Beach Reads: In A Dark, Dark Wood
What’s The Buzz?: I’m a little tired of the label of ‘the next Gone Girl‘ and quite frankly, that label doesn’t quite stick here. But let’s call this book what it is: a riveting piece of psychological fiction that is more thrilling than scary (although it does have an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery aspect to it) and has been making waves as a standout piece of page-turning story from a debut author, Ruth Ware.
What’s The Plot?: Leonora (Nora) hasn’t seen her childhood friend Clare in years – for reasons that are revealed throughout the book. Needless to say it surprises lone wolf Nora when she is invited to Clare’s stagette (or ‘hen do’, to use local language). While Nora is reticent about attending and dredging up their past, she eventually decides to go and be there to share in this special time with her friend. But…this isn’t your typical hen party. For one, it’s taking place in an eerie remote cabin in the woods. For another, it’s revealed very early on that Nora wakes up in the hospital, in pain, covered in blood (not necessarily her own) and no real idea as to what has happened to her. In a Dark, Dark Wood zigs and zags as Nora tries to put together the pieces of this disturbing night, hooking the reader for a fast and furious ride.
What Genre Is It?: As I mentioned above, technically In a Dark, Dark Wood falls into the ‘women’s psychological fiction’ category, similar to say, Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, or even Luckiest Girl Alive. So many girls eh? But the book also dips its toe into the thriller, mystery, and mass market pools to create something a little more pulse-pounding. Despite the spine-tingling title and cover, I didn’t find the book to fall into the horror genre so much. The plot, while extreme, is ultimately grounded in reality, although you may find the creepy remote setting spooky enough to qualify as horror.
How Beachy Is It?: Depends on how you like your beach reads served. If you enjoy a good thriller that can be devoured one lazy Sunday at the lake, then this is your book. In a Dark, Dark Wood demands to be read and I’d strongly recommend carving out time to get through it as opposed to divvying it up over weeks. If you want something more fluffy and sweet, then perhaps this is a touch dark for your book pile.
Who Should Read This Book?: There are a series of books every year that just seem to be *the* books everyone is reading and talking about. I’d say In a Dark, Dark Wood falls into that category, so if you want to be up on the hot fiction trends, then pick this baby up. Also if you enjoyed any of the books I mentioned in this review (it also reminded me a bit of Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick), then give it a go as well.
This engrossing read is available at booksellers across Canada right now, and bonus, I also think it’s a swell pick as we move into the cooler, creepier months (hello October). In the meantime, you can try to win a copy here:
1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then, tell me in the comments below by September 13, 2015 – why are you interested in reading this pulse-pounding novel?
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around September 14, 2015 to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Follow Random House of Canada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you want to read this intriguing book! Post a link to your Tweet below in a separate comment to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.
5) Bonus Entry #2: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below in a separate comment to earn yourself another bonus entry.