Book Notes: Ruth Ware

When I get into an author, I usually go and read everything by them. So I read all of Ruth Ware’s novels. They are entertaining but not worth writing a separate review for each book.

People always ask why I read such trashy novels. But where else can one find a novel written entirely from the perspective of a breastfeeding mother who has an infant clamped to her breast throughout the 400 pages of the novel? And not because the author is trying to make some point but because it’s a large part of life for women. Women spend years keeping their kids in their field of vision while doing everything else. It’s nice to read about that even when it isn’t great art.

Out of all the novels by Ware that I read, Lying Game is my favorite because it has the breastfeeding mother in it.

The second favorite is The Death of Mrs Westaway because it has extreme poverty, precariousness, and in spite of not being a great artist, Ware treats people who live in poverty and the often dubious choices they make with great tact and non-sappy kindness. Writers have such trouble finding the right tone to depict poverty but Ware does it surprisingly well.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is my least favorite. It’s about a woman who can’t get over a teenage crush, and I’m simply too old for that kind of thing. Fussy, neurotic women fighting over high school sweethearts are not my cup of tea. The novel’s only saving grace is a short appearance of a character who is a mother to a small child and who finds the squabbling neurotic women to be complete idiots.

The Turn of the Key was the first Ware novel I read and I really enjoyed it. There’s this whole surveillance capitalism aspect that I’m into, so it was fun.

The Woman in Cabin 10 was one of the weakest but not as bad as In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Ware knows how to create suspense. She’s good at building a Gothic ambiance. But she’s weak at denouement. The last 30 pages are always the weakest part of her books. So if you read thrillers for the ending, she’s not your author.