Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

dark dark woodI’m never one to turn down a party, even hen parties set in the middle of nowhere would have me packing my gladrags and a cocktail shaker. But after reading In a Dark, Dark Wood I’m rethinking my accept-all-invitations policy.

The story begins with Norah Shaw lying in a hospital bed covered in blood asking herself what happened. What had she done?

Norah is a crime writer who lives happily alone. She has built a quiet cut-off life she loves. Out of the blue Norah receives an email from someone called Flo inviting her to the hen weekend of her former best friend Clare Cavendish. Norah hasn’t seen Clare for ten years, not since Norah walked out of school one day and never went back. There’s a history between the pair, something happened that Norah buried and tried to forget. She also initially tries to ignore the invitation but she’s intrigued. Why after all this time is Clare trying to rekindle the friendship? After watching all the emails coming in declining the event, eventually Norah and her friend Nina make a pact to go together. When they get there they meet Flo, Clare’s new best friend and best maid who is aggressively determined that the whole weekend be perfect. Also there is new mum Melanie who’s already regretting leaving her baby and chilled out Tom. It becomes apparent early on that Flo has organised the weekend like a military operation and the few who have accepted her invitation quickly regret it. I’d be looking for a cab too if the first thing I was given to drink was a cup of tea. But they are in the middle of the woods so they decide to stick it out. Big mistake!

Norah instantly hates the house they’re staying in with its floor to ceiling wall of windows looking out onto the woods. I would have moved in, it sounds completely stunning. Eventually they all start to relax over tequila and a Ouija board and drunken confessions start coming out.

I’m not revealing any more of the plot and I’m not even going to tell you which one of them dies. But someone is killed and terrible things happen and that’s why Norah has ended up in hospital covered in blood. Norah has memory flashes forward and backwards as she tries to piece together the events of the death and who actually did it. Was it her? We also discover what happened in the past and the why the connection between the friends was broken.

Everyone’s a suspect and the world should be very glad that I’m not a detective. I had them all locked up one after the other as I repeatedly changed my mind on who was guilty. The suspense and tension was magnificent as we close in on the culprit. And then I was WRONG! Honestly, I am rubbish.

The writing is superb, reading was such an evocative, immersive experience. Parts involving running barefoot through snow had me curling up my toes in deep discomfort. And the characterisations are wonderful. I have already decided that Nina would be my best friend and if I was on the weekend I’d be sitting between her and Tom having the best time. Until the death obviously. The pace was breakneck so you have no choice but to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is a triumphant whodunit. It’s the sort of book you cannot put down. The best sort. My to-do list was ignored, my family were shushed. I stayed up far too late and got up far too early to tear through the pages. I hugely recommend you clear your schedule and get yourself a copy.

The writing is superb, reading was such an evocative, immersive experience. Parts involving running barefoot through snow had me curling up my toes in deep discomfort. And the characterisations are wonderful. I have already decided that Nina would be my best friend and if I was on the weekend I’d be sitting between her and Tom having the best time. Until the death obviously. The pace was breakneck so you have no choice but to keep reading to find out what happens next.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is a triumphant whodunit. It’s the sort of book you cannot put down. The best sort. My to-do list was ignored, my family were shushed. I stayed up far too late and got up far too early to tear through the pages. I hugely recommend you clear your schedule and get a copy.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website : EveHarvey.com

3 comments on “In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

  1. Kate
    October 7, 2015

    I heard a books podcast segment about this, and had no IDEA there was all this other stuff in there too! Excellent review, thank you.

  2. athling2001
    October 7, 2015

    Sounds good!

  3. shukie39
    October 19, 2015

    Can’t wait to read this.

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

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Acknowledgment

  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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