I have read all five of Ruth Ware’s published novels and instead of doing the reviews individually, I am combining them all into one lovely post. As I read them at different times, and out of their publication order, I reference obviously different moments of time throughout.
I wanted to keep it that way as the original posts because it adds to the charm I think of the times that I read them and reacted to them. I even included the dates that I finished reading them since I read them in reverse publication order up until her most recent release of course. Let’s start with the furthest back and work our way up to current, shall we?
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
July 9, 2018 – Finished Reading
I LOVED the narration of this audiobook! Imogen gave a phenomenal performance and I very much enjoyed my time listening!!
As for the story itself? I liked it so much that I purchased the other three works I could find by Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and In a Dark, Dark Wood).
I liked the way that the story unfolded and the turns were interesting. I LOVED the tarot cards being woven in and the interpretations.
I saw a few of the whodunnit elements coming and a few twists not so much, but the why everything was the way it was being used as the core mystery was the part I felt was extremely well done and enjoyed most!
I liked our protagonist, Hal, and I liked that she was learning as we the readers were what happened.
Good show! I am looking forward to reading more by Ruth to see if I like her earlier works as much!! (Obviously, I hope so!)
On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.
The Lying Game
July 13, 2018 – Finished Reading
Holy shit, that last line, like damnnnnnn.
I enjoyed this story so much! The characters, the intrigue, the past and present woven together, and the ride-or-die squad friendship these four women had.
Now granted, their choices were shit, they all carried terrible secrets yet the friendship portayed here was utterly captivating.
I am reading works by Ruth Ware in reverse order accidentally. I suppose The Woman in Cabin 10 will be my next read by her!
So far, it’s 2 for 2 as I was a insta fan from reading The Death of Mrs. Westaway.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
The Woman in Cabin 10
August 18, 2018 – Finished Reading
This one took some turns I wasn’t expecting and some that I did…which was a nice balance!
I liked that a lot was implied at the end as to how things went down with the two involved (no spoilers!) and the literary reference with the money transfer was both cute and helped to allow us as readers to imagine what happened…another solid Ruth Ware novel. (Again, I am reading these in reverse publication order and so In A Dark, Dark Wood is next and last for me until her next/fifth publishes novel).
Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
In A Dark, Dark Wood
August 22, 2018-Finished Reading
I can’t agree with some of the choices our main character made toward the end…the pacing for me felt slow until about the last fifty pages and then hot damn was this an interesting read!!
My heart broke a bit with the whodunit and why. YET, I can’t help but wonder why it took her so many years to make that text connection…oh well.
All and all, recommend!
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 forever.
The Turn of the Key
August 26th, 2019-Finished Reading
Ruth Ware has a flair for creating an atmosphere, I tell ya!
This reminded me in some aspects of the phenomenal Death of Mrs. Westaway; but was also altogether something new.
The children were a creepy sort of addition.
The house of course had its own characterization which was amplified even more by the smart house aspects.
Jack was an interesting man. Meant to be a sort of possible love interest for Rowan, but also creepy in his own right at times too.
I find the most endearing with Ware’s writing that she isn’t afraid to make her characters flawed, human, even unlikable. She makes them come alive off the page.
Imogen Church narrated this audio as she had the previous ones and she is so unbelievably talented! She had wonderful material to bring to life!
HOWEVER, I am left feeling very…conflicted at the end of this.
I saw some of the twists coming, but not others. Always a pleasure when that happens; yet that ending felt…strangely unsatisfying. Oddly open ended to interpretation and I feel that can be done well with some tales but here felt *too* open. We needed a clearer ending. This felt like it left things unfinished too much.
The story itself was entertaining and beautifully done as Ruth Ware makes her houses characters of a sort. I liked the characters and the plot and everything….however that ending was WEAK AS HELL.
There. I said it.
I feel the ending ruined it for me and almost like I wasted my time with this story because I felt so letdown by it.
In my personal opinion the ending was sloppy writing on her part. Yes. Sloppy. She is a better writer than this!! She could have done SO MUCH better. She has before….Sigh.
Maybe some will be able to forgive that poor excuse for a wrap up; but I can’t and I won’t.
The story itself had such a great build up and suspense and it was all shaping up to be so wonderful. The potential was *there*. It was there.
I hope this doesn’t begin a pattern now for her as I have been a huge fan of her previous work and had been so beyond stoked about this since I first heard about it. What a let down. 🙁
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.