Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

“In a dark, dark wood
There was a dark, dark house
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
And in the dark, dark room…”

Published in 2015, In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware follows a group of friends who reunite for a hen-do weekend in a cabin in the woods. Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years – not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back – but she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Is this invitation to Clare’s hen-do a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her? As the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.


A fast-paced and entertaining read, In A Dark, Dark Wood is the perfect quick read if you’re looking for an easy thriller that will keep you guessing.

I was really excited to read this book as it has a lot of my favourite thriller tropes: a group of friends who aren’t really friends at all, a remote setting that puts the characters under more pressure, and a past secret that is bursting to be revealed.

With the reference to Funnybones, I was expecting a spookier setting and a skeleton involved somewhere along the way, so this was a bit of a let down as the fact that the book was set in the woods was really the only connection. But putting that aside, I really enjoyed this story overall.

The writing is pretty straight forward so it wasn’t particularly tense or atmospheric, and there’s a lot that I felt went underused (Nora’s crime writing, the isolated setting). These things would normally annoy me, but maybe I just needed an easier thriller as I ended up having a lot of fun with these characters.

Some parts were easy to predict but I couldn’t put together the bigger picture, so there were still plenty of good twists to unravel. I also really liked how the present became the past as we realised Nora was trying to recollect her memories, and there’s a lot of suspense in the final chapters.

I completely understand why many readers have commented that this is a very mediocre read as more could definitely have been done with it to make it more shocking and nerve-wrenching, but I was gripped enough to not want to put it down and was entertained throughout.


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