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The Sirens of Suspense


Like Erin Kelly’s first novel The Poison Tree, (which I reviewed here), The Dark Rose is a psychological thriller that weaves together times and lives in a perfectly choreographed dance that will leave even those readers turned off by shifting times and points of view begging for more.

In The Dark Rose we meet Louisa Trevelyan, who like Kelly’s first protagonist Karen, had something happen to her in her formative years: she fell deeply in love. Now, she helps re-create forgotten English gardens—her passion for plants a poor substitution for the connections she’s no longer able to make with people. But the peace of the gardens cannot calm the memories of something so dark and disturbing that it has left her forever broken. The story’s other protagonist, Paul, is a perfect foil for Louisa. Where all of her sins are left to the past, the promise of future disaster haunts him like a shadow. Paul works in the garden, having been placed there by the government until he can testify against his boyhood friend. Although he agreed to turn on his friend to save himself, he is forever looking over his shoulder, waiting for the choices he stumbled into, rather than made, to catch up with him.

When you first pick up the book, you may assume it will be difficult to be swept into the story of a teenage boy whose life threw him in with the wrong crowd, or a middle-age woman whose obsession leaves her in an hermit-like existence. But as they are brought together and find a way to relate to each other, the reader is taken on the same journey. You’ll find yourself gripping the cover in frustration at your inability to warn them from the path that they so unknowingly walk, and praying that they can each escape and find the happiness that has proved so fickle and elusive.


If you like Erin Kelly you may like: Tana French, Barbara Vine, Sophie Hannah

This review originally posted on The Poisoned Pen blog, read it and comment here:

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