Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel

Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel

by Diana Peterfreund


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385340038
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/26/2007
Series: Ivy League Series
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.84(d)

About the Author

Diana Peterfreund is the author of Secret Society Girl, Under the Rose, Rites of Spring (Break), and Tap & Gown, among other novels. She graduated from Yale University in 2001 with degrees in geology and literature. A former food critic, she now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and writes full-time.

Read an Excerpt

I hereby confess: We aren’t like other college students.

1. Stragglers

It was shopping period at Eli University, and lest you think this is one of those books about fashion, let me enlighten you. The students at Eli were not shopping for Prada, but for Proust; they weren’t hunting for good bargains, but rather, for gut classes; and they would happily surrender Fendi at forty percent off to secure a Fractals section that wasn’t all the way up on Science Hill.

As a senior, I found this shopping period especially poignant. It was my penultimate chance to discover the hidden gem seminar, the one I’d look back on in the cold, post-Eli future as being one of those bright college days the song* speaks of. My last chance, in many cases, to take the famous lectures given by the college’s most notorious luminaries.

“What? You didn’t take Herbert Branch’s Shakespeare class?” future employers will say with incredulity. “Why, Amy Haskel, what were you doing there at Eli?”

And I will not be able to tell them, because I swore an oath never to reveal the truth: that while other Literature majors were shopping the Branch class, I was crouching in the shadows on a cold stone floor, garbed in a long black hooded robe and a skull-shaped mask, rehearsing an esoteric initiation ritual that required me to lie in wait for an innocent classmate to wander by so I could leap out, pelt his face with phosphorescent dust, and yell “Boo.”

As if I’d admit to something like that anyway.

“Hey, Lil’ Demon!” I called down the stairs. “I sort of wanted to shop a seminar this afternoon, so can we non-speaking parts adjourn for the day?”

Keyser Soze, a.k.a. Joshua Silver, popped up from behind a tower of human remains. “The Branch class? I wanted to take that, too.” Figures. Branch was a brand-name professor at Eli, and it would suit Josh’s political aspirations to add the scholar’s reputation to his C.V.

Lil’ Demon, currently levitating over a pool of blood, raised one perfectly plucked eyebrow and blew a strand of chestnut brown hair (she’d had it dyed over the summer) out of her eyes. “I should have gone union,” she said with a sniff. “You people just don’t understand show business.”

(By the way, that thing in Us Weekly about Lil’ Demon over the Fourth of July weekend is categorically untrue. Odile Dumas wasn’t “servicing” any ex–boy-band members in Tijuana; she was with me and the other Diggers at a patriarch’s pool party on Fire Island. And, say what you will about the starlet, she has better taste than to get down with a bunch of scrawny tenors. If that were her style, we had more than enough singing groups right here on campus.)

Thorndike, poised below her and wielding a wicked-looking pitchfork, tapped Lil’ Demon on her Pilates-honed and designer jeans–encrusted behind. “Can’t let the Teamsters in the tomb,” she reminded her. Demetria “Thorndike” Robinson was our resident power-to-the-people expert, so she’d know. “But I’m with them anyway,” she continued. “There’s this Racial Strata of the 21st Century symposium I wanted to hit at three.”

A chorus of voices erupted from the other costumed participants about classes they were missing. Bond, our club’s British contingent, wanted to ensure his seniors-first spot in a college poetry seminar, Frodo needed to go to a board meeting of the Eli Film Society, Big Demon had scheduled some physical therapy at the gym, Kismet was tutoring Swahili, and Graverobber, who I don’t think I’d ever witnessed in an Eli classroom, needed to see a man about a horse. Which he owned.

Lil’ Demon sighed, unhooked herself from her safety harness, and dropped to the floor. “Fine, but don’t blame me if the new initiates think they’re getting shafted on their ceremony.”

“With these special effects, I doubt it,” I replied. Lil’ Demon had somehow managed to cajole some FX guy at her studio into lending us a bunch of old monster-movie stuff for the initiation we were holding tomorrow for the Rose & Grave taps who had been abroad during our junior year. No offense to previous clubs—society jargon for each year’s class—and their sublime efforts at scaring the pants off the neophytes, but there was something about stuffing the taps into the same coffin that had once housed Bela Lugosi that added a certain air of authenticity to the proceedings. It would be one hell of a night, rehearsal or not.

