Reading

The Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Turn of the Key - Ruth Ware

Title: The Turn of the Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone following Rowan who stumbles across a live-in nanny job, which seems like a great opportunity at first. When a child in her care ends up dead, Rowan finds herself in prison and awaiting trial for murder. But if she didn’t kill anyone, that means someone else did.

First impressions: I was curious to see how the plot would unfold. The author chose to have Rowan writing letters to a lawyer, which added an interesting layer to the story.

Characters: Rowan is a complex individual with flaws and secrets of her own. The use of first person point of view allows readers to follow Rowan and learn more about her. There aren’t too many characters, which makes it easier to keep track of everyone.

Quote:

“I never knew there were so many ways to deal with pain so unbearable that it cannot be endured, but in here I have seen them all.”

Writing: It’s a little over 350 pages with short chapters. I found some parts in the middle of the story to be a bit repetitive. Even though I couldn’t predict all the twists and turns, Ware does a good job hinting at the truth without revealing too much.

Final thoughts: The ending wraps up some questions but leaves others unanswered. While it isn’t the most realistic read in my opinion, the story is still fun and different. If you enjoy contemporary thrillers with horror elements, consider checking out The Turn of the Key.


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Reading

The Death of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone novel following Hal Westaway who receives a letter about an inheritance, even though she isn’t the granddaughter of Mrs. Westaway. Hal finds herself attending the funeral of the deceased where she realizes there are many secrets surrounding the family.

First impressions: I’ve read Ware’s other novels, and I was curious about this one. I thought the story would just focus on the present, but the diary entries from the past added an interesting angle to the story.

Characters: There are some morally gray characters. I felt like the relationship dynamics between family members were unexpected in an interesting way. The book doesn’t have too many characters, so it was easy enough to remember everyone.

Quote:

“She had discovered that the most important truths often lay in what people didn’t say…”

Writing: I like when writers interweave the past and the present, and Ware does this well. Although the chapters aren’t too long, in my opinion, the plot takes a bit of time to develop. There are discussion questions and an interview with the author at the end of the book I read, which I enjoyed.

Final thoughts: The ending resolves the big mysteries while leaving some small questions unanswered. If you are a fan of contemporary thrillers with a dark, Gothic undertone, consider picking up The Death of Mrs. Westaway.


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Reading

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

The Lying Game - Ruth Ware

Title: The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s a standalone novel that follows Isa Wilde who gets a text from an old friend that says “I need you”. At boarding school, Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima participated in The Lying Game, where they lied to teachers and other students. But their lies are coming to light, and they have to discover the truth of what happened seventeen years ago.

First impressions: I’ve read In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, enjoying them both. I love a good thriller as much as anyone, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. The author builds tension in the beginning by withholding information, slowly revealing details of the past.

Characters: I like that Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima are all unique individuals with their own flaws. There’s a bit of diversity with Fatima being a person of colour. I enjoyed Ware exploring friendships between women, especially looking at how relationships change over time.

Quote:

“I don’t want anyone to live in a prison of guilt, so go on: live, love, be happy, never look back.”

Writing: It’s a little over 400 pages long with the book divided into five sections with different rules of The Lying Game: tell a lie, stick to your story, don’t get caught, never lie to each other, know when to stop lying. Some twists and surprises caught me off guard.

Final thoughts: I didn’t predict some events of the ending, so for me, it was fun to find out what exactly happened. If you are a fan of suspenseful mysteries about female friendships, consider checking out The Lying Game.


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Reading

The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

Title: The Woman in Cabin 10

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It follows travel writer, Lo Blacklock, who goes on a voyage for work. One night, Lo wakes when she hears a splash that sounds like someone being thrown overboard. But everyone on the ship remains accounted for, and no one believes her.

First impressions: I read Ware’s debut, so I had an idea of what to expect. I like the title and cover.

Characters: Lo is a complex protagonist who has anxiety and panic attacks. She’s not the most likeable or reliable narrator, which made her story interesting to follow. I didn’t feel a strong connection to many characters however. A lot of them just didn’t resonate with me.

Quote:

“But I still think, in spite of it all, we’re responsible for our own actions.”

Writing: The short chapters help build suspense, but the middle of the narrative is a little slow. Near the end, the pacing picks up.

Final thoughts: I had a hard time predicting some events, but the ending wasn’t too surprising.

I try not to compare books to others, but this novel is similar to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. If you like that or a thrilling mystery, consider reading The Woman in Cabin 10.


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Reading

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

Title: In A Dark, Dark Wood

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a debut standalone novel about a bachelorette party gone wrong.

First impressions: I like the cover more than the title. Right away I could relate to the main character, Leonora, because she’s a writer.

Characters: All the characters are flawed in some way. I didn’t find myself caring for any of them too much. In retrospect, they weren’t realistic enough in my eyes. Although I wasn’t that fond of the group, I found myself feeling bad for the friends at the end.

Quote:

“But we always leave a scar.”

Writing: The author uses some British slang. Nevertheless, it’s relatively easy to understand what they mean.

Even for a fictional thriller, a few scenes feel a bit exaggerated.

I saw some things coming, so the plot wasn’t as thrilling, but it’s still a fun and fast read.

The language is more mature. I didn’t mind the dialogue or the description.

Since Nora suffers a head injury and loses her memory, she’s an unreliable narrator, which I tend to enjoy more often than not.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends and answers lingering questions.

The debut’s promising. I’m interested to read Ware’s second novel, The Woman in Cabin 10.

I recommend In A Dark, Dark Wood if you enjoy thrillers about relationships. It’s certainly not for everybody though.


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