I picked this book up on a recent trip to a fantastic bookshop in the middle of Helmsley. I had tried to buy this from amazon once before but I had obviously gone too click happy and had ended up with The Poison Tree instead (review here) That of course is one of the bonuses of a real bookshop, you know you are getting the right thing. Slightly confusingly though, at the same time I was reading this, my current audio book was another Erin Kelly, this time the Burning Air. Luckily I really enjoyed them both.
The Sick Rose centres on Louisa and Paul. Louisa is a gardener who is working on recreating a garden at an Elizabethan Mansion. Paul is a witness to a crime and is sent to the garden to hide until he has to testify. Both of them are hiding their backgrounds from those around them, and begin to form a relationship with each other.
This was an excellent book. I realise that I use the phrase ‘I couldn’t put down’ in nearly all of my reviews. I also realise that it is not strictly true as unless I’d had an unfortunate incident with some super glue of course I can put it down. However what I should say is, I didn’t want to put it down.
The gradual unveiling of what had happened to Louisa as a naive rebellious teenage was really interesting. You could see from the outside it was all going to end in tears, but equally you can see how it’s the way the teenage mind works. Both characters had childhoods with little guidance and so they get caught up in things they don’t know how to get out of.
The way the two are drawn together despite their age difference is cleverly written, and by the end you really hope they will work out. Despite Louisa being older, she’s also the more naive having spent most of her life hiding from her past. Wheras Paul knows where things went wrong in his past, but was still powerless to stop it.
The final chapter of the book was something I didn’t see coming at all, and I thought the epilogue was a great addition. Often they can be seen as just a way of tying up lose ends, whereas this epilogue left me shocked.
I would definitely recommend this book, and if Erin Kelly is an author you haven’t yet tried, but are a fan of psychological crime novels I would urge you to try it (I’d also urge you to visit the bookshop in the centre of Helmsley if you are ever that way!)