Ruth Ware is an incredibly talented British author who specializes in making some of the most well-regarded thriller stories, and she has only been published since 2015. This 2015 debut was incredibly successful and has made a constant presence in book charts making her a recognizable name.
She has been active for 7 years since then and has released a book almost annually with 7 full-length stories as well as a story collection, and with her consistent success, she is not showing any signs that her pace will slow down.
So, if you are looking to read any of Ruth Ware’s stories, but you have no idea where to start, then this guide will go through all of her books in the best order we think you should read them in.
If you are a fan of tension that will keep you turning the pages, and plot twists that will keep you invested, then you will not want to miss any of Ware’s stories.
About Ruth Ware Books
This guide will go through all of Ruth Ware’s stories that she has published since 2015, and as well as putting them in the best order we think there is to read them in, we will also go over some details of the stories and how we think you will like them.
While we recommend reading Ware’s stories in the order listed here, Ware specializes in stories that are standalone and not part of an extended multi-book narrative. Because of this, we think you will enjoy reading them in whatever order you want.
So, whether you read Ruth Ware’s stories in order of release, or however you want, you are sure to have a great time!
Ruth Ware Books In Order
As mentioned in the previous section, Ruth Ware’s stories are all standalone, so you can read them in any order, but we would recommend reading the 7 full-length books in order, and then the recent short story after this. We will go over the stories in this order, so keep reading to get a synopsis of each.
In A Dark, Dark Wood (2015)
Ruth Ware’s incredibly successful debut is titled In a Dark, Dark Wood and it made a massive impact upon release. It was her first story to become a New York Times Best Seller, and it also achieved her the Book of the Year award from NPR.
It was also in Publishers Weekly’s top 10 mysteries and thrillers, as well as Buzzfeed’s summer books to get excited about. This story takes place in the English countryside and follows a small group of friends who have joined in the woods to have fun over the weekend.
Our main character is Nora who is usually more reclusive and would prefer to stay home instead, however, she reluctantly decided to join hoping that the change of scenery would give her a change of pace.
However, when darkness falls and some secrets begin to spread, more unsettling memories instead rise to attention. All of this combined with Nora’s growing realization that they are not the only people in the dark woods.
- This story does a perfect job of getting you accustomed to Ware’s writing style and will get you hooked immediately.
- The intense tone of Ware’s writing will either be enjoyable or not your thing.
The Woman In Cabin 10 (2016)
The second novel by Ruth Ware managed to gain just as much attention on an international scale as the first. It was just as highly critically acclaimed as the first and quickly made it to the New York Times Bestseller list.
It was also praised by the Washington Post as one of the best thrillers of the year. This follow-up follows a travel journalist called Lo Blacklock who is in a state of feeling constantly exposed after a traumatizing burglary.
However, she is given the chance to join an all-expense paid luxury cruise with the chance to see the Northern Lights, so she takes it as a chance to recover from her experience.
The ship is amazing and every Lo has dreamed of, and she hopes it will give her the peace she desperately needed. However, in the middle of a dark night, she is awoken by awful screams from the room next to hers.
When looking through the window she sees a body silently fall into the ocean below. But when she goes to raise the alarm she is surprised to find that according to records, the cabin has supposedly been empty the whole time. But, she knows what she saw, and she is sure there is a killer onboard.
- The cruise ship setting is perfect for Ware’s style of writing and makes this an engaging read.
- The plot can take a little while to get going.
The Lying Game (2017)
Ware’s third story was described by Heat Magazine as ‘another heart-stopping belter of a thriller from an epic talent’ and after reading it we can not help but agree.
We are following a new mother called Isa, and in the middle of the night she receives an unwelcome text just saying ‘I need you’.
This leads her to without hesitation pack up her life and move to the marshes in Salten which is where she lived for a significant portion of her youth. Her life was spent in an isolated school and it used to be pretty dull, or at least started that way.
However, Isa with three of her closest friends created the titular Lying Game, and this spiced things up. However, the rules of this game eventually got pushed too far and all of the girls had to keep an awful secret hidden.
But now after almost 20 years, the secret has arisen and they need to keep it under control.
- Unique approach compared to previous stories makes it a refreshing read.
- Change of pace might be unwelcome if you preferred the previous style.
