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.