Title: The Woman in Cabin Ten
Author: Ruth Ware
Page Count: 340 pages
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Tone: Menacing, Uncertain, Tense
Summary: An intruder in the middle of the night leaves Lo Blacklock feeling vulnerable. Trying to shake off her fears, she hopes her big break of covering the maiden voyage of the luxury cruise ship, the Aurora, will help. The first night of the voyage changes everything. What did she really see in the water and who was the woman in the cabin next door? The claustrophobic feeling of being on a ship and the twists and turns of who, and what, makes it difficult to know what to believe.
SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.
The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement: 2018 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.
1. The book starts with a prologue, “In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depth of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.” How did this set the tone of the book for you?
- 2. The story dives right in. Chapter 1, as we are introduced to the books’ protagonist, Lo Blacklock; we are immediately thrust into a home invasion. It was a short chapter but a lot happens. How did this opening feel to you?
3. Did you have any initial opinions of Lo?
4. We go from Lo’s apartment being broken into, to the scene in Jude’s flat where Lo accidentally knocks out Jude’s tooth. Let’s talk about this and their relationship?
5. What were your initial impressions of Jude?
6. Lo goes on the cruise. Do you think she should have gone? What did you think of the ship?
7. Lo wakes up at 3am. “Something had woken me up. Something that left me jumpy and strung out as a meth addict. Why did I keep thinking of a scream?” She picked up her book and then heard something else, “something that barely registered above the sound of the engine and the slap of the waves, a sound so soft that the scrap of a paper against paper almost drowned it out. It was the noise of the veranda door in the next cabin sliding gently open.” She believed that she heard the splash made by a body hitting water. What did you think?
8. What did you think about Lo’s interaction with the ships security Johann Nilsson?
9. We start to see emails/texts from Jude wondering if anyone has heard from Lo. How did this affect the story for you?
10. The morning after “the murder,” Lo checks out the entire staff of the ship looking for the woman she saw in Cabin 10. She told the staff that she heard a scream and then felt the mention of the scream had been a mistake; she felt “the staff had closed ranks.” What do you think of that? Did you think the staff was hiding something?
11. No staff seemed to be missing, no passengers were missing, and Lo’s career could be on the line. Why do you think she pursued her line of inquiry? Would you?
12. As the story continues, it is clear that Nillsen seemed to doubt Lo’s suspicions of foul play. Thoughts?
13. Lo approached Lord Richard Bullmer about her belief of a possible murder. Did you think this was a good idea? Let’s talk about their interaction.
14. Ben Howard, Lo’s ex-boyfriend, becomes an important character in the book. What did you think about him?
15. In the middle of the book, the prologue comes into play. Lo goes to the spa and gets a mud wrap, as she goes into the shower, she sees written across the steam mirror the words “stop digging” and on the very next page, we read that Lo’s body was found by a Danish Fisherman. Where did the story go for you at this point?
16. Lo asked Karla (her cabin attendant) if she knew anything. Karla said she felt sorry for Lo and that Nillson thinks she is paranoid. Karla proceeds to tell Lo that the staff all needed their jobs and that she (Karla) has a son. “Just because perhaps someone let a friend use an empty cabin, that doesn’t mean she was killed, you know” and Lo shouldn’t “make trouble if nothing happened.” What did you think about this conversation?
17. Ernst Solberg was an investor who was supposed to be in Cabin 10, we find out that he was not on the cruise because his home was burglarized & his passport was stolen. Was this related to Lo’s break in?
18. There is an online “Whodunit” thread discussing Lo’s disappearance. What did you think about that?
19. Lo sees the girl from Cabin 10 outside her door and goes after her. Lo is then “kidnapped.” By this time, did you have your list of suspects? Who did you think was the Woman in Cabin 10?
20. Lo starts pumping her kidnapper for information. The kidnapper said, “You’re digging your grave, do you get that?” What did you think of Lo at this point?
21. What was your opinion of Carrie?
22. By the end of the book, what did you think of Lo?
23. Lo is home with Judah. They are in bed and she starts crying. Lo says “I can’t stop thinking of her, I can’t accept it, it’s all wrong.” Let’s talk about this.
24. Why do you think Lo had such a hard time accepting what happened to Lord Bullmer?
25. Why do you think Lo had a change of heart at the end of the novel and decided to move to New York?
- 26. What did you think of the last page of the novel, a deposit of 40,000 Swiss Franc went into Lo’s account with the reference “Tigger’s Bounce?”
- 27. Were there unanswered questions in the plot? If so, what wasn’t covered or finalized in the ending?
- 28. How effective were the email messages and articles in moving the story forward?
29. What did you think of Ruth Ware’s writing style? Were there any passages that struck you?
- 30. How would you describe the book?
- 31. What do you think of the following statement?: “We mostly don’t believe women, especially angry women.” (A 2015 study from Arizona State University that focused on jury reactions showed how angry men gain influence while angry women lose it.)
32. Would this have been a different read if it had been a male protagonist?
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