“ Author: Stephen King / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 07 July 2011 / Genre: Fantasy / Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division / Title: Rose Madder / ISBN 13: 9781444707465 / ISBN 10: 1444707465 / Alternative EAN: 9780340952641 „
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By now you should have heard of Stephen King, one of the most celebrated fiction writers in the world. His popularity is a testament to his genius and creativity within his work. Rose Madder is not like other King novels, there is not a lot of mythical, magical or supernatural content within it but it's still a good read.
Rose Madder highlights the issue of domestic violence intensely. Rose is married to her abusive husband Norman. Norman is a policeman with the skill to seek out the fleeing Rose wherever she may go. This book is an exciting tale which will take you through the struggles and turmoil that Rose has to face.
Though this book has faced a touch of criticism, my opinion is that some of the critics were expecting a regular King plot, this is not. Rose Madder does not have the unique Stephen King feel that alot of his other books have. This book is a serious read with very dramatic content.
Rose Madder is a dark suspense thriller taken from the view of a scared and battered young woman. Stephen King writes female characters brilliantly which not all authors can do. Kings Rose is very believable and much of the plot has a realistic air about it too.
While Stephen King does not consider this one of his best novels, I found it to be an improvement on a few that had gone before. It also continues with the theme of domestic violence which has crept its way through a number of his previous novels. I like the way this time the victim is strong enough to walk away early on although not early enough.
It would have made sense if Rosie had left her husband Norman when he beat her and caused her to miscarry. However it took her a number of years to go and this was partly because he was a policeman and she feared he would find her. Finally she leaves and travels to another town ready to begin a new life.
Things start well as she is taken to a women's refuge and she begins to make friends and even gets a job at a local hotel. She still needs money and decides to get rid of her engagement ring. Finding out it is not worth anything, she swaps it for a painting that caught her eye. The painting is a woman wearing a Rose Madder dress. From that minute her luck seems to change. A chance meeting leads to her getting a better job, and she also starts to date, having been asked out by Bill, the man who owns the pawn shop. It is hard not to want to celebrate now that is seems as if things are looking up for Rosie and she is a character that it is easy to get behind. It is not unusual for Stephen King to have a character the readers will love and one they are bound to hate.
Rose always feels that there is something strange about the painting and eventually feels she has a connection with the woman in it. Unsure as to whether or not she is dreaming, Rosie carries out what is required of her. Blood plays a big part in this section of the story and it seems fitting as it was spots of blood on the bedding that led to her leaving Norman. The second part of the story is Norman's attempts to track Rosie down and how past events have shaped her views and behaviour in her new town.
There are parts of this book that I find quite difficult to understand. Mainly this is to do with the blood in the events surrounding the picture. I also found it hard to believe that Norman would go to a lot of trouble when looking for her. He seemed good at getting his own way so why not just look for someone new? I wondered if there was a message in the story - maybe that you can't fully escape your past, or maybe even trust your instincts and carry on.
The book is well worth reading and the ending is again a little strange but very hopeful for a number of characters. I like the style but could do without some of the strong descriptions. Never let it be said Stephen King does not make sure we know exactly what has happened, especially if blood is involved. I was a bit worried when mythology was introduced and this was the one part of the book I felt was a weakness.
I will give it 5 stars. It is not one of the best known of his books and unlike many has not been made into a film although there was a lot of talk about making one a few years ago. It is a long book and has 466 pages and was printed in 1995.
King is a prolific author. Many of his novels have been translated to the screen with varying degrees of success. The Shining, The Langoliers, The Stand, The Tommyknockers, Salems lot, Misery. And more. Because of this, some of his lesser known works have remained just that. Lesser known. With some of these, you definitely feel that there was a reason for it. Some concepts don't turn out well. Sometimes even King loses perspective and writes self-indulgently.
But there are some diamonds among the coal. And Rose Madder is my favourite King book to date. What makes this statement even more unlikely is the subject matter. The protagonist of the book is an abused wife. Someone who has been hospitalised, miscarried and suffered mightily at the hands of her husband, Norman. Someone who is making the bed one morning after years of this, when a single solitary drop of blood falls from her nose onto the pillow.
The plot (no spoilers)
Immediately she comes to a simple realisation. If she does not leave, sooner or later she will die. Making matters infinitely worse is the fact that Norman is not just a beast, but a decorated policeman. Beyond this, he is a police detective. One who has convinced her that any call to the police will be futile. That cops band together like brothers. That no matter where she runs, he will find her and hurt her worse than he has ever done before.
