What’s it all about?:
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s bachelorette party 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.
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: Discuss Nora’s motives for going on the hen weekend. Would you have gone?
BETH: Nora is really shocked at receiving an email from a girl called Flo who is organising a hen party for Clare, an old and very important friend to her who she hasn’t seen or spoken to for ten years. Nora is desperate to know why she has been invited and surprised that Clare still thinks of her after all this time and I think that was the main reason why she ended up accepting. Then the reader is told that something happened to Nora the last time she saw Clare and it has something to do with Nora’s first serious relationship. It is obvious that there are some unresolved issues between the pair and perhaps in some way Nora wants to lay that part of her life to rest and she feels that going to the party would do this. If it was me, I would probably do the same thing – I would be too curious to see my old best friend again and figure out why there was an invite to the hen weekend and NOT the wedding.
BETH: The character of Nora is a crime fiction writer and ends up embroiled in a real-life crime plot of her own. How do you think she coped with it in the novel?
CHRISSI: It was intriguing to read from Nora’s persepective, especially her being a crime fiction writer. You would think, from writing her own books, that she’d be slightly worried at the prospect of going to a hen weekend with someone she hasn’t spoken to for years and for someone she had a LOT of history with. Hmm… You’d think she’d be more suspecting. Perhaps Nora believed that only such things happen in books!
CHRISSI: The structure of the plot has been described as being something like an Agatha Christie novel. What do you think about this idea?
BETH: Great question! I can see the parallels to Agatha Christie in the way that the reader is given a lot of clues and tidbits about Nora’s past but not given the full information until very near the end of the novel. In some ways it reminded me of the Christie novel And Then There Were None (my absolute favourite AC story), especially the strange, secluded setting and the multitude of characters who almost all seem to have something a little dark and twisty to contribute.
BETH: This thriller is all about toxic friendships. What did you think about the relationships that exist between the characters?
CHRISSI: I was suspicious about all of the friendships in this book. I was incredibly suspicious about Flo, right from the start. She really was an unreliable character, but then I got the vibe that I couldn’t trust many in this tense book. I think I suspected many characters of wrongdoings at one point or another.
CHRISSI: How does this book compare to other books in the genre?
BETH: This is an engrossing and intriguing read that sits very comfortably in the crime fiction genre. I can certainly understand the great reviews it has had and at points I found myself holding my breath unsure of what on earth was going to happen next! It’s a very promising debut and I look forward to another convoluted and gripping novel from Ruth Ware in the future.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: I would definitely read another book by this author. Whilst it wasn’t my favourite read compared to others in the genre, I still thought that it was highly enjoyable and I wouldn’t mind reading more from Ruth Ware!
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!
BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):