Title: In a Dark, Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware
2017 Book Challenge Entry: A book that takes place in the wilderness
Thoughts: One of the first books I read this year was The Woman in Cabin 10. It came highly recommended by a good friend of mine who is a voracious reader and while I went into it with some hesitation, I ended up loving it. In a Dark, Dark Wood is the debut novel of that same author. Here is what I love about debut novels. With a first novel, you can instantly see the voice of the author in its most raw form. Sometimes, it is their best work because they are honest and writing what they know. Here is what I hate about debut novels. The authors are often just finding that voice and haven’t always figured out how to hone it. I’m not a writer of novels. I write recipes and blog posts and spew my opinion about what I read, so please for the love of whatever, take this with a grain of salt. I think Ruth Ware’s first book is fantastic…for a first book. It lacks something that Cabin 10 has. I can’t quite put my finger on it except to say that maybe it’s just experience and confidence in her writing style. That being said, I enjoyed a lot about this book.
In In a Dark, Dark Wood, our protagonist, Nora is contacted by the maid of honor of her best friend from college. The two haven’t spoken in years, but she is invited to the bachelorette and decides to attend. It isn’t a bar hopping week in Vegas, but a few days in a house in the middle of nowhere. Great detail, the house is made of glass. So we get to play fun games with light and sound. Anyway, what follows is the least relaxing weekend ever.
Crazy business starts to happen and it is the ultimate scary moment book. There are footprints where they shouldn’t be and bloody handprints on the wall… I mean, lights are cut off and it’s in the middle of nowhere so clearly nobody has cell reception. There is a breakin! Someone is stabbed! A gun goes off! And because it is a hen (oh yeah, she’s British, so it’s the UK version of a bach), there is drinking which equals not reliable narration. Basically, there is a psycho on the loose and if the girls don’t figure out who it is, they are all Ensign Toast. It’s fun!
Not going to lie, the main character isn’t my favorite person, but I like a flawed character, so this didn’t turn me off completely. I did see the ending coming from quite a ways away, but that didn’t really bother me either. Overall, although not the most polished of her work, I enjoyed it. I think with a book like this, a gritty suspense novel wrapped in a chick lit package, you have to know what you are going into. It’s not obnoxious literary fiction; it’s a fun ride that she will absolutely perfect as she grows as a writer just like all artists.
Oh, on a personal note, my best friend is getting married next summer and we are having her bach in January. She has planned- that’s right- a few days away in a cabin, in a remote town, in another state.
Fingers crossed our weekend is better than Nora’s.