In a Dark, Dark Wood is the first of Ruth Ware’s numerous books that I have had the pleasure of reading. This book opens to a few situations that are seriously completely relatable. I found myself cringing and sympathetic to Lenora or Nora or even sometimes also called Lee. (Don’t worry, it actually makes complete sense in how Ruth Ware writes it. Given Name- Lenora, Preferred Nickname- Nora, Nickname She Is Unhappily Stuck With- Lee.) Anyway, she gets roped into an old friend's bachelorette weekend getaway. Filled with a bunch of people she doesn’t know? Check. Uncomfortable situations? Check. Peer pressure she thought would have ended after high school? Double-check. Throughout you get small peeks of a history with the bride-to-be, Claire, but never the full story. Ruth Ware does a great job of setting the scene without being too over the top. You can picture the unease and how vulnerable Nora feels in addition to the already somewhat awkward get together. Literally, all these people are trapped in this house in a dark, dark wood in the middle of nowhere!
Throughout the whole novel, you know something is totally wrong, but you just don’t know exactly what. This is a book that I had to read about three times to catch all the small yet masterful details. After each time, I found something new, inevitably smacking my forehead and saying, “I should have caught that!”
I will not spoil anything major about this book, I will however warn you that you will not see either large picture windows or the impenetrable darkness of night the same ever again. Completely eerie, it has you on your toes trying to figure out what to expect next and who is going to make it back to the city alive....
“We’re the actors." He turned to face the glass wall. ‘"he audience is out there." For some reason his words made me shiver. Perhaps it was the tree trunks, like silent watchers in the growing dark.”
“Perhaps it was different in summer (the house), when the light came flooding in until late into the evening. Perhaps then it was a space for looking out of, across the forest. But now, in the dark, it felt like the opposite. It felt like a glass display case, full of curiosities to be peered at. Or a cage in a zoo. A tiger’s encloses, with nowhere to hide. I thought of those caged animals pacing slowly backwards and forwards, day after day, week after week, going slowly crazy.”