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In a Dark, Dark Wood

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  220,617 ratings  ·  18,612 reviews
In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

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?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 30th 2015 by Harvill Secker
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  220,617 ratings  ·  18,612 reviews

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I don't think I've disliked a protagonist as much as Nora, the main character in In a Dark, Dark Wood, in ages. Earlier this year, I found Rachel, the protagonist of The Girl on the Train, to be annoying and very unlikable, but I didn't hate her.

To be fair, I didn't hate Nora so much as find myself repulsed by her. She is a 26-year-old woman who is still haunted by and distraught over a break-up that happened when she was 16. Yes, 16! What kind of loser is so affected by an adolescent relations
Honestly one of the worst books I have read this year, and I definitely cannot recommend it as a tense crime novel!!!

In a Dark, Dark Wood is the antithesis of what a thriller should be. It's hugely predictable, very slow paced, has big plot holes, and was downright boring.

I found the writing style to be quite amateurish, and the characters very immature and one dimensional. These women are supposed to be adults, and in their mid to late twenties - yet they came across as judgemental, bitchy, und
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-from-work
this is a truly beautiful ARC, one of the nicest i've seen:

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it's all textured and graphically pleasing and nice to touch and hold:

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but the story didn't really meet my expectations.

i'm giving it a three, but it is a low three. it is an incredibly fast read, and if you are looking for something in that vein - a fast-paced page-turner mystery thing, this may well satisfy you. but be forewarned it is not a creepy book, or even remotely spooky, as the cover and epigraph seem to suggest:

Miranda Reads
3.5 stars
It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.
Ten years ago, Leonora ("Lee" "Leo" "Nora") broke up with her boyfriend (James), ditched her best friends (Clare/Nina) and skipped town. She hasn't looked back since.

Well, until now.

She just got an invite to Clare's Hen Party (bacholorette weekend) and despite her misgivings, she decides to go.

She's spent so much time running fro
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**3.5-stars rounded up**

Who needs friends, when you can have frenemies?!

In a Dark, Dark Wood includes: a slightly predictable plot, a standard Thriller format, an unreliable narrator and a delightful cast of horrid, unlikable characters.

My opinion on this book and all of those things: hella enjoyable.

Lesson Learned:

When invited to a 'hen do' for a girl you don't even associate with anymore, just say no, thank you!!!

If for some insane reason, you do accept said invitation and end up at the 'do',
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
3/3.5?!?!!! This book left me in such anger. The beginning was so fast and I was so sucked in and then the middle left me feeling lethargic and as if I were reading as I was walking through mud. Then the end.... The end totally blew my mind. I couldn't believe it happened the way it did... Would I recommend? Yeah, probs. The assortment of characters are absolutely uncanny. Such a strange cast of characters but when written together it was absolutely perfect. Ugh. I liked it and then I hated it.. ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writer Leonora (Nora) Shaw gets invited to old friend Clare's hen night (aka bachelorette party) by a girl named Flo. (It is being held in Flo's aunt's house.) Nora lost touch with Clare years ago, hasn't spoken to her in ten years, and doesn't know if she wants to go to this party. But after talking to another friend who is also invited (Nina) Nora reluctantly decides to go.

Nora and Nina arrive at the house where the party is being held, which is isolated in the woods in Northumberland. It's a
Leonora Shaw is a crime writer. Ten years ago, following the breakup of a young love affair, she left a school in which up to then she had been very happy, lost touch with all her school friends and now lives alone in a small flat in Hackney, in which she devotes her entire time to writing. Her only relaxation is her daily running, at which she excels.

Then, out of the blue, she receives an e-mail inviting her to the hen party of Clare, who had been her best friend throughout her entire time at
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This was a mediocre story that had all the makings of something better than it was. I would describe it as a light mystery. It wasn't a thriller. It wasn't dark or scary. The voice of the narrator was lovely, the music at the beginning and end creepy but the story itself was slow and a bit clunky at times...filled with constant chatting done by characters who were each a bit odd and behaved in a way that was both catty and juvenile. It reminded me first of an Agatha Christie mystery, then of a s ...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
2.5 stars. This was a quick and easy read. I feel that my lack of enthusiasm for this book was largely affected by my expectations being set too high. I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