The Death Of Mrs. Westaway (2018)
In Ruth Ware’s fourth published story, we follow Harrier Westaway who is more commonly referred to as Hal, and she is a fortune teller who needs cash fast.
Then, all of a sudden, she gets a letter that tells her about a massive inheritance that she will receive from her grandmother, a grandmother that she did not even know existed beforehand.
She feels like this is the gift she has been waiting for, but deep down she can not help but shake the feeling that there is a mistake.
For example, she knows that her actual grandmother had passed away more than 20 years in the past, so Mrs. Westaway who is leaving her inheritance might not have any connection to Hal at all.
But, thoughts like this are easy to ignore when you have unpaid bills, are running out of food, and loan sharks chasing you down, so this feels like the only option for her.
So, she follows the version of the truth she is being offered, but this of course starts to descend into a web of lies that will be harder and harder to escape.
While this premise might not be as tense as her previous works, once you get lost in Ware’s writing, you will not be able to escape until you are finished!
- The character of Hal is incredibly fun to follow and a relatable hero.
- The plot does take a while to warm up.
The Turn Of The Key (2019)
This fifth title from Ruth Ware earned her the thriller of the month from Waterstones in the UK, and it led to her being given the title of the Agatha Christie of the modern age.
We are following a younger woman called Rowan in The Turn of the Key and she is thoroughly tired of her time spent working in a daycare. But, this changes when she finds an advert for a position to work as a nanny living with her clients.
She applies quickly and is surprised when she is offered the job and gets a significant pay upgrade from her previous position. She is not going to be caring for 4 young children who live in the Scottish Highlands.
Furthermore, she is living in the amazing Heatherbrae House which is full of high tech and seemingly the perfect place to work. However, soon after starting Rowan starts to understand that there is something a little wrong with the home she is working in.
Like, the cameras which are following her, and wondering why the 4 nannies that worked before her quit so suddenly, the last so quickly that they left all of their belongings.
This dream job seems to be a bit more than Rowan initially thought they were signing up for.
- Slowly learning about the house makes the setting of this story a fun one to read.
- It might take a while to get attached to Rowan as a protagonist.
One By One (2020)
This incredibly suspenseful story from ware was a shortlist option for the 2021 Steel Dagger award and it was praised as being one of the best thrillers released in the previous year.
This is a more contemporary take on the classic who-done-it story with this taking part in a tech start-up. The company is called Snoop, and they have been offered an amazing opportunity that will make them even richer than they could ever imagine.
They have a new app that is taking over the world and they have the chance for a billion-dollar buyout. Because of this possibility, eight of the shareholders and directors go to a luxe Alpine resort for skiing called Saint Antoine to discuss the move.
However, there are a lot of split opinions with so much at stake, and it does not help that the deadline is getting closer and closer making the tension get higher and higher.
Things get worse when the snowfall gets more and more intense leading to an eventual avalanche which leads to all communications being cut off. And this of course takes a deadly turn, but who is willing to kill to get their way?
- This classic trope is timeless for a reason and this modern spin from Ware is a joy to read.
- If you are good at picking up on clues, you could quite easily spoil yourself.
The It Girl (2022)
The newest Ruth Ware story has been well received for a reason and almost everyone who reads it falls in love. We are following Hannah Jones who is pregnant and receives a visit from a journalist who starts to uncover her dark past.
Hannah and her husband went on a studying trip when a member of their friendship group, April, got killed. The one convicted may have not actually been the one to commit the crime, so what will be uncovered?
- The storytelling style switching from past to present keeps this one fresh.
- Some of the characters can be grating to read.
Snowflakes (Hush Collection) (2020)
For a bonus, there is also the Snowflakes Hush Collection which is a short story collection that was written by Ruth Ware. If you are a fan of her previous works, we definitely recommend reading these in your free time!
- If you want to try some more bite-sized Ware stories this is a great idea.
- Lacks the depth of her longer works.
Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information you need about Ruth Ware’s amazing library of work!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Ruth Ware Book?
Currently, the highest ranking story of Ruth Ware’s on GoodReads is her newest The IT Girl however, this could be due to recency bias and the reviews not balancing out.
The book has a score of 3.97 out of 5, but even her lowest scoring book The Lying Game has a 3.54 showing her consistent quality of writing.