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Rose Madder

Rose Madder

4.2 215
by Stephen King

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When Rose Daniels sees the drop of blood on the bedsheet, she knows she must escape her marriage and her savage husband before it's too late. But escape is not that easy.How could it be? After all, this is Stephen King-at his most terrifying.


When Rose Daniels sees the drop of blood on the bedsheet, she knows she must escape her marriage and her savage husband before it's too late. But escape is not that easy.How could it be? After all, this is Stephen King-at his most terrifying.

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Rose Madder is rarely dull. It builds to a vivid climax. . . . In Rose Madder Mr. King has a rousing story when he needs one and when he doesn't.
New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Relentlessly paced and brilliantly orchestrated, this cat-and-mouse game of a novel is one of King's most engrossing and topical horror stories. At the center of the action is heroine Rose McClendon, a battered wife who starts life anew by leaving her police officer husband, a consummately cruel man depicted by King as a paragon of evil. Crowded with character and incident, the novel builds to a nearly apocalyptic conclusion that combines the best of King's long novels -- the breadth of vision of The Stand, for example -- with the focused plot and careful psychological portraiture of Dolores Claiborne. The story of Rose's joyous growth from tortured wife (her persecution gruesomely but realistically portrayed) to independent woman alternates with the terrifying details of her husband's deliberate pursuit to create unflagging tension. The book is a phantasmagorical roller-coaster ride, peopled by a broad array of indelibly characterized men and women and fueled by an air of danger that is immediate and overwhelming.
School Library Journal
YA -- King moves from supernaturally frightful subjects into the real world of terror. This heroine has been systematically abused (mentally, physically, and sexually) for 14 years of marriage. As the book begins, Rose is finally escaping her husband, a truly psychotic cop, and is starting a new life in another city. The suspense comes from wondering when he will finally catch up with her and talk to her ``up real close,'' his verbal prelude to physical punishment for every perceived wrongdoing. The book is full of graphic language and acts and may be all too real for some YAs. But those readers who have enjoyed King's past books will not be disappointed by this one. Though he doesn't frighten, he does create tension in the chase, demonstrating just how mad this husband is. As the final conflict occurs, though, the author emphasizes the strength one can find in oneself by having Rose (with the aid of a painting that comes to life) vanquish Norman herself. Unfortunately, very few victims of abuse in today's world have access to supernatural paintings.
Ray Olson
One gift that distinguishes King from other horror writers is his knack for and dedication to creating convincing female protagonists who are more than stock damsels in distress, like feisty Dolores Claiborne in the novel, arguably King's best, that bears her name, or this book's Rose McClendon Daniels. Rose is the abused wife of sadistic cop Norman Daniels. We meet her in a typical King grab-'em-and-shock-'em prologue, just as she's beginning to suffer a miscarriage brought on by Norman's latest beating. The main action begins when Rose finally walks out of the 14-year hell of her marriage. Dazed and ignorant of the regular world, she finds a battered women's shelter 800 miles from home, starts an independent life, and even meets a decent man, a pawn shop operator from whom she buys a strange painting. Of course, Norman, gone -- as a King character might say -- round the bend and ballistic, is tracking her down, maiming and murdering every informer and obstructor he can along the way. The expected bloody showdown climaxes the yarn, but not until King invokes the supernatural -- the painting, of course, and its inhabitant, whom Rose dubs "Rose Madder" to help his heroine. This time, the tactic seems strained and unnecessary; Dolores Claiborne needed only a dash of the uncanny to get out of her predicament, and Rose McClendon, bolstered by her shelter cohort, seems equal to Norman without the assistance of weird artwork. That judgment, however, is something with which King's millions of readers will want to concur or dissent after their own reading.
"Riveting, engrossing...packed with suspense."
Washington Post
"An eerie, remarkably mature and moving novel."
Miami Herald
"Breathlessly paced suspense and terror...horrific thrills....It's King's best!"
Houston Chronicle
"Vivid, startling...a compelling page-turner."
New York Times
"Rousing...vivid and sensitive."
Baltimore Sun
"Stephen King is a marvelous writer. His style crackles. His storyline skitters along, pausing for the kaboom, then moves to the next terror. His imagination is beyond the edge."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A taut thriller-novel...about as good as they come."

Product Details

San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:

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Rose Madder

  • Meet the Author

    Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy—Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel), Finders Keepers, and End of Watch; the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams; Revival; Doctor Sleep; and Under the Dome. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic series, The Dark Tower, is the basis for a major motion picture from Sony. He is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

    Brief Biography

    Bangor, Maine
    Date of Birth:
    September 21, 1947
    Place of Birth:
    Portland, Maine
    B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

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    Rose Madder 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 215 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read this book when it first came out and just loved it the first time. This book is something that you don't want to put it down. Years later and here I am reading this book again and still love it. If you like Stephen King books with some twisting stories to get your imagination going, then this is the book I would recommend.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book takes you to a different place as all Kings books do. While still having you rooted in a real womans issue with abuse and finding strength from within.
    Rhonda Herring More than 1 year ago
    My favorite King novel. Read the paperback 10 times, and purchased a copy for my NookColor. Love it!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I read this book many years ago and is the one book that has remained vividly in my memory. Stephen King is my favorite author. I wans't an avid reader until I ready one of his books then I was hooked. Rose Madder is by far the best fictional book I have ever read. Thats why he is the King.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was my first stephen king book and i loved it (: it was a bit long but i got into it on the 1st page. I wish that he woild have kept it non supernatural especially at the end but hey thats king for ya. I did however enjoy reading and getting into the mind of norman. I would recommend this book
    Sissy56RB More than 1 year ago
    As usual, the only bad thing was, I read it and finished it too quickly. Great Stephen King. You won't be disappointed. Loved it.
    Marla-Singer More than 1 year ago
    The best book I ever read. Like reading a movie
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really like the adaptations of the old mythos in here. A lot of times, King can put me to sleep and I find his dialogue shoddy. This is my ultimate favorite Stephen King book and one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. The mystical supernatural stuff seems more toned down in this one than in others (though still present in abundance). Definitely recommend.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great King story.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    But had trouble getting through this one.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This books is a book that i read around 14 i forgot what it was called for a while but ill never forget what it was about. This book is so creative.i love it def. Check it out
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read this book my senior year of high school, have to say it was the first book by Stephen King I'd read. Its capitivating, thrilling and escapism.I give this book also 10/10 for its intrigueness.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This is my favorite work by Mr. King. He sends you deep into the psyche of the main character and you can't help but hold breath as you turn each page. However it is certainly not for everyone, as it hit very close to home for me. If you think you can handle the realities of abuse, fear and strength, I suggest you add this to your collection.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I couldn't read this book at night, that's how scary it was. there's just something so freakishly real about this story. That you could actually believe somewhere out there there is really someone like Rosie and Norman. Stephen King really did a good job of portraying Rosie McClendon and Norman even though the part about Norman chewing up some of Rosie's friends was yuck! I was a little bit confused at the end, but for the most part it was very well written. Bravo!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a very good book
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