The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking • $26.95 • on sale February 6, 2012


I know it's only October, but I was so excited when I learned that Erin Kelly has a new book coming out in February, I had to give a shout-out here. Kelly's debut, The Poison Tree, was one of my favorite thrillers of the year. It's about a friendship-gone-wrong, and you can read more about it in a What We're Reading blog post from a year ago, or in a review in BookPage.

Her follow-up, The Dark Rose, is just as creepy (filled with characters that are just as obsessive). In it, Paul and Louisa start a secret affair against the backdrop of an old Elizabethan garden. Paul was involved in a murder and ratted out his friend to avoid prison—and Louisa has some secrets of her own surrounding a man from her past named Adam. Louisa is renovating the garden, and she meets Paul when he's appointed to work there after his confession. They are connected from the moment they meet, because Paul looks eerily like Adam.

Here's an excerpt, from when Louisa first sees Paul (and mistakes him for Adam):

Louisa turned her attention back to the ruin. No matter how many times she saw it she could never quite commit the pattern of its stalagmites to memory. She let her hands trail along the damp walls, fingers lingering in ancient graffiti faded to indecipherable rune marks, wondering as ever who had stood here before her, what they had seen, and how faithfully she would be able to re-create their view. How light her workload would be if walls had mouths as well as ears, if these old stones could guide her through her project.

She did not expect anyone else to be up on the knoll and turned a bind corner without looking, head butting a chest that was at her eye level. She took a step back and so did he, his automatic "Sorry" gaining hers. Louisa raised her eyes. The apology died on her lips as she looked into the face of Adam Glasslake.

She gulped air that was like ice water, as though she'd been running on a freezing day. Her first thought was that the strength of her longing had finally called him into being, that she had conjured his spirit. For a ghost it had to be: Adam had not aged a day, and automatically, pathetically, she put her hand up to her own cheek, conscious of how different she must look to him, how old. But his breath misted the air like hers did, and his chest, when it collided with her forehead, had been warm. This was no face in a cloud, no phantom reflection. Confused, frightened, she flattened herself against the uneven wall, fingers splayed against the stone. Adam looked even more terrified than she.


What are you reading today? Will you look for The Dark Rose in February?

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