In a Dark Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

Published by Harvill Secker

ebook and Hardcover – 30 July 2015

Paperback – 7 January 2016

Someone’s getting married. Someone’s getting murdered.

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.

I’ve never been on a hen weekend and after reading this story that could be something to be thankful for.

Out of the blue Nora receives from an email from someone called Flo, inviting her to a hen weekend that she is organising for an old school friend Clare.  Nora hasn’t been invited to the wedding and so is bit bemused as to why the hen invite. There has been no contact between the two for ten years and she is really not keen on going – hold that thought Nora!  However, she is reluctantly talked into it by another mutual friend Nina, and the two of them make their way to a remote part of the Northumberland countryside.

If you are creeped out by the book blurb then the house where they are staying could send you over the edge. It’s not old and haunted – but new, and mostly made of glass with no curtains or blinds, everyone can see out but then anyone outside can see in too. It’s set by a forest – that alone would give me the creeps.

It is clear that there is history between Clare and Nora, but we don’t exactly what or why they lost contact. There are 6 people in the house for this hen weekend, they don’t all know each other and that claustrophobic feeling of being cooped up with strangers and trying to pretend that everyone is having such a jolly time really comes across so well. When tensions start to fray and it all starts to kick off – I would have been out of there.

There is a wonderful atmospheric and sinister feel to the story – the wintry darkness and oppressive feeling from the wood, the chilly and snowy landscape. From the beginning the reader knows that something dreadful is going to happen, it’s just a question of when, what and to whom.

I have to admit there were times when I was less convinced by the storyline, particularly when long held secrets are revealed, but on the whole it was an addictive and engrossing read and I read it in less than 2 days.

This was a really good, dark debut thriller.  As the weekend continues Nora’s unease grows, as does the reader’s and I was beginning to distrust everybody in turn.  It’s not a horror story but nevertheless after reading the book, I made sure all the doors were thoroughly locked before going to bed.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy to review. 

About the author:

Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in East Sussex. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in north London. Married, with two small children, she has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. In a Dark, Dark Wood is her debut thriller. 


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