Autumn afternoons are spent
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
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.