I often say that I don't like novels where the time line jumps about, and this novel ceratinly does that! However, I will forgive Erin Kelly most things because her work is brilliant and the timeline in The Sick Rose is clearly indicated. So, although originally I had my doubts, I should have had faith.
Paul has been led into a life of crime by his schoolyard protector, Daniel - but one night what started as petty theft escalates fatally. Now, at nineteen, Paul must bear witness against his friend to avoid imprisonment.
Louisa has her own dark secrets. Having fled from them many years ago she now spends her days steeped in history, renovating the grounds of a crumbling Elizabethan mansion. But the her fragile peace is shattered when she meets Paul; he's the image of the one person she never thought she'd see again.
A relationship develops between them, and Louisa starts to believe she can experience the happiness she had given up on; but it soon becomes apparent that neither of them can outrun their violent past...
The Sick Rose is a beautifully crafted dark mystery which develops gradually. The reader grows to know and understand the main protagonist Louisa and her collegue, Paul.
Many readers will understand the wild days of Louisa's youth compared with her more sedate life as a middle-aged woman. Sadly others will empathise with the decisions Paul makes as the result of being bullied at school.
Both end up working in the gardens of a historic masion being restored in and as their relationship develops, the reader discovers more about their pasts and the actions and emotions that shaped the adults they have become.
I do not do spoilers and would not want to ruin the denoument of this stuniing movel for the reader. Suffice to say however inevitable the ending may seem when you get to it, I defy you to anticipate it while you are reading the book.
The Sick Rose is another triumph from Erin Kelly. This woman is an gifted author and I highly recommend this book.
Some stories take longer to 'cook' than others. It's no exaggeration to say that my latest novel, The Skeleton Key, about a family of artists, and a treasure hunt that takes on a life of its own, was a lifetime in the making. As a child, my favourite picture book was the 1979 treasure hunt phenomenon Masquerade, by artist Kit Williams. On every page, riddles were posed and intricate, dreamlike paintings depicted Jack Hare in his quest to deliver a jewel from the moon to the sun. Each picture was bordered by letters that held a clue to the location of a tiny hare, wrought in gold, studded with precious stone, and buried somewhere in England. My favourite page was a double-page spread of a little girl sitting in a field of dog roses while Jack Hare galloped past. I envied her so much: she was in the story, as I longed to be. I thought that if I looked at the picture for long enough, I might fall into it: and in a way, I did. Masquerade became part of me, and forty years later, it has found its way out again in the form of The Skeleton Key.
Aside from The Skeleton Key, I'm known for He Said/She Said, about a young couple who witness a rape and, after the trial, begin to wonder if they believed the right person. It was number one in the kindle charts for six glorious weeks, and spent three months in the Sunday Times Bestseller charts.
My first novel, The Poison Tree, was a Richard and Judy bestseller and a major ITV drama starring Myanna Buring, Ophelia Lovibond and Matthew Goode.
I’ve written six more original psychological thrillers – Stone Mothers, Watch Her Fall, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind.
I had read scores of psychological thrillers before I heard the term: the books that inspired me to write my own included Endless Night by Agatha Christie, The Secret History by Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine. My books are atmospheric thrillers, always about people trying to atone for, escape, or uncover a past crime. I’m more interested in what happens before the police arrive – if arrive they ever do - than how murder is solved.