Guest Column

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Scout Press, 2015)


Think Hitchcock. Think old-fashioned psychological thriller. Think good writing. If you have read and loved The Woman in Cabin 10, Ware's most recent novel, you will enjoy her first publication, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Leonora Shaw, a crime writer, awakens, bruised and befuddled in a hospital bed. Frightened and confused, Nora tries desperately to recall the weird events of the last couple of days, in which she was the guest at a “hen party” for her former best friend, Clare Cavendish. Even more perplexing than her memory loss is the fact that a policeman is stationed outside her hospital room. Nora struggles to figure out if she is, in fact, the victim or the perpetrator of some crime that she cannot remember? As the bits and pieces of the weekend return to Nora's memory, she becomes increasingly alarmed and unsure if she does want to remember the specifics of what happened.

Sign Up for E-News

Leonora, or Nora as she is known currently, had been perplexed when she received an e-mail invitation to a “hen party” for her former best friend, Clare, from Clare's current best buddy, Flo Clay. Nora has not seen Clare for ten years, since Nora fled from home at age 16 after a horrible break-up with her childhood sweetheart, James. Upon leaving home Nora reinvented herself totally, but was never willing to open herself to another relationship.

However, intrigued by the invitation to the hen party, despite the fact that she has not been invited to the wedding, Nora decides+ to travel to Kielder Forest to join the other guests at a unique home called the Glass House, owned by the aunt of Flo Clay, the woman who has organized this most unusual weekend, After the guests have convened, each introduces him/herself in a Murder on the Orient Express procession of characters. Flo, who had replaced Nora as Clare's best friend at the university, clearly idolizes the cool and beautiful Clare, which is a little weird in itself. In fact, Flo is inexplicably desperate that this party be perfect for her gal-pal, which mystifies Nora as the weekend progresses. As the plot twists inside out, Flo seems to unravel with each glitch to her carefully conceived party plans, fearing that failure of each event designed by Clare, will spoil the weekend.

Nina da Souza, now a doctor, goes back to high school days with Clare and Nora. She bears resentment toward Clare for outing her as a lesbian in a cruel and untimely way, but she comes to honor her old friend at the hen party anyway. Tom Deauxina, a gay actor, is the only male invited to the bash, and the final guest, Melanie Blaine-Cho, a very recent Mommy, had been a housemate of Clare and Flo's in college. It is an odd assortment of guests, who have gathered in a dark, dark wood to celebrate Clare's impending nuptials.

The peculiar thing about this odd assortment of party goers is that none of them, including the bride, who, oddly, has left her rather large engagement ring home, feels particularly joyful in celebrating the impending wedding. Why has this particular group of people been brought together, Nora wonders? And when Nora learns the identity of the groom, she is even more perplexed as to why she has been invited for Clare is engaged to Nora's old beau, James.

Although the characters could have been sketched in more fully, In a Dark, Dark Wood is a quick and fun read, with a very twisted ending. This is the kind of novel that's great to throw in the beach bag and read on a sunny day. Or, better yet, read it late in the night with the wind howling and the branches of the trees scratching at your window. Either way In a Dark, Dark Wood is a strange and uncomfortable tale about the ramifications of mistakes made during adolescence.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


East Brunswick: I Don't Wanna Close Up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

March 16, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick used to be the home of Meyer's toy store, an almost idyllic wonderland of all sorts of Barbies, parts for swimming pools, and clanging model trains until it closed in 2002.  Kay-Bee toy store was a popular stop at the Brunswick Square Mall until 2009, with a salesperson often displaying the newest gadget outside its door, causing eager kids ...


Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

ECSNJ Partnership with Rutgers Behavioral Health Helps Students Manage Life’s Challenges

March 19, 2018

PISCATAWAY, NJ – A collaboration with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is providing more behavioral and emotional support for students attending two Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) schools.

Appearing on ESCNJ’s Better Together podcast, Assistant Superintendent Gary Molenaar said Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care “is a recognized ...

Celebrate National Ag Day at the Middlesex County EARTH Center

EARTH CENTER, NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from agriculture. That is why America’s farmers and their crops are celebrated each year on National Ag Day, which falls this year on March 20.

To honor this day, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County has planned a new seminar entitled The State of Agriculture and ...

Piscataway Libraries Host Annual NJ Makers Day Program

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Piscataway Public Libraries were once again hosts to dozens of “makers” for the 4th Annual NJ Makers Day celebration.

The Saturday events at the Kennedy and Westergard Libraries featured activities and demonstrations by members of the maker culture with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) initiatives.

Among other ...

NCAA Tournament: Heilmann and DelVecchio Both Secure All-American Honors; Suriano Becomes Rutgers' First-Ever Finalist

CLEVELAND, OH -The senior class of South Plainfield High School’s “Murderer’s Row”, the 2013 team that earned a group title, two individual state titles, and produced five state placewinners, knows a thing or two about making wrestling history. The 2018 NCAA wrestling tournament marks the last time two standouts from 2013 team, Troy Heilmann and Scott DelVecchio, will ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


The Basics of Starting a Business

Business & Finance

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

Palm Sunday

Religions And Spirituality

Hillsborough: Suspended HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 19, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been ...

Coffee, Tea or Fleas?

Two ducks are on a flight to Miami.  The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?”  The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”


Pa rum pum.


There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes.  Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring ...