Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood

This new year started off great for this gal in the reading bookworm department.  I finished my first book read of the new year in January.  Which was the novel “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han.  Curious about this gal’s thoughts on that lovely novel & its film adaptation?  Check out […]


This new year started off great for this gal in the reading bookworm department.  I finished my first book read of the new year in January.  Which was the novel “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han.  Then this slow as can be bookworm that I am, actually somehow managed to finish my second book read of this very new year in February.  Which was “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli.  Then came March, and I started to read my third book read of the year “In a Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware.  Between working on articles for my blog, I just didn’t end up finishing this book until…… (hold for dramatic effect)….. JUNE!  All bookworms out there reading this, I know, I know, “Major Bookworm Nerd Fail” here.  I realize this.  But at the end of the day, I did finally finish reading this book.  It just took way longer to accomplish reading completely than I would have initially of expected when I started reading it way back in the month of March.

My slowly reading of In a Dark, Dark Wood, in no way had anything to do with the quality of the story of the book itself.  It was a fantastic novel filled with suspense, and a whole lot of mystery.  It was a book where I literally had no idea where the heck the story was going.  I, this fellow bookworm that I try to be, only reads very little when I am reading something.  I’ve talked about this before on here, but for the first timers now tuning in, I only read about ten pages at a time when I read a book.  Therefore, it does take a bit more time for this gal to finish reading a book than it takes for most fellow bookworm readers.  And I’m okay with that.

I read like I watch a TV Series.  I am that of a “Major TV Nerd”, so of course I just had to incorporate the subject of “TV” within this article of mine where I am talking about books.  I only watch one episode of any TV Show Series at a time, I’m not a binge watcher.  And with reading, I guess you can kind of then say I’m not a binge reader.  So if you will, 10 pages at a time of reading a book is kind of like the same as watching one episode of a show a day.  I don’t like to rush the story, if that makes any sense.

So anywho, for those of you still reading this, you’re possibly wondering by this point what the heck this book was about, and my thoughts on it.  Well, have no fear fellow bookworms because you’re in luck!  I’ve now reached the point of my article where I will be discussing both of those very topics.

Book : In a Dark, Dark Wood

Author : Ruth Ware

Genre : Thriller / Mystery

Pages : 310

Overview :

Leonora Shaw is a published author.  She lives a life of solitude, and she likes it that way. She finds living life solo more pleasant than to live one with others by her side.  She goes for her morning jogs.  She writes.  She knows what to expect.  She doesn’t ever have to come home and wonder what she’s walking into.

Than out of the blue on one normal ordinary day, Leonora, who these days prefers to goes by Nora, receives an e-mail in her inbox.  Receiving an e-mail isn’t something unusual for Nora.  Although this particular e-mail that she has received makes her head tilt and her mind say “Ummmm”.  It’s an invitation for a bachelorette party from a friend of a past friend of hers, Clare.  Clare and Nora were the closest of friends at one time, and then they weren’t.  What makes receiving this invitation come as quite a surprise mixed with confusion for Nora is the fact that she hasn’t been in touch with Clare in several years.  Ten years have passed on by since that time of Nora’s life.  Throughout those ten years, she and Clare have not remained in touch at all in any way.  They have not seen each other, and have not once spoken with one another at any time during this ten year period.

Nora is baffled by this invitation, and can’t help but wonder round and round in her head “why?”.  Nora finds it bizarre that after all this time of not speaking, Clare would invite her to such an event.  Invite her to something which is normally the type of gathering that is set aside and reserved for one’s closest friends.  Not a person who they are no longer in touch with, not a person who they haven’t seen or spoken with in a full decade.

At one point Clare was Nora’s very best friend.  But that is no longer the case.  They haven’t talked since high school. When that time of her life ended, Nora never looked back.  She left behind her life as she knew it, friends and all, and move on from it.

As much as Nora tries to put this invitation out of her mind, it keeps creeping back in to her thoughts.  She can’t seem to brush it away.  On the invite she noticed how she didn’t recognize any of the other names.  Except for one.  Nina, another old friend of hers from high school.  She sees Nina every so often here and there.  Nora starts to think how if she did agree to go that at least Nina would be there.  And so she reaches out to Nina, and they make a pact with one another that they’ll both go if the other one goes.  And so it’s decided.

It starts to slowly sink in for Nora that she has actually agreed to go to this party of Clare’s.  She’s going to be once again face to face with Clare.  A person who at one time was her very best friend.  Someone she saw and spoke with every day growing up.  But that was years ago, and this is now.  The now where they haven’t seen each other in ten years.  Nora is still hesitate towards going, but she thinks at the same time that maybe this is just someone from her past wanting to reconnect again.  And she finds herself telling herself that there’s really nothing to find this invitation unusual.  So Nora goes to once again see Clare, telling herself that everything is going to be fine.  And maybe, just maybe, all of this wondering and worrying was for nothing.  And it’s just an old friend wanting wanting to say “hi” again.

When Nora does finally reach the house of the party with Nina, she finds herself starting to worry again.  No matter how much she tried to tell herself that there was nothing to worry about, when she actually reaches the party she’s not so sure.  She can’t help but go back to wondering that question of “Why?”.