I really enjoyed this author, Ruth Ware's, second novel "The Woman in Cabin 10". I was expecting more of that heart-pounding, suspenseful writing that kept me on the edge of my seat, however, I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed upon finishing this book. This story dragged on and was somewhat pre
j e w e l s
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There have been many reviews for the regular book version of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware, but my review is for the audio version. I have had the actual book for awhile now and for some reason, every time I picked it up I just could not stay with it due to my unfortunate yet seasonably short attention span. As happens so many times, a beautifully made audio version of the same book will quickly suck me in, even if I just read the same words myself and they seemed so uninteresting in my own
After a bachelorette (Hen) party, Lenora wakes up in a hospital bed badly bruised and confused with a bandaged head and memory loss; and when she overhears a devastating police conversation outside her door, she begins to piece together the nightmare of a weekend that brought her there.

Based on the title, In The Dark Dark Wood and the great eerie book cover, I was hoping for creepiness and devilment in the snowy outdoors, but instead received a fair to middling (somewhat) predictable crime-myste

Clumsy Storyteller
Warning !!!!! Review may contain spoilers!

Damnnnnnnnnn WTF did i just read ! OMG this is so creppy and amazing :D and mindblowing wow i’m at loss of words ! This book is a crime novel: an absorbing, genious thriller in which, halfway through, a big twist upends everything. (Spoiler alert: I plan to discuss that twist below.) 
The story is being told by Nora’s POV she is an author , insecure woman haunted by her past , one day she recieved an Email from Flo inviting her to clare’s wedding , the
This is a tough one. I had high expectations for "In A Dark, Dark Wood" by Ruth Ware, but I must be honest - I'm extremely disappointed with this clunky novel. I had 2 main problems. The first being the writing. I will say I did enjoy the plot, even though the pay-off was mediocre at best. This is the story of a hen night (bachelorette party for us Americans) in the English countryside gone awry. The beginning was fast-paced and sucked me in, but halfway through, the plot started to cave in on i ...more
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a 2015 Gallery/Scout publication.

I began hearing a few rumblings about this book last year, but could never find the time to read it. However, when Ware’s next novel came up for review, I snatched it up immediately and was very, very impressed. So, off I went to my Overdrive Library to locate a copy of this novel. Although this book has been out for a while, the hold time was still lengthy. But, finally, a copy became available, so with giddy anticipation, I
Iris P
In a Dark, Dark Wood

What originally lured me to this novel was the synopsis: "what should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn", good enough. Sounded like a nice to way to immerse myself in some fluffy, brain-candy kind of story. Unfortunately my enthusiasm was short-lived.

Perhaps I am on the wrong demographic for this novel, but I found this book tedious, repetitive and frankly not very original. The writing was subpar bordering on mediocre, an
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
** I would like to thank Random House UK, Vintage Publishing for allowing me the copy to read and review **

This makes for compulsive reading.

Lee is a writer, she lives on her own.
Likes to run.

She gets invited out of the blue to an old friends hen do, from Flo the Matron of Honor.
Something happened between her old friend and herself.
They have not seen each other for around 10 years.

She contacts another friend to find out if she has been invited too. And they both decide to go together.

The plac
Liz Barnsley
Seriously addictive and with such a gorgeous flow that you could easily read it in one sitting if you have a free afternoon, In a Dark Dark Wood is definitely up there with the best psychological thrillers I have read.

It is beautifully character driven – to the point that even inanimate objects become characters in their own right – most especially the “dark dark house” mentioned in the blurb which takes on a life of its own and is so deliciously creepy that there is a touch of cinematic horror
May 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
I thought this book would be a thriller and dark. Instead it turned out to boring and the characters were chatty and got on my nerves. Instead of calling it a "Hen" party, it sound have been called a "Bitch" party. All of the ladies were bitchy and mean. The chapters are short but the book still felt like it was a long read. Nothing really happened until about mid way. Which by than I was so over the characters that I did not care what happened to them. I jumped to the last few chapters of the b ...more
 Li'l Owl
Oh, my!
In a dark, dark wood....
There is a dark, dark house....

With a few odd, strange friends....
Invited to an odder, stranger Hen....
And something that warns
M uuu rrr d eee rrr eee rrr

Leonora Shore wakes to discover she's in hospital but has no memory of what happened. She's been told she's been in a car accident and has banged her head very hard at least once and she's got a bandage on her forehead. As she fades in and out of a morphine haze she tries to remember what happened. She remem
Katie B
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I finally got around to reading this and overall I thought it was entertaining even if there were some problems along the way. This is the second Ruth Ware book I have read and for me she is very similar to B.A. Paris. I enjoy their books even though I am well aware of the flaws and understand why they aren't every reader's cup of tea. How I choose to rate books is based mainly on my overall reading experience and I did have a fun time with this one.

