. . . we all have demons inside us, voices that whisper we’re not good, that if we don’t make this promotion or ace that exam we’ll reveal to the world exactly what kind of worthless sack of skin and sinew we really are. Maybe that’s true. Maybe mine have just have louder voices.
—The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Lo (short for Laura) is having a pretty good run. She’s got a great boyfriend, and her editor has decided that Lo should take her space on a press excursion for a new exclusive, luxury cruise line, giving her a chance to prove that Lo’s worthy to fill in while the editor takes maternity leave.
But when’s her apartment is robbed while she’s home and then a fight with her boyfriend set her teeth on edge just before the cruise. When she arrives on the luxurious boat, she’s amazed at the opulence of the ship and its handful of exclusive cabins. When the door closes, though, she’s still in a little room at sea, stuck with her fears and worries.
And no mascara.
Hearing noises next door, she braves the outside to ask her neighbor if she has any mascara she can borrow for the formal dinner. She does. Then, at dinner, her neighbor is nowhere to be seen. Feeling anxious and out of place, Lo drinks a little too much, and returns to her room for a good night’s sleep.
But the sleep is interrupted by scuffles from next door. Peeking out of the her window onto the shared balcony, she watches as a woman is thrown overboard, and then spots a smear of blood on the window.
After reporting the crime, she’s told that no passengers are missing and no one was staying in the cabin next door. No woman with extra mascara. No one is missing from the ship. The ship continues on, sailing through the beautiful Fjords, ignoring Lo’s claims that someone is dead, and that something has gone horribly wrong on this luxury cruise.
BUT I was worried; Almost every book I’ve been psyched about this summer has been a disappointment.
I needn’t have worried. This was really, really good.
I started reading this at home, and finished it on my trip to Colorado, reading a good portion of it in a strange hotel in Des Moines (the hotel itself wasn’t strange, it was a Fairfield Inn, so it was pretty much as expected — although the fact that it WAS so much like every other Fairfield Inn makes it creepy). So, it was kind of like a cabin on a cruise ship. Enough that I was a little freaked out as I fell asleep. Just a little. Because Lo was a little freaked out.
Ware does a great job of summoning her inner Agatha Christie, creating a story that conjures old world grandeur (but with new world touches) and a cast of characters that are all VERY suspicious. I was vaulted back in time to my younger years and my first readings of Christie, which I’m sure created my love of good mysteries.
Lo was the perfect protagonist, a character that neither she nor the reader believe is reliable. She’s coming off of a harrowing experience of a home robbery while she was there, she drinks too much, and we learn in the book that she’s dealt with some depression and anxiety before. I found myself wondering about her, unsure whether she really saw the whole thing.
The story’s structure is incredibly interesting, adding to the building intrigue. Each chapter opens up with news from home about Lo, and I was unsure as to whether it happened at the same time as the cruise or in the future. You kind of get an idea, anyway, of what’s happening off the cruise ship, and that REALLY builds the suspense.
I loved The Woman in Cabin 10. It was a fun, intriguing read, easy to fall into in the best way. A great read for a rainy weekend, or a beach weekend, or any kind of weekend. You won’t want to put it down!
4.5 stars. LOVE!!!