‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ by Ruth Ware was published in hardback by Vintage, on 30th July 2015 and will be released in paperback on December 31st 2015. It is also available in ebook from Amazon UK and Amazon US and directly from the publishers.
Nora hasn’t been in touch with Clare for years, but when an invitation comes to attend Clare’s hen weekend, Nora is persuaded to attend by her other friend, Nina. As soon as they arrive at the atmospheric Glass House, it is clear this is going to be a weekend to remember in more ways than one.
I loved this book. There is a breathlessness to the prose that I really enjoyed. ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ crackles with atmosphere and it’s so easy to imagine the settings in this tautly and deftly plotted read. The structure has a completeness that is utterly satisfying. Chapter 5 hit me with a jolt and the plot continued to impress throughout. The tension and atmosphere build bit by bit so that the reader is compelled to read on, experiencing psychological elements that are terrifyingly plausible.
Ruth Ware’s writing is so skilful. She builds suspense layer upon layer through the questions Nora asks herself, through her attempts to recall events and through the drip feed of information to the reader. Coupled with the intimacy of Nora’s first person narrative this leads to storytelling that ensnares the reader from the first word to the last.
Characterisation is clever so that the mystery (and I can’t say more without spoilers) is credible and authentic. I really liked the acerbic Nina and although initially I wasn’t entirely convinced that Nora would have attended the hen weekend after such a long time of not being in touch with Clare, once Clare’s personality was revealed I realised I have met equally compelling and charismatic people to whom it is difficult to say no.
I found the presentation of the way our lives can turn on a throw away remark, on a text, on a lie fascinating and I also really enjoyed the iterative imagery of writing and theatre. Even the trees play their role to perfection.
I devoured Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood in less than 24 hours as I couldn’t stop reading, so strong was the pull of the story. Brilliant.