THE SICK ROSE
Written by Erin Kelly
Review written by Angela Hatherell
Hodder & Stoughton
Released: 9th June 2011
Anyone who read Erin Kelly's first book, The Poison Tree, need read no further. If I say it's the mixture as before they will know what to expect. To those who have not been so lucky I will explain that it is a story told in several time zones, it is gripping and beautifully written.
Louisa, a thirty-nine-year-old Heritage gardener, is introduced straight away experiencing great stress relating to her past. Her story then unfolds, first in the past and then in alternating periods of time. These episodes are interleaved with the story of Paul, a teenager who is involved with some crime committed in the recent past.
The way these two become connected form the bulk of the story. Paul is sent for rehabilitation to a Tudor garden which Louisa is restoring. When they meet Louisa is shocked by Paul's resemblance to her former lover. Flashbacks tell their past stories, and their gradual involvement with each other. It becomes clear that each has a terrifying secret to hide, and when these secrets are eventually revealed the story moves to the present, and unexpected reactions, and then the final completely unforeseen shock ending.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I read the last section in one long burst, unaware of my surroundings, and emerged as though from a trance. I think I shall have to read it again.