In a Dark, Dark Wood

Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood is her first novel--an enchantingly unsettling thriller with mysterious characters and a classically spooky setting.

Nora is a writer of crime fiction, a loner who appreciates solitude. But when she gets an invitation to a hen party being thrown for a woman she hasn't spoken to in 10 years, against her instincts, she agrees to attend. The party's setting serves as a disturbing beginning: an isolated castle of steel and glass set deep in the English woods, populated for the weekend by nervous guests, each apparently with secrets to keep.

In the novel's disjointed timeline, Nora later wakes up in hospital with fractured memories of being covered in blood and running through dark woods; the police are waiting outside her door. What happened to her? Or... what has she done? As the narrative switches between Nora's confusion and the events leading up to her hospitalization, she and the reader together begin to wonder: Can she really not remember, or does she not want to? Both timelines accelerate with building suspense toward the big reveal, and eventually Nora will have to recall events from her past that she'd rather leave forgotten. As the story culminates, readers who appreciate being unnerved will be charmed. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

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