Sunday, February 11, 2018

In a Dark, Dark Wood Review

In a Dark, Dark Wood
By: Ruth Ware

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. 

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room.... 

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

I bought this book for my sister for Christmas because of the creepy yet cool cover. It drew me in. As well as the endorsement from Reese Witherspoon at the bottom of the cover illustrating how scary the book is. (Side note, did you know she had a book club and reviewed books? I didn't. And based on her comments about this book, I'm not entirely sure I trust her opinion!). My sister is in the middle of another series and hasn't yet read this book, so I borrowed it. And I'm glad I did! It's always a bit of a gamble buying a book you haven't read and giving it as a gift. It's the first time I've ever done it, I always play the safe route and give something I know and love. I think it paid off this time though. 

I began the book with the preconceived notion that it would be suspenseful and and terrifying. I was a little let down when I learned it wasn't that scary at all, but at the end of the book I realized I wasn't all that disappointed given the way the story went. There were definitely times I was creeped the fuck out, there were times when I was questioning everything and everyone, writing them all off as suspicious and guilty. The author set up the perfect environment for the story in a large, glass walled house set in the middle of a remote forest. There were no close neighbours, no cell service, no internet and at one point their only phone line out of the house to the real world was down as well. Honestly, the idea of that place alone gives me the willies. Throw in the notion of people being able to hide in the woods and clearly see everyone inside the house, as though they're in a fish bowl and potential intruders/vandals and I was telepathically screaming at all those characters to get the hell out of there!

The eclectic group of 6 people were all at the house to celebrate the future bride, Claire, in what the Brits apparently call a 'hen weekend'. How I love British dialect! The protagonist of the story is Nora, who has no idea why she's been invited as she and Claire haven't spoken in several years, or why she feels obligated to go. She spends most of the time at the house with their mutual friend Nina (who I love!) feeling out of place and trying to concoct a reason that would allow them to leave early. On the second night of the weekend things in the house take a turn for the worse for poor Nora and she finds herself wishing she had never gone on the hen weekend.

The antagonist of the book was definitely not who I thought it was going to be, actually I was completely blindsided by the incident that took place in the house and struggled along with Nora to try to figure out what happened. The story flips back and forth from past - the prior 2 days in the house, to present - Nora in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. 

I was so engaged with the book about halfway through that I don't think I stopped reading, until I was finished it, to do anything except relocate from the upstairs couch to the basement couch. The first half of the book was a little slow, but once it picked up it felt as though it never stopped and every part of it was intriguing. My only real complaint was that I felt the end of the book was a little open ended. Unless this was part one of a series, Nora's story should have been more complete. I don't understand how anyone could live through what she did and then just go home and carry on as though nothing ever happened. It should have changed her somehow.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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