It hurts. Everything hurts. The light in my eyes, the pain in my head. There’s a stench of blood in my nostrils, and my hands are sticky with it. Ruth Ware – In a dark, dark wood
In a dark, dark wood tells the story of a crime novelist that is invited to, what us American’s call a Bachelorette party, a Hen night of an old college friend that she stopped speaking with ten years prior. She lived alone, wrote, ran and repeated. She made a deal with another one of the invitee’s also another friend from college that they’d go together. The night of course goes off the rails and ends up with the main character having difficulty remembering the course of events.
The story isn’t scary, I can say that. It did have suspense, that I will say for sure. The thing that I loved the best about the story was that you felt deeply for Nora, the protagonist, by the end of the book. It was interesting because the first half is told as a memory and the second half is told as actively happening. Once the timelines meet, it was hard to put down. I needed to know what happened, I needed to know who was behind it all.
The characters weren’t all perfect, Nora was relatable and my favorite. Clare, the hen of the party, was fake but that was the point I think. She put on a good show and it was easy to like her but also not as Nora reveals memories of their friendship. Flo, was annoying and it was easy to believe her role or supposed role as you read but you just didn’t like her at all. Nina, the cynical doc was hilarious and I loved her interactions with everyone.
The other two party members were forgettable, enough that I don’t know their names for sure. They didn’t serve much purpose really, at least not in terms of the plot. Tom and Melanie. They weren’t necessary for anything other then numbers of people to attend the party. James had more of a behind the scenes part to play. A twist at the end really made this book wonderful. It was unexpected but at the same time the signs were there. Little clues that were left as you read that if you were fully paying attention you could see them coming. You feel for Nora and all that has happened to her. While I didn’t really like the ending, it felt too abrupt but also I think it was simply because you wanted more.
Final thoughts – It’s a great read! It’s funny, sad, frustrating, suspenseful and thought provoking. It isn’t perfect, but that’s okay because it served it’s purpose and it’s a book that I believe I’d pick up again.