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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down...
Which was a little awkward as I found myself on a very crowded tube with 2 large bags unwilling to put this book away despite imminent danger of falling over.

I'm usually addicted to police procedural crime novels so to tackle something more psychological, especially a book as accomplished as this, was a real pleasure.

I think this is a stunning...
Published on 24 April 2012 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sick Rose
Erin Kelly has written yet another interesting and quirky thriller. I did not like it quite as much as I liked her previous book, The Poison Tree, but I must admit, I found it hard to put down. Kelly is excellent on atmosphere and characters, and this story about two misfit people of very differing age, was compelling. They are both rather gullable and from the...
Published on 22 April 2012 by Mrs. Sarah Harrison


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down..., 24 April 2012
This review is from: The Sick Rose (Paperback)
Which was a little awkward as I found myself on a very crowded tube with 2 large bags unwilling to put this book away despite imminent danger of falling over.

I'm usually addicted to police procedural crime novels so to tackle something more psychological, especially a book as accomplished as this, was a real pleasure.

I think this is a stunning second novel. To me, the places and people were even more authentic than those in the poison tree, the moving between time periods was seamless and utterly compelling.

And the twist at the end got me. Cannot recommend this highly enough.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book, 22 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Sick Rose (Paperback)
This is my first novel by this author and I can't wait to read The Poison Tree now. There is a dark, mysterious quality to her writing that pulls you in and makes it hard to put the book down. I completely believed in her main characters Louisa and Paul, and the tragedies that happened to them and brought them together. She writes as convincingly about life on a tough estate as she does about life on the King's Road in London, and I particularly felt for Paul and the way he is stopped from following his dream by people who don't want him to have dreams. Brilliant.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely riveting read, 4 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Sick Rose (Hardcover)
I'd read Kelly's first novel The Poison Tree and thoroughly enjoyed it but The Sick Rose is in a different league.
It grips from the start, transporting you back in time to Kensington Market in the 1980s - a vivid, very real portrayal for anyone who remembers the dingy old place.
But it's the characters and storyline that really grip. Sympathetic, yet interesting leads and an engaging, well researched story that slowly but very cleverly winds two very different tales into one. And the ending is utterly unexpected and shocking.
I read it in one go and immediately went online to find out if there was another Erin Kelly novel I'd missed. Sadly there are only two but if she continues to improve at her current rate, I really can't wait for her third book. Surely, given the quality of this one, there must be one on the way.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing, 13 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Sick Rose (Hardcover)
For me, this is the sort of story that you really need to call in some favours, bunk off, shirk your responsiblities... do what it takes to give it your full attention until you've read it from start to finish. Within a couple of pages, everything else (including sleep) was an irrelevance and irritation, getting in the way of finishing the next chapter.. and the next...
A really satisfying read, gorgeously described, and the characters will stay with me for a long time. I can't wait for Erin Kelly's next book.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and well-written - an excellent second novel, 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Sick Rose (Kindle Edition)
I read and enjoyed Erin Kelly's debut novel, The Poison Tree, a couple of months ago, and when I saw this new book was being released I couldn't resist snapping it up. I was glad to find that, while The Sick Rose is completely recognisable as the work of the same author, it's quite different from The Poison Tree - the storyline is fresh, the characters original, and thankfully it seems much less like it's partly targeted at the chick-lit market.

The Sick Rose has two main characters. 39-year-old Louisa is a botanical expert working on the restoration of the gardens of a crumbling country house. 19-year-old Paul is a petty criminal sentenced to community service at the site, the job literally a get-out-of-jail-free card in exchange for helping to put away his dangerous friend Daniel. Both protagonists, inevitably, are troubled, and they each get their own flashbacks: Louisa's take place twenty years before and describe her first serious relationship with wannabe rockstar Adam, whose death at 18 still haunts her; Paul's jump back seven years and cover the traumatic loss of his father and the start of his criminal career as Daniel's accomplice. As the story begins, a meeting between the protagonists triggers a violent reaction in Louisa, who thinks Paul is the spitting image of Adam.

