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 the dark, dark room….
Some things can’t stay secret for ever.
In a Dark, Dark Wood follows the story of a young woman named Leonora, a crime writer who one day is invited to her childhood friend Clare’s “hen” (a British term for a bachelorette party in the United States). Leonora is suspicious, as she hasn’t spoken to this friend in years, despite a long and complicated history.
Nonetheless, she decides to attend the party, hosted in a morose, reclusive country house. In a series of events that she struggles to remember, Leonora winds up in a hospital, left with a confused memory and the fact that someone has been killed. The reader is taken on her consequent search for the truth, and journey of introspection.
I have just recently begun to read lots of thrillers and mystery novels, and from what I’ve seen already from the genre there is a lot to appreciate in In a Dark, Dark Wood. The author successfully builds suspense by inserting portions of Leonora’s real-time situation at the hospital into snippets of the actual weekend party, giving the reader lots to consider and allowing them to figure out the truth little by little, just as Leonora does.
The night was drawing in, and the house felt more and more like a glass cage, blasting its light blindly out into the dusk, like a lantern in the dark.
I also really liked the characters in this novel, specifically the group that attended the weekend party. I thought each one added largely to the plot in their own way (except for Melanie, who I felt was a bit unnecessary). Each character also played a role in creating confusion about the night of the death; I myself began to question each one, and even questioned Leonora herself, which I always love in mystery stories.
I thought the beginning of the novel was a bit slow, and found several parts of the story to be unrealistic, like Clare’s overly obssessive friend Flo. Thriller novels aren’t necessarily supposed to be applicable to real life, though, so I can definitely overlook that.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel! It isn’t necessarily a favorite for me, but it was an enjoyable read, and kept me interested and on the edge of my seat. It’s also getting turned into a movie soon, which I’m super excited about! I’m glad I’ve read the book so that when it comes out I can see it right away! 4/5 stars.