I can say for the book is that the dialogue is realistic and a lot of the details seem well-researched and authentic.

Should I give Ruth Ware a second chance? Which of her books would you recommend?

First published in 2015.


11 thoughts on “Review of ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ by Ruth Ware”

  1. Sorry to hear you didn’t get on with this one. I’ve been tempted by Ruth Ware as well, having seen so many raving reviews. However, Ive also seen a lot of negative reviews, so who knows. If I take the plunge, I’d go for The Woman in Cabin 10.

    1. Thanks for your comment 🙂 I would still try one more of her books as I like to give authors a second chance.

    1. Glad you agree it wasn’t a great read, I thought maybe I was missing something!

  2. No thank you. I’m sticking to Lisa Jewell for thrillers 😀 Waiting for some of her books from Libby. She’s so darn popular. The wait is long 🙁

  3. At the start of hearing what this book is about, I thought “And Then There Were None” by Agathe Christie… But the hospital bit… okay… not the same. Still… I don’t think your review will convince me to read Ware’s books, I’m afraid.

    1. I haven’t read any Agatha Christie! Although, I don’t think there are any original stories out there, just different ways of presenting them 🙂

  4. Great review! Sorry to hear that you struggled with the book. I didn’t fully enjoy The Turn of the Key but I’ve heard that many people really liked The Death of Mrs. Westaway so perhaps try that one? I still haven’t decided if I’ll be reading it as there is something about the author’s style of writing that just doesn’t click with me.

    1. I think if Mrs Westaway turns up then I will give it a go, but I won’t be looking specially for more Ruth Ware books 🙂
      Thanks for reading.

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