I shoved the mask off my face and breathed in cool air. Acting was so not my thing. Some might say I lacked the basic requirement: the ability to conceal my true emotions at any given time. Others would argue I didn’t have the necessary charisma.

Someone tugged at my hood. “Hey, ’boo.”

Speaking of charisma . . . I turned to see Puck grinning at me from beneath his hood. Of course Lil’ Demon wouldn’t hide that face under a disgusting mask. Who’d want to cover up a masterpiece like George Harrison Prescott? “Are you going to that thing at the Master’s house later?”

If you’re going, I thought. “There’s supposed to be free cookies,” I said. “And booze.” Somehow, we’d moved away from the railing, back into one of the corners. We have a funny habit of doing that. Puck leaned against one of the skull sconces gracing the wall and his robe fell open, revealing a very faded, much washed T-shirt, and a whole lot of check-out-how-much-lifting-I’ve-done-this-summer shoulders. Ah, George. I like his shoulders. I like the way they connect his arms to his chest. I like the arms and the chest they connect. I like his collarbones. I like the way he kissed me in the bar last spring. . . .

“Bugaboo!” Soze shouted from the landing. “Are we going to the Branch class or what?” Bugaboo. That’s me. “Yes!” I called back, but I didn’t take my eyes off Puck. “Why wouldn’t you go?” I asked him.

“They do this thing . . . a presentation on the history of Prescott College.” He rolled his eyes. I like his eyes. They’d looked like copper pennies when he asked me to go to bed with him. “I think I’ve got it down pat by now.”

They hadn’t even blinked when I told him no.

“Because it’s starting in about three minutes!” Soze yelled.

Crap. “Coming!” I cried back down the stairs. I turned back to Puck, forcing myself to remember why I’d told him no. “Yeah, well, I’ve got it down pat after three years of living there, and I’m not even a Prescott.”

I’d said no because he wasn’t just George Harrison Prescott. He was also a “Puck”—society nomenclature for the knight in every club who had slept with the most people.

And right then he was my friend, and what’s more, my society brother. “Look, come early, grab a few beers, then slink out before they get into the lecture.”

He quirked a brow. “Slink out with me?”

Soze stuck his head into the shadows. “Now or never, Bugaboo.”

Tell me about it.

George decided to accompany us to the Shakespeare seminar. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. So off we went, three little Diggers, into the bright sunny world of Eli University that lay beyond our gloomy tomb. George checked to see if the coast was clear, and we sneaked out the side door and proceeded to affect the easy stroll of three students who’d just emerged from the nearby Art and Architecture building.

You see, that’s the real trick of being in Rose & Grave: getting in and out in the light of day without shouting to the world that you’re a member. It’s worth it, though. For the price of a little secrecy and a few bizarre rituals, we’re given a unique connection to fourteen other people we might never have known—or liked, if we did know them. (I plead guilty to one such early prejudice, having held an entirely untenable distaste for one of my fellow members before I actually got to know her. Persephone bless Rose & Grave.)

We cut across High Street and through the gate onto Old Campus, otherwise known as freshman central. The powers that be at Eli think it promotes class bonding if the freshmen aren’t isolated in their assigned residential colleges right off the bat, so they stick them all together in the dorms on our largest and most picturesque quad. Five-sixths of the frosh make their home there. (Two colleges keep their freshmen to themselves, due to space constraints, and trust me, you can tell who those freaks are just by looking at them. A common refrain here is “I don’t know that person. Must be in Strathmore or Christopher Bright Colleges.”)

I’ve been told by my Digger big brother, Malcolm Cabot (a.k.a. Lancelot), that the beginning of term is the most dangerous time for Diggers in terms of secrecy. The Rose & Grave tomb is right across the street from Old Campus, and there are a thousand freshmen who have heard all about secret societies and are dying to stake them out. Today, however, Old Campus was dangerous for another reason: the student activities gauntlet.