Having abandoned her previous identify and use of credit cards, Rose begins a new life. With every week that passes, she feels ever so slightly more at ease. She has discovered a career and bought a painting of a woman in a Greek gown stained Rose madder (a crimson colour). But Norman is coming. He is using all his experience and resources and brutality, he is slowly but surely going to shatter the uneasy peace his wife has found. But that painting is not what it first appears. The woman within it is both insane and inhuman, and pursuer and pursued will be drawn towards her.
The book itself was published in 1995 and is a healthy 432 pages long. Not a house brick like The Stand, but hardly a novella. It is the perfect length and the pacing is precisely correct. In some ways, it has three distinct acts. The escape. The chase. The resolution. By marrying domestic violence and a thriller with horror and Greek mythos, King has struck upon a winning formula.
I would find it difficult to write from a woman's perspective, but the author manages it effortlessly. There is a small, but well defined supporting cast. Many of these are also women. It is to King's credit that none of them come across as stereotypical or contrived. Underlying the first half of the book is a great deal of emotion.
By the end of the first chapter, we really feel for Rose and what she has endured. We genuinely hope she will succeed. In Detective Norman Daniels, King has created a monster. Not one with one eye, fifty feet tall or with claws and fangs, but all the more believable for all of that. And if there's one thing Norman likes to do best, it is bite.
The sudden turn from a very real world to quite another could have been jarring, and not in a good way. Instead, it has a dreamlike quality. One which intertwines with a nightmare. This is a Stephen King book. Horrific things will happen, most of them perpetrated by Norman. The quality of his writing has never been better. There are no wasted words. No fluff. No needless exposition. It is the literal page turner, and one I am happy to recommend.
Rose madder can be bought for under ten pounds, either in store or online plus delivery. A kindle edition exists for a fiver. Buy it, read it, enjoy it. ISBN 1444707469.
Having read a number of Stephen King novels over the years, Rose Madder is one of my favourites, despite it being unlike many of his other novels.
In Rose Madder, Stephen King has created another horrific character in the form of police detective Norman Daniels, who to the outside world is a respectable man, but to Rose, his wife of 14 years, he is a terrifying bully who has made her life a living hell and certainly nothing like she expected when she married him after being high-school sweethearts. Losing her unborn baby due to yet another beating from Norman and suffering a broken rib are just some of the horrific examples of the abuse he has dished out to her, but finally she flees her life of abuse, taking her husband's cash card and travelling hundreds of miles to a shelter where she builds a new life for herself and slowly comes to terms with her new independence.
Unfortunately, her nightmare isn't over just yet, as her husband Norman isn't willing to let Rose disappear from his life and so begins to search for her. After all, he is a police detective and searching for people is part of his job.
Out shopping one day whilst rebuilding her life, Rose becomes drawn to an oil painting and buys it. After purchasing the painting, she later discovers that she can step into the painting and become a new person, Rose Madder.
It is at this point that the book, which starts out as a traditional thriller, begins to show the fantasy and horror element that King has became an expert at introducing over the years. The prose flows well however and the reality and the fantasy blend together perfectly. It does make for intriguing reading despite my initial reservations after the first few pages that I would prefer Rose Madder to be a straightforward thriller.
Another reason to praise this book is the way in which the suspense just builds and builds and I found it difficult to put the book down. It quickly becomes apparent that Norman Daniels will stop at nothing to possess his wife again and is livid at her 'defiance'. Reading this book you just know that a confrontation is going to happen at some point and King builds up the tension page after page.
I was reminded a little of the book and film, 'Sleeping With The Enemy' whilst reading this book as the storyline and tension are very similar in parts, as a wife who finally snaps and realises she must escape her abusive husband flees her old life and begins a new one, hoping to be rid of her abusive past for good. However, the abandoned husbands have other ideas.
The difference here is of course the fantasy element to King's writing and where as Sleeping With The Enemy keeps its feet firmly rooted on the thriller path, Rose Madder is a thriller, horror and a fantasy novel all rolled into one with even a dash of romance for good measure!
King develops a scary psychotic character in Norman Daniels and the fact that meek Rose ends up having a few surprises in store herself may seem a somewhat predictable twist, however, I found this book a riveting read and as a Stephen King fan, I found this a diversion from the majority of his work, but a welcome one all the same and Rose Madder is one of the best things he has written in my opinion. Norman is a very effective character whom the reader will loathe right away. Indeed King doesn't waste anytime developing this menacing evil man and I can guarantee you will be wanting to see him get his comeuppance immediately after being introduced to him.
