Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Release Date: June 30, 2016
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Pages: 340 pages
See it in GoodReads

GoodReads Description: “In this tightly wound story, 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. 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 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…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.”

I read this book on a whim with little to no background on it.  I was going to read Ruth Ware’s debut In a Dark, Dark Wood, but I found this one instead.  When I began reading, I literally thought that the “cabin” referred to a cabin in the woods rather than a cabin on a cruise ship!  Whoops!

I rated this book 4 stars on GoodReads because “I really liked it!” I acknowledge that there were some things that grated on me, but over all it was a book that kept me hooked and wanting to read thus the 4 stars. 

First what I liked about it:
I really enjoyed the writing style!  It was very casual and I thought that Ware was funny and she kept me guessing from beginning to end!  I loved that the book was in a closed off place (the cruise-liner) with a limited number of people that could be the perpetrator.  It reminded me of the game of Clue or Murder on the Orient Express.  And I suspected each of the prominent characters in turn – which I also loved!  I loved that every time new evidence was presented, I would change who I thought did it.  I was happy I couldn’t pin it down from the start.  That is one of my favorite things about a book!  Another of my favorite things is when a book has a psychological factor – I am a Psych major after all!  The Woman in Cabin 10 had that as well!  Lo, the main character has pretty severe anxiety and at the beginning of the book she suffers a break-in and she exhibits signs of PTSD as well.  The author used these things – as well as Lo’s excessive drinking – to make Lo seem unreliable.  There were times when I thought she was actually just totally losing it and imagining the whole thing!  Was it him?  Was it her?  Not it was him!  Wait, did it happen at all?  Yes it did – wait no maybe not…

There were also a couple times where a plot twist was thrown in that completely caught me off guard!  I love to be surprised!  And a lot of times when a book has been described as “dark and twisty” I am watching for that plot twist and I can figure out what it’s going to be.  There was especially one in this book that just threw me for a loop!  Yay! 

I also liked the little snippets of e-mails and news stories that were thrown in from the future.  They really intrigued me and sometimes threw me off the scent!

Some things I didn’t like so much were:
At the beginning of the book, Lo is burglarized while she is asleep in her flat.  A lot of reviews I’ve read said they didn’t like the beginning of the book, but for me I thought the burglary was absolutely terrifying!  The latex gloves… The fact that she wakes up and her door is closed and she knows something’s wrong… *shudders*  As I lay in bed that night I thought, If I wake up and my door’s closed I am ignoring it and pulling my covers over my head!  But while the break-in is used later on in the story it isn’t a major part of the plot.  At one point it is mentioned that a man who was supposed to be aboard the ship was burglarized as well and I thought – Oh my gosh!  It’s all tied in!  The burglar has something to do with whatever happened on the boat!  …And then it didn’t.  And that was a bit of a let down for me. 

Another thing I didn’t like so much was Lo’s drinking and that it wasn’t really addressed.  It wasn’t even just because of all the things she is going through because the book opens with her having drunk too much.  I’m not a drinker (my idea of a party involves books and coffee! Who’s with me??) so I’m sitting here like maybe she should talk to her doctor about her drinking also… Then when Ben basically sexually harasses – if not sexually assaults her and it’s completely brushed over… seriously?  That’s ok?  I don’t know if Judah would have thought it was ok.  My husband definitely wouldn’t. 

Finally, a lot of people have said that it is reminiscent of The Girl on the Train.  It definitely is – there are things about it that are similar, such as the main character being unreliable and the psychological issues.  However, I felt like the plot did not follow the same line and that it ended very differently.  So it didn’t bother me.  Then again I loved The Girl on the Train! 

All things considered, I would recommend this book!  In fact, I already did to my mom and sister!  The most important thing to me in a book is readability and for the book to keep me interested.  This book did that.  I didn’t always like Lo, but I understood her and could relate to her in some ways.  But most of all, I loved the way the book kept me guessing in a classic whodunit kind of way! 

I recommend it to people who like mystery and suspense – and don’t mind the F word!  Haha.

 Some favorite quotes:

“For a travel journalist I’m worryingly bad at geography.”

“’Um,’ I said, distinguishing myself with witty repartee.”

“I know what it's like. Don't you see? I know what she must have felt like, when someone came for her in the middle of the night. That's why I have to find out who did this to her.”

“I love ports. I love the smell of tar and sea air, and the scream of the gulls. Maybe it's years of taking the ferry to France for summer holidays, but a harbor gives me a feeling of freedom in a way that an airport never does. Airports say work and security checks and delays. Ports say... I don't know. Something completely different. Escape, maybe.” 

“Its size, along with the perfection of its paintwork, gave it a curiously toylike quality, and as I stepped onto the narrow steel gangway I had a sudden disorienting image of the Aurora as a ship imprisoned in a bottle – tiny, perfect, isolated, and unreal – and of myself, shrinking down to match it with every step I took towards the boat.”