My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Blurb from Goodreads
Paul was led into a life of crime by his boyhood protector, a bully named Daniel; but one night, what started as a petty theft turned into a grisly murder. Now, at nineteen, Paul must bear witness against his friend to avoid prison. Louisa's own dark secrets led her to flee a desperate infatuation gone wrong many years before. Now she spends her days steeped in history, renovating the grounds of a crumbling Elizabethan garden. But her fragile peace is shattered when she meets Paul; he's the spitting image of the one person she never thought she'd see again.
These two, scarred and solitary, begin a secret affair. Louisa starts to believe she can again find the happiness she had given up on. But neither of them can outrun his violent past.
A story of secrets and guilt set among the ruins of a sixteenth- century English garden, The Dark Rose explores the extremes of obsessive love and loyalty, devotion and desperation. Like Kelly's critically acclaimed debut novel, The Poison Tree, this fantastically creepy, atmospheric novel thrills until the final shocking moments.
Paul is in trouble with the police and he is going down for it, unless he reveals what happened and gives up his accomplice. After becoming the one thing you never do in a rough estate Paul is under protection and relocated where he meets Louisa. Louisa has a big secret in her past and keeps herself reserved, low key and interaction minimal, until Paul arrives. Paul reminds her of a past she would rather forget, they both have big secrets to hide however it could be the one thing that brings them together or puts them both at risk.
I quite liked the story, it splits into chapters between each of them and skips between time periods of present and back to the past that led to their secret past. The jumps in time periods as well as characters took a bit of getting used to. The suspense and mystery that surrounds what happened in their past was drawn out just a bit too long for me.
I liked the contrast of Louisa then and Louisa now and the story unraveling to show what happened to make her the way she is. The end was unexpected and I think it will be loved or hated, no in between. I quite liked it however I felt there was a few unanswered questions left and a few things happened really fast after a fairly sedate pace. Despite a few issues I did quite like the story and would dance with this author again, 3/5 for me.