At the start of the book I quickly found sympathy for the weak character of Rose and yes you will find yourself asking why does she put up with the beatings and abuse from Norman for so long? Why doesn't she leave earlier than she does? However the reality is that it isn't all that simple. Ask anyone who has been in an abusive relationship why they didn't leave or why it took so long to leave and you will find the reality is it isn't always as simple as those who have never suffered at the hands of an abusive partner would maybe think it is.
As Rose finally makes her escape and finds the help and support she desperately needs, things begin to look up but King lets us know that danger is never too far away and although I found myself hoping her husband would not catch up with her, I also realised that if he didn't, then there would be no story. And you should beware that the story is at times quite horrific and brutally described. This is Stephen King after all and Rose Madder isn't just a 'good triumps over evil' story.
Rose Madder is both a thriller and a horror cleverly fused together to make a compelling story which is quite unlike the other Stephen King novels I have read. I think that even those who are not fans of Stephen King's horror novels but enjoy a good thriller would find they enjoy this book. I highly recommend Rose Madder.
I brought Rose Madder for 20p from the charity shop last week, I only got it because I had an appointment with loads of hanging around so I wanted something to read while I was waiting. I think some of Stephen Kings books are good but aren't mad on him as an author so I was kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed Rose Madder.
It's about a woman called Rose Daniels, she is married to a policeman called Norman and he gives her a bad life and is very abusive. She finally plucks up the courage to leave him but only after he has put her into hospital loads of times, caused her to have a miscarriage and left her with such painful kidneys that she has trouble standing up.
Rose goes into a hostel and gets on so well that eventually they find her a job and a place to live. It's only a bedsit but Rose is happy to have her own place to live and finally begins to think that she has escaped Norman after all. So she buys a painting, it's a weird painting that shows the back of a woman looking across at a ruined building..... but that's not the only thing that's weird about it and Rose soon discovers that she can actually go INTO the painting for help with defeating Norman, who HAS come looking for her after all.
I thought the story was brill, it's upsetting reading about what Rose went through with Norman but as the book goes on that makes it a very exciting story and I couldn't help hoping Rose would beat him in the end. It's not obvious through the book how it's going to end and as you're reading you realise it could go either way, even though you hope Rose will end up being OK it's a long road for her and I think the way Stephen King wrote about her emotions was brill.
Rose is a brill character because she's a friendly woman but has kind of been beaten into submission by Norman. He is EVIL and that comes through whenever he comes into a chapter, it's like he is possessed by something because when you're reading about the things he does it doesn't seem right that a normal bloke could act like that or have that sort of power over people. He's deffo a bully, but he's MORE than that and is cruel to people for the sake of it and it's like he thinks he can only get his own way by hurting everyone he comes into contact with.
When Norman realises Rose has got a new boyfriend he is sooooooo angry that I was hoping he was never going to get his hands on her because it was obvious that he wasn't only going to kill them...... but he was going to cause as much pain and torture as he could before they died. I had come to really like Rose and thought of her as a real person, the writing is so good in this book.
I think this is more of a thriller than a horror, there are supernatural bits about it and LOADS of blood and guts through the book but overall I felt like it was a bit of a cat and mouse game with Norman being evil and sick but not a demon or anything. But then when Norman finds a bull mask the book does get to be more of a horror than anything and certain bits of it deffo made me shiver and even feel a bit sick sometimes.
This is one of the best Stephen King books I've read and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for something interesting to read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The wife beating aspect will probably put a lot of people off because it's very nasty at times but it made for a wicked story and actually made me think about real life women who are suffering at the hands of men like Norman.
I have never read any of Steven King's novels, but I decided to start reading them. I didn't want to start off with anything too scary, so I picked Rose Madder.
Rose Madder is about a lady whose being abused by her Police man husband. She leaves him one day and ventures out into the world on her own after fourteen years of being in an abusive relationship. The story goes on as she makes her life her own again, but her husband is a brilliant tracker and he is determined to find her. He is a violent and sick man who will do anything to get his wife back.
The story gets interesting when Rose finds a painting that she likes, which has a name on the back of it saying "Rose Madder." She becomes attached to it whilst in the shop and she cannot take her eyes off it, so she gets it.
I found this book to be very readable and I could not put it down for a second. Steven King is a brilliant author. If all his books are as good as this one, then I will read more of them.
He is a strange writer, but still curiously brilliant in his own way. I would recommend Rose Madder to anyone who is a fan of Steven King.
