– By Soul Sword-
The Woman In Cabin 10 is a book that I picked up because of the tagline on the book cover that read, ” How do you stop a killer when no one believes they exist? “. As this was my first time reading Ruth Ware’s work, I did not know what to expect from it; but in the end, I am glad that I purchased it.
The story is written in a first-person narrative style. The book starts off with Lo Blacklock (the protagonist) waking up from a nightmare, only to find out that she is being burgled. In the morning, she reports the incident to the police before heading off to Velocity, the travel magazine for which she works as a journalist. She accepts her next assignment where she has to spend a week on a ten cabin cruise liner, The Aurora. She also has a Squabble with her boyfriend Judah before she leaves for the cruise to the Northern Lights. Once aboard The Aurora heading into the North Sea, Lo is shown to Cabin 9, where she gets ready for the get-together later in the evening. She borrows a mascara tube from the woman in Cabin 10 as she had lost hers to the burglary earlier.
At this point, we are introduced to the secondary characters in the novel like Richard Bulmer (the director of Northern Lights company) and his wife Anne Bulmer, Ben (Lo’s ex-boyfriend), Lederer (a wildlife photographer) and Tina (a senior journalist). Later that night when she is in bed, she hears Cabin 10’s balcony door slide open followed by a big splash. She goes to the private balcony to inspect and finds blood on cabin 10’s balcony. Alarmed at her finding, she alerts the security and narrates the incident to them. She learns from them that Cabin 10 has been empty and there was no one in there, to begin with. What follows is, her varied attempts to prove the existence of the woman in Cabin 10 and the mystery surrounding her disappearance.
Lo Blacklock comes across as a timid and passive woman whose demented behaviour makes the other characters regard her sceptically whenever she tries to get a point across. This is the first time I have read a book where the protagonist is portrayed as an unheroic and self-effacing person. One of the reasons that kept me hooked to the book was the Ruth Ware’s realistic depiction of people’s attitude towards a person on antidepressants. Lo takes antidepressants for her anxiety attacks and once the others come to know about it, they easily write off all her pieces of evidence and pin it on the medications. She finds it extremely difficult to convince anyone because of this reason.
Judah, on the other hand, is an empathetic person who gives a matured behaviour in any given situation throughout the novel. He is shown as an affectionate and concerned partner who keeps trying to contact Lo despite her impertinent behaviour towards him.
The novel is written in a simple language and is easy to understand. It is an average paced novel with a detailed description of almost every scene. Some of the scenes are really well written and send a chill down the spine and create a mysterious setting to the story. There is a long list of secondary characters who are all shady in nature and are probable suspects, which make it difficult for the reader to follow. The scenes where Lo has her anxiety attacks are well written and at certain points, the reader starts doubting himself in trying to differentiate between reality and her illusions. I also liked how the author has used the internet tools like emails and social media posts to keep the reader in pace with what was going on with Lo’s family and friends while she was in the cruise liner. I liked how the mystery was solved and the satisfactory ending that followed.
After finishing the book I can kind of understand why Ruth Ware has portrayed Lo in the manner in which she was and so I would give The Woman In Cabin 10 a rating of 3.8/5.
If you would like to purchase a copy you can buy it from here.