by Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogen Church
Length: 9 hours and 34 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible | B&N
What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
I grabbed In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware on audio when we chose it as Caffeinated Book Club June book of the month . Ironically, I had recently finished The Woman in Cabin 10 Ware’s newest release. I loved it and was excited to see how this story unfolded. Narrated by Imogen Church, In a Dark, Dark Wood shared a twisted psychological thriller that held me captive.
Five reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to In a Dark, Dark Wood
- In a Dark, Dark Wood offered all the elements I crave in a dark psychological thriller. Ware delivered a story with friendship, murder, and betrayal. She chose the perfect setting, an isolated glass cabin in the Northumbria woods. Then she provided quirky characters with history and an unreliable narrator. As the story unfolds, it consumes you. When I was not listening, I found myself thinking about what was happening, reviewing all the players and much to my family’s chagrin talking about it.
- Ware is a masterful storyteller from her pacing to the subtle clues and red herrings. From the beginning, we are uncomfortable guests at the cabin and know something is off. Leonora Shaw (Nora) a crime fiction writer unexpectedly receives an email invite from a woman named Flo to attend a hen party for Clare Cavendish. Nora has not spoken to Clare in over ten years but when Nina another friend from her past encourages her, she decides to attend. We soon have six relative strangers gathered for the hen in an ominous feeling glasshouse with views of the cold winter woods. Eek gads! Ware slowly begins introducing them, sharing tidbits from the past and as she does, she begins to add chapters told from Nora’s perspective in the hospital after an event at the hen party. She desperately tries to remember the events of that weekend. It was bloody brilliant!
- The six characters Ware introduces us too only enhanced the story and deepen the suspense. I cannot say I liked any of them. Leonora is our unreliable narrator. While she is a successful writer, her life seems lonely and closed off. Nina, a surgeon is snarky, boisterous and at times shocking. Melanie a new mother is an emotional wreck and Tom the only male in attendance for this hen works in the theater. All are or have been friends with Clare. I loved the way Ware shared how they knew Clare and weaved their histories into the current story.
- Leonora was the perfect unreliable narrator. Ware’s decision to separate the story sharing both her perspective during the weekend and those as she lies in a hospital bed was brilliant. What made her voice so interesting is the different aspects of her personality. Her ability to piece things together and use her skills as a crime writer made these chapters riveting. The flip-side of her personality is her anxiety and overwhelming desire to shut down, escape, or run. It makes you question everything.
- Imogen Church the narrator of In a Dark, Dark Wood added another layer to this already twisted and deliciously dark tale. She enhanced the tone of the story drawing out the quirks and emotions of each character. Her portrayal of Nora was spot on bringing every suspenseful, terrifying thought, and moment in Nora’s story to life. My heart raced as I listened and felt she brought the story to life.
In a Dark, Dark Wood was a terrifying, dark, and twisted tale. It is one that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats listening with bated breath. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that this is Ruth Ware’s debut novel. Brilliantly done I cannot wait to add more of her works to my library.
Look for my review of The Woman in Cabin 10 on Monday July 18th.Caffeinated declares In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware to be brilliant on audio Click To Tweet
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