In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. Until out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

But something goes wrong. Very wrong. Some things can’t stay secret for ever.


Well, something did go wrong, but it went wrong 10 years ago.


So Clare kind of picked Nora to be her friend because she was shy and would never try to ”upstage” Clare until she unintentionally did.

James was this theater guy and Clare swore that one day she will have him. When they were supposed to do a play together Clare got ill and the part fell on to the understudy Nora. After that Nora and James began dating and were madly in love with each other (the whole thing lasted for six months).

Why did they break up?

It took us the whole damn book to find out, before that we knew that it was via text, but never knew the reason ”of what he did”. Nora got pregnant in high school and James broke up with her the day she told him. James wrote her a text telling her to deal with it herself and never to talk to him again. After that Nora had an abortion and never told a soul other Clare who helped her get thru with it. Because Clare wanted James for herself she texted Nora from James’s phone breaking up with her.

All of this just because of some guy? Seriously?

After 10 years Clare told James (they were getting married) what she did and he wanted to make things right before the wedding. Clare was supposed to tell Nora the truth but she only told her who she was marrying (Nora didn’t know).

During the hen weekend, Nora’s phone went missing, and there was a set of footprints leading from the garage to the house. Late at night, a man appears in the house. Flo intends to scare him off with the shotgun which was supposed to be loaded with blanks. They shot the man who turns out to be James. Clare used Nora’s phone to lure James to the house under false pretenses. The reason why James had to die was so Clare could retain her perfect image and Nora would be the one to blame.

Final thoughts:

The novel is supposed to be a psychological murder mystery. I would have called it that, the ”psychological” part in my mind implies to a fucked up story that leaves you speechless like Gone Girl. But after watching so many TV shows and movies the writer would have to do a much better than that to impress me with her story.

I really thought the killer is going to be some unknown person just because some of the house walls were made of glass and because of this quote from the book. “There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood.” Which makes you think that maybe there is someone looking at them from the forest. But that was just for a more dramatic effect, I guess.

There was an obviously unstable person in the book, which was Flo who had an obsessive behavior toward Clare, she also claimed Clare saved her life. Nora was also a complicated person the whole breakup would have been avoided if she didn’t run away and confronted James. (Even Clare said that they were both to blame because they let it happen and didn’t take any action against it. I know I would.)

The night before the murder was the only interesting part of the book to me. Even though I spoiled the book for myself I didn’t know that James will come into the house and will be the one gets murdered.

I give this book: 3/5 stars


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