Paul was led into a life of crime by his boyhood protector, a bully named Daniel; but one night, what started as a petty theft turned into a grisly murder. Now, at nineteen, Paul must bear witness against his friend to avoid prison. Louisa's own dark secrets led her to flee a desperate infatuation gone wrong many years before. Now she spends her days steeped in history, renovating the grounds of a crumbling Elizabethan garden. But her fragile peace is shattered when she meets Paul; he's the spitting image of the one person she never thought she'd see again.
These two, scarred and solitary, begin a secret affair. Louisa starts to believe she can again find the happiness she had given up on. But neither of them can outrun his violent past.
A story of secrets and guilt set among the ruins of a sixteenth-century English garden, The Dark Rose explores the extremes of obsessive love and loyalty, devotion and desperation. Like Kelly's critically acclaimed debut novel, The Poison Tree, this fantastically creepy, atmospheric novel thrills until the final shocking moments.
First published as The Sick Rose in the UK.
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"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly
"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." - Kirkus Reviews
"Kelly follows up her outstanding debut (The Poison Tree, 2010) with another suspenseful tale that keeps the reader on edge until the last page." - Booklist
"Erin Kelly's debut The Poison Tree was a fine psychological thriller; [The Dark Rose] confirms that promise... a first-class suspense novel." - Mail on Sunday (UK)
"Erin Kelly manages the complicated strands of her plot with great skill, mixes action, emotion and history in exactly the right proportion and keeps up the suspense to the last page. It's unusual for a second novel to be even better than the first but Kelly has pulled off that difficult trick." - Literary Review (UK)
"A brooding story and a real 'can't put it down' mystery... just as dark as any of the Scandinavian noir novels. This [dark] rose has got the grip of bindweed." - The Independent (UK)
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Erin Kelly is the author of three psychological thrillers, The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, and The Burning Air.
She was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998, writing for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and The Mirror, and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire and Elle. She writes about health, lifestyle, women's issues and parenting, and is a columnist at Mother and Baby magazine. She lives in north London with her husband and daughter.
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