The house that the party is taking place in is one that is unusual.  It’s a house that is all by itself, in a forest of just trees for miles and miles.  A house on display with only just glass holding it up.  As Nora makes her way up to the walkway of this anything but ordinary house, she can’t help but think of how she’s just made a terrible mistake.


In a Dark, Dark Wood was just a brilliant and fantastic thriller of a book read.  Ware just had a way with words in this book where she was able to keep readers on the edge of their seats within every turned page.  It had suspense, intrigue, and just the right amount of mystery in the atmosphere of the story, where the reader would want to see exactly how this mystery would unfold.

The whole time while reading this novel, I would find myself thinking up possible theories as to what exactly the twist of the story would be.  I knew there was going to be some kind of twist, but had no idea as to what exactly that twist going to be.  Of course, none of my theories on what that possible twist was ending up matching up to what the actual twist of this thriller was.  And to that I say “Well Done!” to Ware.  Sometimes as a reader you think you know where the story is going, and for it to then go in a direction where you could never have come up with what ended up happening (especially for a thriller / mystery) is a moment where you just have to applaud the author on a job well done.

When I went into reading this book I was in the mood for a good thriller mystery.  As I started to read more and more of the story, I discovered that it was also a bit of a psychological read as well.  Ware delved into the workings of the inner mind for what it means to not get closure.  How left in the back of one’s mind might always be that wonder and question of “what might have been if something went a different way, if I handled a moment in life differently”.  How someone might think they’ve moved on from their past, along with everyone and everything from that time of their life.  But when they again come face to face with it they might realize in that moment how they might not of actually moved on from it as much as they thought they had.  How if someone like Nora had had that closure, she might never have agreed to go to Clare’s party.

The Characters:

Ware did an excellent job of describing all the characters in this book.  All the characters had clear and distinctive personalities. Ware wrote an interesting character in that of Nora.  All Nora wanted to do was move on from her past, and never look back.  Then when receiving an invitation from an old friend, everything she thought she had moved on from was once again flooding her every thought.

Because of what Nora had went through earlier on in her life with James, she in many ways chose to live her adult life the way she did because she never wanted to ever be in a situation again where she could get hurt.  She left her past behind her, and everyone in it and never looked by.  She was alone, but being alone meant never getting hurt by someone you thought truly cared about you.  She thought she preferred that solo way of living life, and it was only at the end when she met Matt how she realized that maybe she never really preferred that way of life, that it was just easier.  It wasn’t until after everything that had occurred, that Nora was finally able to really open her eyes and realize that maybe the thought of opening herself up again to others was something she had the will in herself to do again, despite that potential of possibly getting hurt.

The Reveal of the Twist:

Now I won’t say exactly what the twist was in this story, but that there was one.  Without saying what this mysterious twist was that tied up all the questions of this story, I’ll do my best to work around all that and just talk about the build up to that said “twist”.

Throughout the novel, you could sense reading the book that at one point or another a twist of some kind would reveal itself.  That reveal didn’t take place till the very end of the story, as most twists do in that of thriller novels.

The whole novel was based upon answering that question of “what the heck happened?”.  You questioned the whole time if Nora was really involved or not.  It didn’t seem like she had anything to do with what happened, but in the back of your mind you just didn’t know.

With the major plot point of the story not happening until the very end, that suspense and build up to who exactly was responsible for the tragedy of that night, was handled very well by Ware.  Bit by bit information was told in small amounts.  Just the right amount of information was given out to keep readers interested and curious to keep on wanting to read and read and read until that very last page.

Final Bookworm Nerd Thoughts:

I would most definitely recommend In a Dark, Dark Wood, to other fellow bookworms out there.  Especially if your genre of choice is thriller, mystery, as well as a psychological kind of read when reading.  I look forward to reading more of Ware’s work.  I already have a few of her other books which I purchased some time ago now, but have yet to have read.  Any other bookworms out there that also buy more books before reading what you already own?  Uh, yeah that be me!

I told myself this year that I would try to read more books that have yet to have any kind of adaptation at the point I’m reading the book.  Book adaptations are what really got me into reading again, whether it be a book adaptation for a TV Series, Film, or a Stage Show.  I realized though that I was leaving many books that I had been wanting to read to the side, and choosing what books to read based on if there was an adaptation of it.  I finally decided this year when deciding what books to read that I would read a book when I was in the mood to read it, and not only if there was an adaptation of it to watch later on.

So I finally decided to pick up In a Dark, Dark Wood to read.  And yes, there has been talk about a Film Adaptation of this book in the works for awhile now, but that’s as far as it has gone.  It looked as though the film of this novel wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.  And then sure enough as I was reading this novel, it came out how now the film finally had a writer attached to it.  Reese Witherspoon is producing the film.  And honestly, she would be perfect to play Clare, based on the description of that character.  She could totally pull off that part.  So technically a film adaptation happening is a little bit closer than before, but also technically it seemed as though the adaptation of this novel at the time I started reading it didn’t seem to be close to happening.  Therefore, I am still counting this as a book that I read without an adaptation, yet.

All in all, In a Dark, Dark Wood is a perfect thriller of a read for all of you bookworms who like thrillers mixed with a bit of mystery involved in your book reads!


Author: Jodi Fisher

Hi! I’m Jodi! My dream is to live in NYC, see a Broadway show every single day, and write about the arts for a living. Until that delightful day arrives, I’ll be over here blogging about my love of the arts!

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