This book never sold particularly well, indeed I believe it is the lowest selling of all his books, but I don't really understand why, it is a very good (if somewhat strange) book.
King uses a style here he has used many times before and since. The first half of the book is a real-life situation, then we start to see supernatural features, then it gets weird! (In a good way)
As I said, it starts out with a real-life situation. Rose is a badly beaten wife, one day, a day like any other she is making their bed when she sees a spot of blood. That triggers something and she finally gets the courage to run. She flees to a big city where she finds a women shelter. Her husband takes it badly, and follows her, he is angry....
The book takes a twist to the supernatural when Rose sees a painting in a thrift shop, a painting with her name on the back, a painting that creates a portal to another world.
This is a great book. The first part is somewhat upsetting, but you will cheer for Rose when she finally leaves her monster. The second is scary in a rather typical King style. Top book.
Stephen King's novels are nothing if not varied. Whether it be the pure horror of a Pet Sematary or Cujo or the post apocalyptic visions of The Stand and The Dark Tower series no one could ever accuse him of not trying anything new. Rose Madder is another digression from the horror genre for King as it is not a traditional thriller/schlock horror book to which many associate King with. Told in the first person our story follows a woman called Rose Daniel?s. After several years of physical and mental abuse from her husband Norman (a highly respected policeman) she finally snaps after losing her baby due to yet another severe beating. Running away with just his credit card and the clothes on her back Rose tries to find a new life for herself in another town. Will she succeed or will Norman track her down and punish her for daring to defy him? This is an intriguing story in that Rose appears as such a weak character at first and as a reader it is initially difficult to find sympathy with her plight. Why does she not just leave? She has no family or friends so what keeps her there? However, the more you read the more you become to admire Rose. Fleeing to a new city and adopting a new lifestyle you start to really root for her. She is living in a home for battered wives and is trying to rebuild her life through plain old hard work. Her strength of character is plain to see and belies everything King initially led us to believe. I found myself hoping Norman wouldn't find her and hoped the book would continue to be a story of Rose's attempts to find her way. This all sounds like traditional thriller territory thus far. However, the story takes a wild change of direction as it goes on. This all centres around a strange oil painting of a woman called Rose Madder which Rose feels she must own. It is here King draws us into a world of fantasy and Greek mythology with references to the famous Minotaur and the labyrinth. <
br>King has a penchant for including history and myth in his novels and this is no different. Were King is successful is that it all seems so plausible. One minute I think I am reading a thriller novel about abuse the next I am whisked off into a fantasy world. Were this novel also succeeds is in the effectiveness of its villain. Unlike other King novels, which point to the supernatural or unearthly forces (although there is mention of this in the story), Norman is just a plain old human with psychopathic tendencies. His deviousness and amoral attitude led me to loathe him intensely. I was distraught at the possibility of this madman catching up with poor old Rose and the stalking of her left me sick with worry (sad but when I get into a book I really do!) As always King weaves a good and a complex tale and in some ways this detracts from the story. I finished the book slightly disappointed as it was almost like reading two books at once because of the changing styles throughout. One minute it was a thriller, the next a love story, then horror and fantasy with a little drama thrown in for good measure. The description ranges from the disturbing ("the blood on her panties as she miscarries following another beating") to the horrific ("Rot swelled across the upper swell of her bosom; her neck was as purple black as a strangulation victim) and for me this is King's main weakness his stories often surpass his powers to describe. However, I did enjoy this book and would read it again. Not sure whom it would appeal too as it is not a horror or thriller and sits somewhere in between. King fans may be disappointed whereas others may be pleasantly surprised by the change in tack and slower pace compared to other "horror" novels. So non-King fans give it a go! Boring bits for those who need to know! Published in 1995 by Hodder & Stoughton Retails in paperback at £6.99 or Hardback
at the ridiculously expensive £16.99 A long novel at 466 pages. Available in all major bookstores but I picked up the hardback version in a charity shop for £1.50!
