The Dark Rose – Erin Kelly

darkroseSO ANNOYED! I had an awesome review of this book written and when I posted it all that posted was what is below between the **…and I am tired and never going to be able to recreate what I had written and I could SCREAM.

So, briefly:

39-year-old Louisa and 19-year-old Paul are both working on the restoration of a ruined Elizabethan garden in Kelstice, a small town northwest of London. She’s hiding out – as she has done for the past twenty years or so – because she’s still obsessed with the guy she was in love with when she was 18. Paul’s hiding out because his best friend, Daniel, will soon be on trial for murder and he’s the star witness for the prosecution.

Paul’s had a traumatic childhood. He lost his father in a rather traumatic and gory accident which he witnessed. Then he started to get picked on in school and Daniel became his saviour.  He’s really a decent guy who just made some stupid choices because of his loyalty to Daniel.

**It’s also impossible not to relate to Louisa – at least I could relate to her. She falls madly in love with Adam Glasslake, lead singer of the band Glasslake and the more distant and unattainable he is, the more she wants him. What 18-year-old hasn’t been on that roller coaster ride?

After they make love for the first time and after Adam falls asleep, Louisa

…inhaled the thick oily skin between his shoulder blades where he smelled most like himself. If you could distill and bottle the essence of a human being, if you could crush skin like petals , then she would do this with Adam Glasslake. The vetiver scent was faint now, but his neck still bore the visible traces of the oil he had anointed himself with earlier. It was a faint dark green. Below this, on his clavicle, she had marked him for herself, a vivid red circle, half kiss, half bite. She felt intensely female and powerful, like a witch.

Louisa and Adam’s relationship is rocky at best and ends badly and years later she still gives in to a ritual that requires liquor and a few tatty mementos.   The first time she sees Paul she is so overcome that she felt that “the strength of her longing had finally called him [Adam] into being, that she had conjured his spirit.” She is so overcome she “would have smashed through the glass walls of the greenhouse to get away from him.”

When Louisa and Adam’s separate but equally compelling lives intersect, things don’t turn out at all like you might expect. And I mean that in a good way. Kelly does an admirable job making both Louisa and Paul into characters that you actually kind of root for thus elevating The Dark Rose  from run-of-the-mill thriller to literary page-turner.

The Dark Rose is my first encounter with Erin Kelly, but I will certainly be reading more of her work.**

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