The truth about the past is carefully unfolded, and as Louisa and Paul get to know one another and a tentative relationship develops between them, the flashbacks slowly reveal that Adam was in fact volatile and potentially unfaithful, and Daniel a possessive bully who conspired to make Paul's life hell for his own amusement. Paul is terrified that Daniel will catch up with him, while Louisa also seems to have something to hide and begins to imply that she was involved in Adam's death. Told in short, punchy chapters, the story zips along at a good pace. The writing isn't always what you'd call superb, and Kelly is often guilty of unnecessarily heavy description, but the plot is compelling and the switches between past and present do a great job of holding your interest. Sometimes there's a cliffhanger in one of the past sections and the following chapter returns to the present, leaving the reader desperate to find out what happened next. As you'd expect in a thriller like this, there are plenty of twists and turns, but I genuinely didn't see most of them coming. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it absolutely wasn't what I expected, and the epilogue is perfect.

While a few elements of the characterisation are a bit heavy-handed (there's way too many mentions of how young Louisa looks for her age, presumably so it doesn't seem too off-putting when she gets together with Paul), there are also excellent moments which stand out as particularly well-executed and beautifully subtle. Kelly has an eye for small, completely believable and excruciatingly human details, which suggest true literary talent. She's also excellent at writing about teenagers while still retaining an adult tone, capturing that mixture of nostalgia, embarassment and sadness you feel when looking back on your youth (even if that 'youth' is only a few years past, as it is for Paul). But, as with The Poison Tree, her adult characters aren't as successful. Perhaps it's partly because her age is constantly played down, but Louisa doesn't read like a convincing 39-year-old woman, though the younger verson of the character is totally believable.

I really think Erin Kelly is an author with a lot of promise. This and The Poison Tree are unlikely to be hailed as literary masterpieces, but there's something about her writing that makes me think she may well go on to greater things. Time will tell whether I'm right about this. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure I'll be reading anything else she writes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute belter of a story, 19 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Sick Rose (Paperback)
I read this book in record time but not because I was reading quickly, I just simply couldn't put it down. I was actually annoyed when my flight landed early as it meant less reading time! The story was fantastic, the pace never stopped, the gradual building of the back stories of the main characters through the course of the book worked really well and the ending....well, yes I shed a tear!

I'm not going to say anymore for fear of giving something away. All I will say is read it - you won't be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sick Rose, 22 April 2012
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This review is from: The Sick Rose (Paperback)
Erin Kelly has written yet another interesting and quirky thriller. I did not like it quite as much as I liked her previous book, The Poison Tree, but I must admit, I found it hard to put down. Kelly is excellent on atmosphere and characters, and this story about two misfit people of very differing age, was compelling. They are both rather gullable and from the beginning, you can sense that there will be tears before bedtime - and there are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sick Rose, 9 July 2012
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This review is from: The Sick Rose (Kindle Edition)
Having read and enjoyed Erin Kellys previous novel The Poison Tree i was looking forward to reading this after seeing a review in a Sunday supplement. Thankfully I read it while I was away on holiday so I was able to spend long periods of time with the characters of Louisa and Paul because when you start reading this book you will not want to stop! The story is told in the present day and also with flashbacks to the past of both characters-Louisa as a teenager falling obsessively in love with a wannabe rock star and the more recent problems of Paul and how he gets himself in trouble due to his friend Daniel. This would have got 5 stars but I felt the ending twist was a little bit disappointing and weak.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sick Rose, 21 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Sick Rose (Paperback)
I saw this book reviewed in a magazine a few weeks ago. It sounded interesting so I bought it. What a great read! I couldn't put it down, the experiences of Paul and Louisas youth were so different, yet in their own way played the central part in bringing them together.
At first the way that the book jumps from one time to another could have been distracting, however it was very clever in the way that it was achieved, because you got the back ground as the story progressed.
Definitely recommend this book, I have now bought "The Poison Tree", and look forward to reading it! Would be a great holiday read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable page turner, 9 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Sick Rose (Kindle Edition)
As a long time fan of psychological thrillers, I am really starting to like Erin Kelly's work. This book charts the relationship between social misfit Louisa and Paul - 20 years her junior and on a work placement with a witness protection scheme where Louisa is working restoring a Tudor garden. We are flicked back into both of their pasts, Louisa's world in 1989 and her love affair with a singer in a band and Paul to his growing up and involvement with petty criminal Daniel.

An enjoyable page turning read. EK excels at the creation of atmospheres and scene setting - the recreation of 1989 London was extremely well done along with life in an Essex estuary town and I actually felt a touch of Ruth Rendell coming on here. In her last book I thought her characters were stereotypical but she has proved me wrong in this one. My type of book and I am certainly looking forward to more.
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The Sick Rose
The Sick Rose by Erin Kelly (Paperback - 29 Mar 2012)
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