What can I say?? If I said what I thought of the book this would be a very boring opinion, yet another classic from the pen of Stephen King. I sat down to read this book for the second time three nights ago and from the first paragraph I was hooked. The story is about a woman (Rose) who is seriously abused by her police officer husband (Norman), he has beaten her so badly that her kidneys are damaged; she has suffered a miscarriage and two broken ribs during the fourteen years that she has been married to him. She goes on to leave her husband taking with her his bank card. This is the chilling story of how he follows her halfway across America It is also the story of the new life she makes for herself, her new job and her new relationship. A main focus in the book is a painting she acquires from a second hand shop which seems to come alive and eventually saves her life when her husband who is by then suffering from schizophrenia eventually catches up with her not caring who he has to kill to get there. During the course of the book you will get to know and love many characters, from the friendly guy in eh bus depot (Peter Slovik) to Anna Stevenson who runs the shelter which Rose eventually finds. The people she works with the contracts she is offered and the man she starts her new life with. A riveting read which will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Although the ending was rather a let down, it went on to describe Roses wedding the birth of her children. I don?t feel there is much more can be said without ruining the story but I do guarantee it a worth while read to anyone who likes to be gripped by a story, it is one of Stephen King?s best efforts so far in my opinion.
Throughout the eighties I was a massive Stephen King fan and loved his earlier novels. During the nineties his style seemed to change, his plots became harder to understand, his writing didn't flow as well and I found it harder to get into what I expected to be good reads. Disappointed, I transferred my affection to Dean Koontz whose work reminded me of the earlier atmospheric, spine chilling and easy to read King novels. During the last few years I haven't had much time for reading, a pity because for many years I was in the habit of reading one or more book every week and it was one of my favourite ways to relax. Lately I've freed up a bit more leisure time and a trip to the library led me to borrowing Stephen King's Rose Madder. The gap from reading novels has I think enabled me to look at King with fresh eyes and without my earlier disappointment. King builds up feeling for the main characters in the short first chapter well. We have the husband Norman, a policeman and a total monster calling an ambulance for his downtrodden wife Rose who is cowering in the corner suffering a miscarriage after a brutal beating and not for the first time. All because he wasn't happy with her reading a light hearted novel. His callousness is apparent as he leaves her crumpled in pain to make a sandwich for himself while humming ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ before bothering to call an ambulance. While I was made to feel anger at Norman, Rose I felt desperately sorry for and wanted to see her fight back. You wonder why she has silently suffered brutal treatment from Norman for 14 years without even putting some ground up glass in his meals or on his toothbrush, but then you know from life and Kings words that frightened women like Rose become so undermined and demoralised that they just let it happen and brutality becomes an unpleasantly normal way of life. Years l ater, another beating and a drop of bloo
d on her bedding changes all that. Rose walks out of the house with only her husband’s credit card and starts a new life 550 miles away. I’m not sure how true to life that bit is. If that was me I would have bunged some clothes into a suitcase and any items that could be sold to help me to get as far away from the beast as possible, but then I haven’t lived the life of the Roses of this world. Although only used once for a withdrawal of $350, the credit card is the means that King introduced for Norman to start to trace Rose. Throughout the book we are given more clues to Norman’s beastlike character, all helping to create a healthy disgust in the man. We find out that he is a murderer and that he likes biting his victims, he hates women and you know that if he asks anybody to come up close because he wants to talk to them he will do a lot more than that. Three coincidences made the story less believable for me. A visit to a pawn shop finds Rose a fit man to fall in love with, a job recording talking books that pays mega bucks, and a weird picture of a woman with Rose Madder written on the back. Ok you can understand the introduction of a man who may or may not turn out to be a knight in shining armour. Rose needed a job to pay her way but it would have been more realistic for somebody who is trying to hide from a cop who has the resources to trace her to trawl cafes and restaurants looking for cash in hand and anonymity. The addition of the picture and trying to turn what could have been a damned good thriller into a horror story was unnecessary for me and I almost stopped reading at that point. It’s hard writing this without giving too much of the story away but my favourite bit, Norman’s encounter with Gert had me cheering her on and feeling violent towards the man. During one of Norman’s attempts to find Rose he attacks a young woman behind some toilets i n a park. Gert, a very large woman
who teaches self-defence has a go and woops him. She ends up sitting on him and leaving a message for Rose - whose kidneys he has punched many times and damaged - by peeing on his face. Norman escapes to carry on his search by wearing a rubber bull mask, trapping the smell of pee and reminding him of the message. Norman quickly gets dottier and talks to the mask. He believes that the mask is talking back to him and helping him with the search that leaves a few more gruesomely treated victims behind. Those bits seemed a bit silly but I guess that they were included to show readers just how dangerously nutty Norman was becoming. CONCLUSION I enjoyed reading Rose Madder but I found Roses character a bit bland throughout most of the book. King doesn’t give much insight into her and I would have liked to see him enlarge on her feelings and thoughts more to help me to build up more of an empathy with the character apart from pity. There was little of the suspense that I would have expected from Kings novels and I felt a little disappointed that more advantage hadn’t been taken of Normans ‘moments’. Most of those were blanked out or glossed over by Norman having blank spells. As I thought half way through, the inclusion of the picture and a hint at the supernatural was unnecessary and didn’t do the book any favours. I felt like skipping those parts because they just added tosh to what would have been a very good read without them. The book wasn’t frightening in the horror sense that I like, but it is frightening to think that men like Norman may exist in the real world. My favourite line from the book comes when Rose is trying to believe that she might have a chance for a new life … if there could actually be a real life where real people walked out of their prisons, turned right … and walked into heaven. I'm glad th at I read Rose Madder and will
almost certainly read some of the Stephen King books that I've missed, maybe even re-read some of the ones that I enjoyed years ago.