“Brace yourself,” Josh said, as we were bombarded with a sheaf of brightly colored brochures. Russian Chorus, Club Crew, The Party of the Right, the Campus Crusade for Christ, the Women’s Center, and the Solar Car team Ad Lucem ( “toward the light” in Latin, because we’re pretentious like that). Every organization on campus was out in full force, promoting their group and trying to make themselves look as sexy as possible for the freshmeat who hadn’t yet filled up their schedule.

“Join the Society for Creative Anachronism!” said a kid in an oversized suit of armor, brandishing a papier-mâché sword in George’s face.

“Too late,” George replied. “I live it.”

Josh rolled his eyes and steered our friend away before he started discussing how creatively anachronistic Rose & Grave could get. (George is our most reluctant Digger, and coming from me, that says a lot.)

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Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
readingthruthenight on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Title: Under the RoseAuthor: Diana PeterfreundPages: 352Pub: 2007; DellGenre: Fiction ¿ Contemporary; RealisticEtc: The Short of itSecret society secrets are getting leaked.The Long of itThe second in a four-part series (a quartology?), Amy and the whole group of Rose & Grave members are back again. There¿s some stress between Lydia and Amy this go-around and someone on the inside is compromising the brotherhood. There¿s still a little love and flirting going on, but once again it¿s not on the forefront. The Thoughts about itI have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with Under the Rose for the first two-hundred pages. Give or take. It was still a quick read; read in one night. And it was still entertaining, just a wee bit repetitive. On a side note, I thought it was sorta funny because one of the members even felt the drama in the Rose & Grave society was repetitive (paraphrased: ¿why can¿t we just hang out and BE the society instead of always talking ABOUT the society and it¿s politics). I am so with you man. Feelin¿ ya, for sure! Also, `cuz everyone has secret society names, it became a little confusing when people were introduced or talking in society compared to OUT of society. I had to continue to flip to the front page which listed everyone¿s society name. Details, man. I¿m not good with names. I assume there are others who also fail miserably at remember who people are, in books or in real life. Moving along, though, the book WAS entertaining enough for me to read it in one night and I DID get into it the last hundred or so pages. I figure I¿ll end up reading the whole series because I¿ve always wanted to be in a secret society and this allows me to vicariously. I think that ultimately it probably tells a more accurate portrayal of society. I mean, it¿s not as though political figures are killing people off everyday in real society life, right? Right?!?!
mmillet on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Senior year isn't going quite as Amy Haskel would have liked. Sure, she's at prestigious Ivy League Eli University and she's also a member of that oh-so exclusive secret society the Rose & Grave, but Amy is quickly finding out balancing classes, a senior thesis, and society business is not all it's cracked up to be. Once again, the R&G seems to be falling apart as the current members receive vague warnings threatening that the society is rotting out from the inside out. What's more, a traitor, who is slowly spilling society secrets, is on the loose and has everyone up in arms and once again convinced that admitting girls to the R&G was the worst idea EVER. Amy doesn't know which of her brothers has leaked the information but she isn't about to trust any of them on her quest for the truth - hoping that it doesn't destroy the Rose & Grave along the way. Just once, Amy would like to enjoy being a part of her society without all the worry and fear.The second installment of Peterfreund's tell-all novels plunges us right back into the world of Amy's not-so-ordinary college experience. Standing out in this series is Amy with her blinding intelligence and loyalty, she is instantly likable and an unforgettable narrator. She is neurotic and doesn't always understand her worth, but she ALWAYS gets the job done. What's not to love? At times, I felt the drama and society debates dragged on a bit and rehashed the same topic over and over but there was always some witty dialogue or snarky remark that would bring a smile back to my face. A fun, summer read that hopefully continues to be just as enjoyable.Now if only I could convince my library to buy the last two books in the series...
