The Dark Rose: A Novel

The Dark Rose: A Novel

4.2 8
by Erin Kelly

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"A stunning look at human desperation, loyalty, and absolute terror" (Suspense Magazine) from the acclaimed author of The Poison Tree

When Erin Kelly burst onto the scene with The Poison Tree, readers were left breathless and hungry for more. Maureen Corrigan at the Washington Post pleaded, "More, please, Ms.

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"A stunning look at human desperation, loyalty, and absolute terror" (Suspense Magazine) from the acclaimed author of The Poison Tree

When Erin Kelly burst onto the scene with The Poison Tree, readers were left breathless and hungry for more. Maureen Corrigan at the Washington Post pleaded, "More, please, Ms. Kelly! Quickly!" A story of secrets and guilt, The Dark Rose is a mesmerizing follow-up that's every bit as chilling and atmospheric as her acclaimed debut.

Nineteen-year-old Paul sits in a stark interrogation room across from two police officers. What started as petty theft turned into murder; only terror and loyalty keep him silent. Louisa spends her days roaming a crumbling Elizabethan garden—until she meets Paul, who is a dead ringer for her long-lost love. Louisa starts to hope she can find happiness again, but neither of them can outrun his violent past.

Editorial Reviews

O: The Oprah Magazine
“Everything we love in a thriller—obsessive passion, haunting secrets, a shocking ending—is here, set among the creepily atmospheric ruins of a 16th century English garden.”
The Washington Post
“Kelly gives readers a compelling creeper that intelligently invokes the conventions of the Gothic and plays within the doom-laden confines of the voice-over. More please, Ms. Kelly! Quickly!”
USA Today
“There is a brooding sense of impending doom and imminent danger. . . . [T]he explosive ending, its revelations about the threesome and the lengths to which people will go to preserve or take what's theirs, makes The Poison Tree a rich and satisfying pleasure.”
Suspense Magazine
“Erin Kelly has delivered a stunning look at human desperation, loyalty, and absolute terror. . . . First class writing that is absolutely captivating!”
Publishers Weekly
British author Kelly follows her powerful debut, The Poison Tree (2011), with another stunning novel of psychological suspense. When Paul Seaforth meets garden designer Louisa Trevelyan at a garden restoration site in Warwickshire, where the authorities have sent him for safety until he can testify against a friend at a murder trial, Louisa reacts to him with shock. Paul resembles Adam Glasslake, a charismatic musician with whom she was once violently obsessed. Paul, who later becomes Louisa’s secret lover, hopes to give her closure by discovering Adam’s fate, but his plans explode when his own past finds him. The title, which alludes to the way a new rose won’t bloom where an old one has died, perfectly evokes the story’s theme: unhealed damage inevitably stunts fresh growth. With its rich intertwining of viewpoints and time frames, its nuances of character and class, its sustained suspense and its gothic/contemporary fusion, this harrowing novel is a work of true talent. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta. (Feb.)
Library Journal
By day Louisa is a gardener who restores historic gardens. Yet she also harbors a secret obsession for her ex-lover, often wearing his scent and drinking his favorite whiskey. Nineteen-year-old Paul, a dead ringer for Louisa's ex, hides out assisting with her garden after agreeing to testify against a friend in court. Paul and Louisa, who is two decades older, begin an affair while grappling with questions of guilt and loyalty as flashbacks reveal further secrets. VERDICT Kelly's follow-up to her debut, The Poison Tree, is a dark, oddly intriguing read about the powers of obsession and the lines that separate the guilty from the innocent. Though many of the "surprising" details that come to light are rather predictable, readers will stick it out to the shocking conclusion to learn how culpable Louisa and Paul are for past incidents. Recommended wherever The Poison Tree is popular. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/11.]—Katie Lawrence, Chicago
Kirkus Reviews
A second novel from British journalist Kelly (The Poison Tree, 2011). Young Louisa Trevelyan was a Goth girl who frustrated her upper-class parents. With no thoughts of moving on to college, Louisa came and went as she pleased, working in a stall at Kensington Market selling aromatic oils, drinking and sneaking a different guy into her room (which is set off from the main house) each night. Then she meets Adam, the beautiful lead singer for a group known as Glasslake. Louisa is immediately captivated by the sexy bad boy who keeps his past hidden and is devastated by their arguments and his flirtatious nature. Kelly weaves in the tale of Paul Seaforth, a young man who loses his father at an early age to a terrible accident. The chapters, which span a 20-year range, tell the back stories simultaneously while chronicling the characters' lives in 2009, when both are working to reconstruct a heritage garden. Paul, who has an uncanny resemblance to Adam, is preparing to go to court and testify against his former best friend, a man who has been both his protector and burden. The author is a careful chronicler, but the earlier chapters are somewhat confusing and not as engaging as they could be, particularly when she delves into horticultural minutiae. The pace picks up about a third of the way through, and that's where the characters turn engaging, if not always sympathetic. A solid psychological thriller that provides readers with a harrowing look into the violent pasts of a pair of characters who have everything to lose and know it.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Erin Kelly is the author of the acclaimed thrillers The Poison Tree, The Dark Rose, and The Burning Air.  She has worked as a freelance journalist for such publications as The Sunday Times (London) and the Sunday Telegraph (London), as well as for Glamour (U.K.) and Elle (U.K.) magazines.  She lives in North London with her family.

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