Mar 20, 2017

Life This Week 20/3/2017: Autumn. 'In A Dark, Dark Wood'.

Autumn afternoons are spent

raking leaves

before getting back inside for an afternoon tea that involves a toaster, lots of butter and a large mug of tea.

Autumn style is all about 

the little details

and adding a little of the unexpected by way of a cape or tutu.

Autumn is meant for baking.

That soft sifting of flour over the other dry ingredients,

scenting the kitchen with a heady mix of melted butter and golden syrup

 and the satisfaction of pressing a buttery slice into a lined baking tin.

Autumn at work means wearing

pin striped button down shirts

and Liberty scarves because it's finally cool enough to wear both without getting uncomfortably hot and bothered as I walk around the wards.  Always a bit warmer up there than in my office but it stands to reason given that most on the wards are in gowns or pyjamas.

Autumn always seems to be the time that I find new make up miracle workers.  I wonder what this year's finds will be.

And finally, autumn is all about The Read.  And I have one for you already...

'In a Dark, Dark Wood' is another novel by Ruth Ware.  I reviewed 'The Woman In Cabin 10' a fortnight ago.

What can I say?  It's taut, it's tense and it keeps you guessing (and just a little scared of the darkness beyond your bedroom door) until the final page.

Leonora is a writer who is comfortable in her solitary world where her coffee maker is set every morning to deliver her perfect brew at just the right moment.  She also loves solitary runs through parks and forests.  Because this is Ruth Ware world, she also has dark secrets from her past and doesn't do well with lots of alcohol.

It's been ten years or so since Leonora left most of her school friends behind in her old life.  Nina is the only girlfriend she keeps up with and the pair aren't averse to having a big night out on the town a and a bit of a bitch session now and then.

Then the email from a girl called Flo arrives.  It's an invitation to Clare's hens weekend.  The beautiful and golden Clare who was Leonora's best friend at school.  Interestingly, Leonora was never invited to the wedding and assumes it might have been an error to be included in the email.  But it  wasn't and Flo is very insistent that Leonora attend.  A few sarcastic exchanges between Leonora and Nina ensue and the pair finally agree to make the trek to where the weekend will be held.

Flo greets them and  is blusteringly anxious to please them all as she invites them into her aunt's stunning glass panelled house in the middle of a deserted wood.  There is a pressure behind Flo efforts as she aims to give Clare the perfect send off into married life.  Other guests hint at Flo having had a 'break down' previously and the weekend gets off to a shaky start as a small group of quite different people with little in common except the golden Clare try to make the most of a place without wifi or decent phone reception.

Clare eventually arrives and we begin to understand a little of the awkwardness of Leonora only being invited to the hens and not the actual wedding.  It's all because of James the groom.  James was Leonora's first love.  They broke up just out of school and now he is to be Clare's husband.  The pair thought it best for Leonora to be told in person and for some bizarre reason (okay, it's a plot device but still...), the hens weekend seemed the perfect setting.

It's not the most straightforward hens weekend.  The novel begins with Leonora in a hospital bed, possibly under police guard and injured.  Someone has possibly died but Leonora cannot remember a thing.  It is clear that something very bad happened over the weekend but what and why?  The novel shifts between moments from the weekend to the present day where Leonora finds herself at one stage a prime suspect for murder.

There is so much I love about 'In A Dark, Dark Wood'.  I know the critics are divided but I'm team Ware and will be forever.  I love the context of the novel, the hens weekend deconstructed and made sinister.  But not in an over the top horror film kind of way but in a manner that is more slightly freaky day time soap opera kind of way.  There's always room on my autumn weekends for books like this.


  1. Love that scarf...& salivating over the muffin... have a great week.

  2. Well you've covered everything in is post SSG. I can smell the buttery slice - yum! I also enjoyed your book review I enjoy a good thriller. Have a great week and look forward to next week's post.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  3. I like the way you do autumn. Especially the buttered crumpets and colourful scarves!

  4. Ooh, I have just put this one on my list of books to read! Thanks for the great review!!

  5. I think I actually want that Batman sweater! And your scarf (but not worn together perhaps).

  6. Looks like you have had a great start to Autumn.

  7. I loved this look at Autumn from you! Now if the humidity would 'blow' away anytime soon, even the rain might be a little more welcome. I fear we are in for it for a while longer. I love your work outfit...and I always wore a lanyard at school (with a whistle for playground duty!!). I still have my car/house keys on a lanyard because then I do not lose them!! I hope SSG Pre-Schooler is able to get outside more too! Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek 12/52. Next week: 3 Month Review 2017.

  8. Gorgeous pink shirt. I remember you leaf raking last autumn too. We're raking as well. We leave it until spring at my house. I try to let the winter do most of the work.

  9. It sounds like a pretty dark book, but I guess autumn is the perfect time for it :) Lots of reasons to stay indoors and just relax and read :) I'm looking forward to the autumn weather arriving. While we've been getting a taste of the rain Sydney's had it's still pretty hot and humid.


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