Readings: January 7-13/ The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly

The Dark Rose by Erin KellyIn Erin Kelly’s The Dark Rose, Louisa Trevelyan is living a smaller life than the one she had as a rebellious but privileged teen growing up on the outskirts of London. Then she was prone dramatics, random dabbling in esoteric sciences and brief love affairs, but twenty years later she is still hiding out from the aftermath of an affair with a passionate young musician, and a secret so dangerous that she spends her life channeling her energy and talents into garden and estate restoration. Working on a project at Kelstice Lodge, she meets Paul Seaforth, a  young man taking part in a rehabilitation program for youthful offenders and waiting to give testimony as the star witness for the prosecution in the murder trial where he will he testify against the  man who bullied him his entire life, his best friend. Louisa and Paul bond and start a relationship, each finding a need satisfied in the other, but their time together is threatened by both their pasts, which can’t stay hidden or forgotten for long.

I loved Erin Kelly’s debut novel, The Poison Tree, and I was even more impressed here with her ability to create atmosphere and tension as she reveals the lives of her damaged, needy and long suffering characters- each of whom is well-drawn, complex and with secrets begging to be uncovered. The Dark Rose is a quiet novel, and Kelly slowly unravels Paul and Louisa. The events that have formed them are revealed in a jumble of flashbacks that become clearer and more horrific as pieces of the puzzle fall into place. I like that you get to know their families and friendships, and have a rich sense of who they were because it makes their approach and relationship to and with each other understandable, and eventually beautiful. I usually can see the twists and turns coming, but even I was in shock by the way Kelly wrapped this one up. Highly recommended.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Readings: January 1 6/ A Quiet American & Ashenden

9 Comments
  • Marg
    January 19, 2013

    I love the cover of this one, but it doesn’t sound like it matches the contents to me! Will have to add it to my list to see.

    • Nicole Bonia
      January 19, 2013

      I don’t know what I expected from the cover. Maybe a Scandinavian thriller now that I take a moment to look at it. I saw Erin Kelly, and really didn’t pay the cover any attention. Haha.

  • Beth F
    January 19, 2013

    I have this on my list. So glad it didn’t disappoint.

    • Nicole Bonia
      January 19, 2013

      I thought it improved on her first and I really liked The Poison Tree. Enjoy it if you can get to it.

  • Justice
    January 19, 2013

    I love Erin Kelly! I discovered her last year and I adore both The Poison Tree and The Dark Rose. I love that you think you know where she is going with her twists, but then she pulls a fast one.

    • Nicole Bonia
      January 19, 2013

      I know! The end of this blew me away. It hurt me a little, but at the same time it was fitting. Her next one is out next month!

  • Beth Hoffman
    January 19, 2013

    This sounds good to me!

    • Nicole Bonia
      January 19, 2013

      So good! Her next is out in February and I want to read it too.

  • boardinginmyforties
    February 4, 2013

    I think The Poison Tree is already on my list but I’m going to check and make sure to add this one and the first to my list.

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