The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

"There's a reason why we keep thoughts inside our heads for the most part---they're not safe to be let out in public."

Ruth Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10 found quick success after its publication in 2016. On the heels of other female-driven thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, it seemed like Ware's novel was the next "must-read". Never one to miss out on a book that everyone seems to be reading, I quickly snatched up a copy. As has happened with far too many books on my shelf, The Woman in Cabin 10 sat there, unread, for the next couple of years. I'm on a mission this year to put a dent into my ever-growing "to be read" list, so I decided to finally dust off my copy of Ware's novel and see what all the fuss is about.

Like many of the "girl" books that have come before it, The Woman in Cabin 10 wastes no time in introducing the titular "woman" and the traumatic event that is supposed to shape our sympathy for her. Lo Blacklock's night of drinking ends as she stumbles into her modest apartment. She awakens in the night to find an intruder clad in black and burglarizing her home. After what feels like hours of torture and uncertainty, Lo escapes and is left with unrelenting paranoia and fear.

If the trauma of that night weren't enough, Lo has just had a fight with her longtime boyfriend and is expected to take a cruise for her job as a travel reporter in just a few days. Eager to escape the drama of her personal life and to further her budding journalism career, Lo boards the exclusive ship for its maiden voyage. Little does she know that her escape is about to become the biggest nightmare of her life.

I'll admit that up to this point, I couldn't see what all the hype was about. To this reader, it seemed like Lo's troubles were mostly self-inflicted, and I couldn't really get behind her as a character. Fortunately, Ware took the story in another direction. Lo boards the ship and meets the woman in the cabin next to her. That first night, she is awakened by the noise coming from that same cabin. Lo looks out of her window just in time to see a body being thrust overboard. When Lo runs to cabin 10 to notify her shipmate, she is shocked to find the room empty. In fact, there were no guests booked to stay in the cabin and all passengers and crew are safe and accounted for.

As soon as The Woman in Cabin 10 revealed itself to be a locked room mystery, I was hooked. The impossibility of what Lo witnessed combined with her overt paranoia shrouds the entire novel in suspense that doesn't break until the twist is revealed. Even though I never truly connected with Lo as a character, I found the mystery too intriguing to pass up. Ware takes the conventions established by other similar books and shifts them enough to make The Woman in Cabin 10 stand as its own unique story. I'm certainly happy that I pulled it off my shelf and finally gave it a read.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.
(2019, 10)

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16 Responses to “The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware”

  1. I actually read both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the books, considering they were dark with no likable characters, but the plots were so strong. From your review, it sounds like I would enjoy this one too. I will have to keep it in mind for when I am craving a suspense/thriller/mystery

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    1. This was my least favorite of the three, but I still enjoyed it.

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  2. I've enjoyed all of the books you mentioned in this post! Ruth Ware is one of my favorites. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is another good one. I listened to the audiobook which I really liked.

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    1. I'll have to read some more from her. This was my first one!

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  3. I really like her books Ethan - glad you enjoyed this one as well. And watch for her new one coming in the fall - Turn of the Key.

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    1. I've already added that one to my TBR list!

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  4. Like you, I was ready to cash in the chips when I first started reading Lo's story and I never did warm up to her, but the mystery grabbed me and I had to know. :)
    Yay for getting one more done from off the shelves. I've been doing more of that lately, too.

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    1. It's a never ending process, but I'm definitely making progress on that shelf this year!

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  5. I read this book, too.

    Many reviewers say that THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 is better than Ruth Ware's last book, IN A DARK, DARK
    WOOD. That is true if you don't count the first two thirds of CABIN 10. The last third of that book is, indeed, nailbiting. And that is good enough for most reviewers, I guess.

    All in all, though, I would say that CABIN 10 is about average. If the entire book was as good as the last third, I would give it a four out of five.

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    1. I agree, it definitely kicks things into high gear toward the end. I do think it would have worked better if more of the characters were likable.

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  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, even though you didn't love the MC that much. I really loved this book! I'm a sucker for a good mystery.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I didn't see the twist at the end coming!

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  7. I haven't read anything by her yet but own several of her books, oops. Lots of people seem to have a love hate relationship with her books. I am glad to hear it didn't disappoint you!

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    1. It certainly wasn't my favorite book I've ever read, but I can see why people enjoy her writing. It sounds like some of her other books may be better.

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  8. Thanks for reminding me of the zillion or so books still on my shelf from years ago that need to be read.(lol) Something I enjoy so much is a really good mystery that keeps me guessing and wondering what's going on, and what will happen next. Looks like I'll need to add this on to the pile, adn I love your review! hugs...RO

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    1. I love being sucked into a story to the point that I can't put it down!

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