Rose, the main character in Rose Madder, by Stephen King, is in a bad situation. Her husband, a police officer, beats her. He caused her to have a miscarriage. Finally, after 14 years of marriage, she gets the idea to leave him. But he can't leave her alone. He uses all his available resources to find her. But what he doesn't expect is for her to have changed. She has made a network of close friends who protect her. She comes into ownership of an odd painting, which turns out to be the key of her husband's undoing. This book is very suspenseful and not for children. King makes Rose so loveable that readers have no choice but to be on her side. This novel is a little shorter than his others, but he still manages to make readers check under their beds and in their closets for the monsters before finally going to sleep.
This book is quite difficult to put down once you get into it. This is one of Kings best moral plays. Centred around Rose who is battered by her husband. She leaves her husband to try and start a new life but he follows her. Most of the book follows the husbands pursuit and Rose finding help from some useful friends. This is good departure from some of Kings previous books with similar character classes. The evil husband is portrayed well througout but the book also incorporates a mixture of horror, black comedy and fantasy which will not bide well for King horror purists. All in all a different concept from King
I read this book thinking it would be of a similar vein to other King novels I had read. How wrong I was! The story revolves around a woman named Rose who, after suffering awful abuse from her husband, decides one day to run away and start again. And so she does, but is terrified that he will find her. She goes to a womens hostel, then to a home of her own and begins her new life. but of course, the husband comes after her - he is a policeman and devotes his time to tracking her down. A few murders later, and he finds her. But all is not how it seems - for a strange force is at work to help Rose beat her demons and escape her brutal abusive husband forever. I cannot really delve into the story much more without giving away a huge chunk of the plot. What I liked about this book was the way in which the issue of domestic violence was broached. Obviously Stephen King did a lot of research into this issue, and it was broached in a very indepth manner. I do not know whether that was intentional or not, but it was very well done. However, I would beg you not to be put off by this issue, as the book goes much further than that and is well worth reading.
Rose Madder is a brilliant read, its terrifying real on the whole but descends entirely in to the depths of the supernatural by the end. The main character is an abused wife who finally wakes up one morning and leaves her husband. What follows is her desperate attempts to rebuild her life and forget the horrors of her marriage but her crazed husband is never far behind and is very thirsty for revenge. Rose Madder is suberbly written , the characters shine throughout the book and it is impossible not to be captivated by them. Unlike some King books much of Rose Madder is centred around the gritty reality of life and all the things we'd rather not think about. In his portrayal of Norman , King creates a hugley scary bad guy, who is as realistic as he is evil. I found myself easily drawn in to the classic tale of cat and mouse, and totally unable to stop turning the pages. I felt the book was let down only by the supernatural elements which were fantastical, and spoiled the excellant portrayal of an abused wifes struggle to free herself from her brutal and sadistic husband.
Once again, even with all of his other successes, Stephen King has created a book in Rose Madder that stands out from the rest of his body of work. Rose and Norman and the changes that take place in them as this book progresses are not characters that I will soon be able to forget. This novel takes you on a journey through a few months of an abused woman's life, and as your reward for sticking out and continuing to read past the painful details, you are allowed to watch the character of Rose transform herself from a frightened woman sitting alone in a rocking chair to a brave and strong woman who defends herself and those she loves. Its truly an amazing transformation. Yet, at the same time I was cheering for Rose and wanting her to get free of Norman, somehow - despite all the horrible things he did throughout the entire novel, in the end, when Norman was running around lost and scared and flashing back to incidents with his father, I found myself developing understanding for his character - not acceptance or approval, but understanding as to why he was the way he was. To me, the fact that I was even able to feel an ounce of pity for Norman's character at the end is a true testament to the genius of Stephen King's writing.