susanbevans on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Under the Rose picks up where Peterfreund left off with Secret Society Girl. Secrets and lies threaten to tear apart the oldest and most revered secret society at Eli University - the Order of the Rose and Grave - as the new class discovers a traitor in their midst. Even as a member, our heroine Amy Haskel seems the be out of the loop. After enduring a difficult initiation, the tap class of D177 realized that the powerful patriarchs of the society never intended to allow women to join their order. In standing up to the powerful men, Amy and the other "Diggirls" hope that the worst is behind them. But the drama is non-stop, and within the tomb of the Order of the Rose and Grave, warring factions begin to endanger the future of the club. Under the Rose was if possible, even better than it's predecessor. Peterfreund's dialogue was sharp and witty as ever, with lots of verbal sparring between Amy and caustic patriarch "Poe". The plot was full of twists and turns that kept me guessing the entire time - some of the things that Peterfreund comes up with are just completely out of left field! The author does an amazing job of lining up several suspects and subplots, making for a fun mystery. Even after discovering the identity of the member betraying the society, we suddenly learn that the conspiracy goes much deeper than anyone realized.Under the Rose was a fast-paced, gripping, page turner. I am thoroughly enthralled by this series and I can't wait to pick up book 3, Rites of Spring (Break).
ChicGeekGirl21 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Under the Rose is the second book in Diana Peterfreund's 4-part "Ivy League" series. In the first book, we are introduced to Amy Haskell, a bright English student at Eli University who is inducted into the Rose and Grave secret society--and among the first class to induct women into the formerly 'ol boys club. In Under the Rose, Amy and her fellow female Diggers have to fight the network of Patriarchs (former Diggers, all of whom are incredibly successful and wealthy) who are against the induction of women into Rose and Grave. Threats are made against the girls (and the guys who support them) by Patriarchs who wish to destroy their future prospects (for example, Amy's ideal internship which she had all lined up is pulled out from under her) and even threaten their lives and the lives of their friends and family. Friends are revealed to be traitors when an secret society made only of men is formed WITHIN Rose and Grave by the guys who secretly agree with the Patriarchs. Etc, etc. But Amy and her fellow girl Diggers overcome their differences to band together and challenge the Patriarchs. Plus, Amy has totally hott sex with Puck--a sexy playboy Digger--in the Rose and Grave Inner Temple no less! Diana Peterfreund successfully combines third wave feminism, typical chick-lit tropes, secret society danger and intrigue, and a wicked sense of humor in this impossible-to-put-down book.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In the first book, SECRET SOCIETY GIRL, Amy Haskel is a college junior and part of the first female group tapped into the ultrasecret, patriarch-run Rose & Grave secret society. In UNDER THE ROSE, Amy is a senior, with the horrors of initiation and the previous semester behind her. She intends to enjoy herself as much as possible: hookups with her super hot (and womanizing) society brother George Harrison Prescott, hanging out with her roommate Lydia, and spending time with fellow Diggirls.Of course, being part of the first coed Rose & Grave group is bound to create trouble. Someone within the group has been publicizing society secrets. Suspicions abound, patriarchs are more than unhappy, and it seems like Amy is going to be part of the last Rose & Grave class, two centuries of tradition and camaraderie down the drain¿¿Unless she and her society brothers can rediscover the meaning of what it means to be a Digger.It¿s just so hard to find an intelligent, funny, and suspenseful series, which is why I adore Diana Peterfreund¿s IVY LEAGUE novels. They contain everything I want in a series about college students: secrets, romantic entanglements, and pages and pages of side-splitting collegiate conversation.Amy is engaging, wry, and endearingly stumbling through life as a secret society member at an elite university. She is dynamic and can hold her own in any situation. But the brilliant characterization doesn¿t stop there. Every character, no matter how much or how little time he/she gets on the page, has his or her own personality. It¿s not so hard for us to keep track of all dozen or so of the members of Rose & Grave, which is a remarkable accomplishment, and a sign of a high-caliber author.Likewise, the plot is intricate and clearly shows the amount of time that went into planning and writing Amy¿s world. The story weaves around the society comings and goings, delves deliciously into Amy¿s ¿relationship¿ with George, takes readers on far flung adventures¿and that¿s in between helping us remember who¿s who! The story is a complex, satisfying, and delightful concept that only an author with more than enough brains to spare can concoct. UNDER THE ROSE is a thriller/mystery story for the estrogen-prone, chick lit for the brainy. And that¿s why I love it. This book doesn¿t dumb itself down for readers; instead, we¿re left feeling impressed at Diana Peterfreund¿s writing ability, even if the scenarios and dialogue only exist in a world where the perfect quip comes out of your mouth instantly, every time. I¿d like to live there.
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