In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Published by Harvill Secker
Nora and Clare haven’t seen each other for ten years, so when Nora gets an invitation to Clare’s bachelorette weekend, she is surprised and confused. Upon talking to a mutual friend, she decides to go on the weekend trip despite her trepidation. Immediately upon her arrival at the cabin in the woods where the party is to take place, Nora knows something is off, but can’t quite put her finger on what.
Everyone raves about Ruth Ware’s books so I finally decided to read one. There were elements of this book I really loved, but other things about it that really disappointed me. Let’s start with what I loved. The creepy vibe is off the charts in the novel and I absolutely loved the ominous feeling that the book gave me. It’s incredibly clear from the very beginning that shit is going to get crazy within these pages. Nora knows this, she can feel it from the moment she drives up to the cabin, but decides to stick around anyway. There are so many moments throughout the book where Ware gets the tension SO high – to the point where I was biting my fingernails in terror/anticipation of what could possibly happen next. This feeling is exactly why I read these kinds of novels, and I absolutely loved it.
I also really liked how the history of these friendships played a huge role into the mystery itself. There are secrets they are keeping from each other, and from the reader, and it was so much fun to guess at what these secrets, that had kept these friends apart for ten years, could possibly be. All of the hidden things twist into the scary parts of the novel, so I loved that it wasn’t necessarily a “bad guy” situation but a build up of long-standing issues within these friendships leading to majorly scary events.
The issue I had with the novel is that I predicted exactly what was going to happen (and I’m not very good at predicting these things). There’s a point in the book where a clue is “sprinkled in” – but I thought it was annoyingly obvious and the opposite of subtle. As soon as that clue showed up, I knew the entire plot of the book, and I turned out to be completely right. I thought it was so obvious that I ended up super frustrated and annoyed with Nora that she couldn’t see it herself. That ONE thing severely limited how much I was able to enjoy the book.
Even though I enjoyed the experience of reading In a Dark, Dark Wood, I was disappointed overall by how predictable I found the plot to be. I am open to reading more books by this author because I absolutely loved her style, but I really hope they are more mysterious than this one was.