In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Published December 2015
My copy: Overdrive digital library
Nora hasn’t seen Clare 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 Clare’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.
I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging recently, and I think this is partly because I have been so distracted with other things and this has affected my reading, as well as my blogging. I’ve been struggling to really get into a book, so I decided that what I needed was a good thriller that I could get sucked into.
And this one did do the job. I really liked the way in which the author pulled you straight into the story, with our narrator Leonora being invited, completely out of the blue, to the hen do of an old school friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to for ten years. She’s unsure at first whether or not to go, but eventually caves in. The hen do is held in an oddly modern house in the middle of a forest in the middle of nowhere. Straight away the setting is quite creepy, and the narrator often talks about the floor to ceiling windows giving the house the feeling that the characters inside are somehow on a stage, but you can’t see who’s looking in. There are only five other people on the weekend away, and the author does a great job of giving each of these people their own distinct personalities, which means it’s very easy to distinguish between who’s who, but also ramps up the tension inside the house very nicely.
The chapters set inside the house are longer, but every now and then there is a much shorter chapter set after the weekend hen do, with our narrator in hospital, injured, confused and disorientated. So, we know something has happened but are not quite sure what and, as is often the case in thrillers, the narrator has lost her memory so is piecing together what happened that weekend, just as we the reader are.
This is a quick easy read, and I really liked the different characters and the way you have to try and piece together what happened between Leonora and the bride-to-be Clare all those years ago back at school to lead them to stop talking to one another, and also what happened in the present day in the big house in the woods, that has led Leonora to the hospital bed. I also liked the way that in the past Leonora is known as Lee, but in the future as Nora, as she has tried to shake off her old self.
As with all thrillers, you do have to suspend disbelief for parts of the novel, and I was hoping for a few more twists and turns, but overall this is a good example of the genre and a very easy, will written read.