In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Set in a creepy house, In a Dark, Dark Wood, follows writer Nora as she tries to piece together missing memories of a crime. Did she do it? This is the puzzle Nora, and the reader, have to solve in this gripping novel. More cerebral mystery than jump out of your seat scary, I found this novel chilling and un-put-down-able. I was desperate to figure out what happened and how Nora, a character that was happy to blend in with the world around her, would step up to save the day and solve the crime.
We first meet Nora in the hospital. She is quite beaten up but has no memory of what happened. Her doctors explain that short-term memory loss can be a reaction to trauma, and there is no doubt from her physical symptoms that Nora has experienced some form of extreme trauma. With the police waiting to question her, Nora is desperate to remember what happened. She starts at the beginning, the invitation to Clare's hen party (bachelorette weekend) at the maid of honour's family home deep in the woods.
As Nora remembers more and more, the reader starts to learn of her past and what led her to breaking off all communication with the bride and the groom, Nora's high school best friend and boyfriend respectively. Her sad past reveals her current approach to life of silently blending in with the crowd around her. As a writer, the sense is that Nora spends most of her days alone, working in her apartment, broken up only when she goes for a run. So a weekend away with a group of people is an unusual stretch for her, especially with friends from a past she would rather forget.
The Gutsy Heroine Book Shelf is a series of reviews of some of my favourite books featuring gutsy heroines - courageous characters who identify as female and become the heroes in their own stories.