Leonora is invited to spend the weeke
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
After reading the blurb, I was dying to get my hands on this book. Can you blame me? It promised suspense, shock and the frantic page-turning quality of any good thriller. Unfortunately, it didn’t totally deliver. Not for me, at least.

It was slow starting, which I won’t totally knock it for, but there was no shocking revelation to me in regards to who was behind it all or even the ending. I saw it coming a mile away and in no way did I find the story even remotely creepy.

Even after all of that
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it

Leonara Ware has constructed for herself a solitary existence in London, living in a small but comfortable apartment, writing crime novels and eating, running and writing on a very precise schedule. She seems content for the moment but we wonder why she is so sheltering herself from others her own age and not really living her life.

She receives an invitation to a hen weekend (we in the States call it a bachelorette party) fo
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This book started off with a bang quick fast paced then in the middle i felt that it went into a lull then at the end it just went BANG HERE WE GO!!

i must say i hated al the characters but i could not stop reading i was obsessed with what was happening & to who there was MURDER, jealousy secrets you name it this had it although i did pick the perp but that didn't bother me i did not think the characters jelled very well there was a lot of dysfunction throughout but was a compelling read Ruth war
Update: 9/2018
Now I have read another of her works. I found it to be about as good as this one (The Death of Mrs. Westaway).

I also wanted to add that, yes, this one may seem scattered at first because the character has no memory. She and you, the reader, are piecing it together; so of course it’s not going to be tra la, la, here, let me hand you the story ! It builds! Yesss! Nifty little device. Only for those with patience.

I should write a proper review for this now that I have rea
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
A solid if ultimately unoriginal thriller. It has a good enough mystery, simple and relatively easy to guess, but it’s a pretty good recommendation for those who grew up reading Agatha Christie or even just Nancy Drew. I don’t really understand the theming of the “dark, dark wood” story, this is just a murder mystery with an unreliable narrator. If you’re into the simplicity of that then maybe this will work, and that was enough for me to really enjoy the reading experience.

I do think it was be
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

I haven’t been able to break the “10 reviews behind” mark these last couple of months and since this one already has 10,000 it probably doesn’t need whatever idiocy I can spew out about it to help sell more copies, so I’m going to barf out something real quick here in order to (hopefully) not spend the first half of 2018 trying to play catch up.

In A Dark Dark Wood is a book that I spent the better part of the year waiting for
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting something a little more original when picking this up. But sadly it fell into the same rote, formulaic structure of most 'unreliable narrator' murder mysteries these days. The writing was decent but definitely nothing spectacular, and it couldn't redeem the book from being anything but ordinary. It's not a bad book by any means, but if you've read Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train you won't find anything particularly special here. Sure, it was enjoyable enough, but by the last t ...more
A creepy hen-party, a few unlikely invitees. A secret agenda. A spooky glass house. An atmospheric forest.

Entertaining: yes
Psychological thriller: yes
Predictable: yes
Programmatic: yes
Cover: magnificent!

A middle-of-the-road novel. A good read, and for some, a surprising ending. But I saw the ending coming in the beginning. The drawn-out denouement was annoyingly contrived - to keep the suspense up was just too obvious. And the so-called secret was also clear from the start. Yawn.

And that's it. N
Stephanie Nicholas
Leonora (Nora) is summoned by her best friend's maid of honor to attend a hen do (bachelorette weekend) in the English countryside. It's strange, though, because she hasn't even been invited to the wedding. She contacts another one of her University friends, Nina, and they make a pact to go together. Not soon after they arrive, Nora has the past dredged up by other invitees, and all becomes very awkward. She thinks of leaving, but when one of the other women goes home early, she feels obliged to ...more
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Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

Find her on twitter at

Articles featuring this book

With clever detectives, missing jewels, murderous women, daring spies, and more, mysteries and thrillers deliver page-turning delight with...
307 likes · 350 comments
“People don’t change,” Nina said bitterly. “They just get more punctilious about hiding their true selves.” 70 likes
“It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.” 31 likes
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