Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In a dark, dark wood

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. 

Let me start by saying that I had very mixed feelings about this book. It started out okay, I was intrigued, and then it went downhill from there. It is marketed as scary, and the little reviews on the cover were telling me that this book was scary and would terrify me as a reader. It did not. Mystery, sure, I guess. Not particularly thrilling. And definitely not scary.

This review may include a few spoilers, so if that might bother you, please don’t scroll down any further.


So the premise of this book is that Nora, out of nowhere, gets invited to a hen party weekend, in the middle of nowhere, for someone she hasn’t seen or spoken to in a decade. Now, logic would probably tell you, were you to receive a similar invite, that you were either a last resort invitation (as in the first choice guests had all declined/dropped out/died), or that something is up. Of course, if Nora had declined said invitation there would be no book, so yeah.

So, naturally, Nora goes to the hen weekend, and of course, it is a disaster from start to finish. The plot is fairly predictable, you already kind of know what is about to happen.

Nora – the last resort friend, Clare – the long abandoned best friend, and Flo – the over the top new bestie and maid of honour, are all kind of annoying. And the entire ridiculous debacle of what ensues is because of something that happened TEN YEARS AGO when everyone involved was 16 years old. We all do dumb things at 16, I would hate to think that most people still go around holding grudges over it.

See, Clare is now engaged to James. James was Nora’s boyfriend at the age of 16, they broke up at the 16, and now ten years later, nobody has moved on. Clare did a petty thing at the age of 16. Nora is still so obsessed with her ex-boyfriend (of a mere few months) that she has allowed it to shape and dictate her adult life, has allowed it to eliminate the possibility of another relationship of any kind. James finds out about stupid, petty thing that Clare did ten years ago, and is so mad about it that he absolutely needs to ensure that it is put right. To be honest, all three of these characters sound like they are still 16 years old. And if they were, maybe it would have been slightly less annoying to read about.

The details and descriptions of the setting were fabulous, and there was an eeriness about it that I did enjoy. I absolutely would not want to be stuck in this house with this group of people, that is for sure.

The book cover is absolutely stunning, and it wasn’t an unbearable read, just a bit tedious at times and a fair amount of eye-rolling.

Have you read In A Dark, Dark Wood? Let me know your thoughts!

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