by Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogen Church
Length: 9 hours and 34 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
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.
[bctt tweet=”Caffeinated declares In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware to be brilliant on audio” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
I have the paperback of this and started it, but got distracted. I need to pick it up again.
I hope you do!
I have Woman in Cabin 10 on my TBR list. This sounds really great too. I’ve been wanting to read more suspense and the darker the better. So many books, so little time. #FirstWorldProblems
I loved that one as well 🙂
Im so glad you loved this! It’s definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year too and Imogen Church was amazing! I seriously spent the last 10 minutes standing perfectly still, holding my breath and waiting to see what happened next! And that glass house in the woods *shudder*. So glad you loved it and I’m glad to remember just how much I enjoyed it too!
Yay, glad it was a winner for you too Katherine. I love a good thriller 🙂
Just added it to my GoodReads. Sounds pretty amazing and I do like a dark thriller at times, but I have to be in the mood for it. I checked out the price on Audible and it was less than I pay for a credit, so I think I am going to hold off for a sale and not use a credit, I did like what I listened to of the narrator!
I did that as well 🙂 got it for 4.99 or something 🙂
Set in my neck of the wood (pun not intended) or at least close enough to it, In A Dark, Dark Wood appeals to me big time.
A while since I’ve read a good dark psychological thriller this sounds like it may well fit the bill perfectly even if the title does put me in mind of a ghost story Mr T used to tell on youth camps which began with the words ‘In a dark, dark wood’ and involved a hairy toe.
LOL..I know that one 🙂
Oh great, it sounds like a wonderful one there! Plus I’m curious about the setting now!
Thanks Melliane. Hope you get to read it 🙂
I’m glad to hear that you really loved this one. I read The Woman in Cabin 10 about a month ago and LOVED it, so I’ve been wanting to go back and read this one. 🙂
I loved that one too 🙂
Sounds like a great suspense read.! Thanks for the post!!
It really was, thanks Angela
Oh, my! Your review is the first 5-star review I’ve seen for this one. I’ve only seen a mixed compilation of reviews and ratings for it and have wondered if it really met the hype. I guess it did. You have me wanting to read it with terrifying, dark, and twisted. I had no idea this was a debut novel. Debuts tend to be some of my best over the past year and a half.
I think the audio notched this up to a five..it was brilliant 🙂
Melissa (Books and Things)
Okay, first… where have I been and why don’t I know about the book club before. Will go and join soon. Second, man… this sounds so good. Another reason for me to join. You all know how to pick a good thriller. Cross your fingers the library has this one! 😀
I have her other book Woman in Cabin 10, so if I like it then I will have to give this one a try. 🙂
I loved Woman in Cabin 10 as well. This author has impressed me 🙂
Gah, stop it Kim, just stop it! My TBR pile can’t take it anymore. 😛
Have a great weekend!
LOL..I am sorry. If it makes you feel any better I am having trouble squeezing in all my posts on the blog 🙁
I’ve been wanting to grab this from the library but it’s always checked out, and the holds list is a mile long.
Get on the list my friend!
Two things drew me in: dark psychological thriller and reclusive author. I haven’t yet read this author, but now I must! Thanks.
I’m glad you liked it! I really enjoyed it as well! Great review!
This looks so good! Thanks for the review. Added to my TBR and shared everywhere!
Yay, Enjoy Claudette 🙂
Great review this is definitely going on my list. I love when you can give a book such a high rating and not like any of the characters that in my mind is the mark of a master storyteller.
I hope you enjoy it Debbie 🙂
I’ll bite! Just downloaded the audiobook from the library. Great review.
Wahoo! I cannot wait to hear your take on it 🙂
You do love your psychological thrillers. I’m both intrigued and hesitant because I’m a wimp lol. Great review
What can I say I am twisted 🙂
I loved this one. I also listened and the narrator was amazing and added so much to the story I think .SO excited to read – well listen – to her new one. Greta review!
These types of books are such fun on audio 🙂
I really like psychological thrillers. This sounds like good one.
It was wonderful and yep I love them too Mary 🙂