book reviews

Book Review | In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Day 4 (okay, rather day 5 as I’m updating this) of hiding in our house, away from all the horrors that are unfolding in front of all of us. I’m normally absolutely okay with shying away from people, living like a hermit and entertaining myself. I’m always happy to be home and I’m rarely bored. What with my 120+ unread books on my shelves. Today, however, I’m feeling unusually anxious, very irritable and cannot seem to concentrate at all. So I’ve been trying to find something to occupy my mind enough to get through this odd mood I seem to be in. I’ve started all 4 books still on my March planned books and none of them are quite what I want today.

I turned to good old Google for inspiration. I stumbled across a list of 23 Best Thriller Books If You Love “You” on Netflix. I just happen to have book no. 2 (In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware) on my to-be-read shelf and thought I’d give it a go, and write my thoughts down as I go along, and by the end of the book the review should be finished too. Lets see how this goes.


Nora hasn’t seen Claire for ten years. Not since the day Nora Walked out of her old life and never looked back.

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Claire’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage – the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her.

But something goes wrong

Very wrong.

And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Format: Paperback
New/Backlist: Backlist
Pages: 338
Dates Read: 15 March 2020
Rating: ★★★★

Review (Spoiler Free)

Nora, is a creature of habit. She likes to have a routine and as a writer, who works from home, she has planned her day to the finest details. She likes being in control. When an invitation to celebrate Clara’s, her best friend in school, Hen Do’s invitation pops into her emails, she struggles to understand why. They haven’t seen nor spoken to each-other for ten years.

Reservedly she accepts the invitation and this is where the story begins.

In a Dark Dark Wood follows 26-year-old Nora who is struggling to piece together what happened to her and her friends in the secluded “Glass House” over the weekend at Clare’s Hen Party, after something went very wrong. Very -very wrong.

This is only my second Ware book, but I really like how easy her writing is to read. She definitely tried to build a tense and eerie atmosphere in the secluded setting, which she pulled off with ease. What’s more scary than no mobile reception in the middle of no-where and something going awry.

I was certainly biting my nails throughout. I was wondering at the end of each chapter if Nora is actually telling me the truth or not. (Loved this!)

My opinion and theories changed, as you will be able to see from below, as fast as the pages turned and before I knew it the book was finished. The culmination was slightly underwhelming for me. I didn’t quite understand how the police went from thinking one thing to another, which I don’t think was well explained. I’m really not sure why Ware chose that particular character to be the “bad guy”.

However, the ending didn’t ruin the book, nor take away from my overall enjoyment. I would definitely recommend if you’re after a fast paced, tense and thrilling whodunnit/thriller with a slightly unreliable main character.

4 out of 5


Or rather a list of the random thoughts as I was reading In a Dark Dark Wood. The below contains spoilers. You have been warned.
  • Something happened between Nora and Clare and is a reason why they lost contact. I wonder what that is? .. Could it be a mutual love interest?
  • Like Nora I am wondering why Clare wanted her at the Hen Party. Clare seemed to have been very popular at school, yet out of the 12 people invited only half agreed to go.. some making up ridiculous excuses.
  • Flo – the Maid of Honour – and in charge of arranging the hen do, I’m not sure how I feel about her. I’m finding it a bit fishy that she is so intense talking about Clare and reveals absolutely nothing about herself. Why is she so secretive and emotional talking about her friendship with Clare. How did Clare help her?
  • UM OKAY! So Clare is marrying James – Nora’s ex-boyfriend. Nora seems to be very upset about it because she’s still not over him, even a decade after they separated. Where is this story going?
  • Why is Flo so sketchy, I’m really not getting good vibes from her. I cannot wait to find out what happened to her in Uni and why she never graduated..
  • I wonder if Clare and Nora will have a major argument over James eventually and Flo will take matters into her hands to ensure that Clara is getting the best Hen Do ever? ..
  • The chapters jump from before “what happened” and Nora in hospital trying to remember and piece together the events from that weekend. She’s becoming more and more unreliable in what she says. Is she bloody lying?!
  • I’m currently on page 137 and someone has died and I think it’s either Clare or Flo (ugh, I cannot stand her!); I’m thinking that who ever was sneaking in the garage was perhaps James and maybe he is the killer.
  • I’m totally loving the creepiness of a secluded glass house in the middle of nowhere – I’ve seen enough horror movies to last me a life time and believe you me, I don’t envy this group of people being there all by themselves!
  • Yes, Nina, Melanie did have it right, didn’t she?! Flo is so unhealthily obsessed with Clare I don’t even know where to start. But has Ware done it deliberately to steer away from the real murderer?
  • Fine, maybe I was wrong about James.. sorry, dude *insert awkward face*
  • Nora, girl, it’s okay. We can work this out. Tell me, did you load the gun?????????????
  • James – you were a bit of a wasteman in school, huh! That text was so uncalled for…..! Edit: Okay, I’m so annoyed I didn’t catch on when I read it. I should have seen this, Lee!
  • If Nora didn’t send the text for James to come to the Glass House. Who did? Nina had all the opportunities.. I’m going to say she did it.
  • And she could’ve had a hand in Flo’s “accident”????!
  • Well I’ll be damned. Now I’m thinking Nina and James’ friend were working together because perhaps jealousy? Didn’t he mention that James always had it all and was more successful than him. And Nina maybe in love with Clare and wanted James out of the picture???? Bring on the explosive ending. Please prove me wrong.
  • Miss Perfect?! More like not. Damn, girl!
  • Nora, which button did you press!!!! I cannot handle this unknowing. Reply or delete? Delete or Reply? Can someone please tell me????!

Kat x

One Comment

  • Satou Johns

    oh it is great to see that you enjoyed this book! For me the only “scary” thing about the book was one single scene where the author says that in the huge window the trees were the spectators and they were the actors! that was such a strong line! Then you have the rest of crazy things that happened XD nice review!

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