I finally had the extreme pleasure of reading The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. You may remember her name from my previous review of her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood. This thriller was the perfect follow-up to last summer’s hit novel offering the same fantastic suspense with some previous story flaws smoothed out nicely. This improvement shows Ware’s growing skills as an author. This development isn’t a surprise given her obvious talent.
The Woman in Cabin 10 follows the story of a journalist in charge of reviewing the maiden voyage of the boutique-style luxury cruise liner, the Aurora Borealis. The journalist– Lo– witnesses a murder outside her cabin late during the first night of the voyage. This experience occurs when she’s in the throes of PTSD from a recent burglary and self-medicating with alcohol. When Lo is told that the individual she believes was murdered was never on the cruise to begin with, she (and her fellow cruisers) begin to question Lo’s fragile mental state.
The book has the overall feel of a classic whodunnit, with the easy readability of a summer beach book. The plot twist and exponentially growing mystery aboard the Aurora Borealis is magnetizing and frustrating in the best way possible. Throughout the course of the novel, readers will have a hard time deciding what is fact and what’s a manifestation of Lo’s imagination.
In addition to the engaging subject matter, there is a deeper message about mental illness in The Woman in Cabin 10. We witness Lo struggle with her obvious yet undiagnosed PTSD. This in conjunction with her history of depression– for which she takes medication– results in repeated alienation and disbelief from her peers. While this aspect of Lo’s life is used as a smart foundation to build the overall plot, it creates some interesting perspectives on the stigma towards those with mental illness.
Long story short, The Woman in Cabin 10 is a whirlwind of suspense and mystery. For a quick and entertaining read, I highly recommend you check it out!