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Rose Madder

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  88,877 ratings  ·  2,221 reviews
Rose Daniels saw the single drop of blood on the bed sheet and knew she must escape from her macabre marriage before it was too late.

But escape was not as easy as fleeing to a new city, picking a new name, finding a new job, lucking out with a new man. Her husband, Norman, was a cop, with a cop's training, a cop's technology, a cop's bloodhound instincts. And e
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Signet (first published June 1995)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  88,877 ratings  ·  2,221 reviews

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Colleen Hoover
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My book club read this book last month. This is how book club went basically:

Joy: Colleen, what was your favorite part of this book?

Me: Well, Joy, I'll get to that in a few, but would anyone like some chocolate? (Passes around a bowl of chocolate until they are all staring at me expectantly. Reluctantly continues.) You know, Joy, Stephen King never disappoints. Every time I turned the page, there were more words that formed sentences. The kind of sentences that make up all of Stephe
3.5 Stars

If you can handle a story of horrific abuse, Hannibal Lector's idea of a tasty dinner, and haunted dreams from the beyond, you're going to love ROSE MADDER.

Norman "Bates" Daniels is a lunatic cop with a foul mouth and a sick, evil mind, and for wife Rose, a life of fear and pain begins the night of her honeymoon.......for the reader, it's almost immediate and a real shocker.

Unprepared, terrified and alone, after 14 long years of living in hell, Rose finally flees for her life knowing full well he will never stop searching.

ROSE MADDER is an intense thrisearching.




Johann (jobis89)
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It ain't the blows we're dealt that matter, but the ones we survive."

A single drop of blood causes Rose McClendon to come to the realisation that her husband might actually kill her. So she ups and leaves him, setting off to a new city...

I always get really excited for the King novels where the main protagonist is a female as I've a pretty good track record with them - Lisey's Story, Dolores Claiborne, Gerald's Game etc. I'm pretty sure these were all 5 star reads for me
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thriller fans, horror fans
Shelves: horror, thriller
Probably my favorite King book, Rose Madder contains some of his creepiest imagery and the best characterization of a woman that he's managed thus far. It's hard not to get involved in Rosie's problems as she runs from a horrifically abusive marriage. The supernatural horror aspect of the story doesn't even enter into it until fairly late in the book; King gives you the chance to watch Rosie grow and change, and to set the stage for what will happen next.

Definitely the one I would loan to
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s a reason why King is one of the best writers around.
Even when the stories aren’t the strongest, it’s the strength of the characters that help propel the constant reader through.

Straight from the prologue where the novel introduces young Rosie Daniels most shockingly brutal attack from her husband Norman, the reader instantly roots for her to leave this domestic hell.
It not until years later after constant abuse that Rosie spots a drop of blood on her bedding that the r
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“The concept of dreaming is known to the waking mind but to the dreamer there is no waking, no real world, no sanity; there is only the screaming bedlam of sleep.”

Stephen King can be downright weird with surprises he leaves for the reader. For the bulk of the book, it's an interesting story of an abused woman escaping her sadistic and tormenting husband. The main character is a sympathetic lead who doesn't indulge in melodrama or denial, but comes across realistically written when she escapes
I just met crazy rivaling that of Annie Wilkes. Norman Daniels. He’s a special kind of nut.

Turns out this book was better than I had anticipated. Maybe that’s due to low expectations, seeing that many put this one towards the bottom of their personal King ratings. Introducing a preternatural painting within a story about spousal abuse is “out there”, maybe more so than his other books. But isn’t that what King does so well? The painting did not necessarily overwhelm the narrative. It
Edward Lorn
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephen King fans
Recommended to Edward by: Mom
Now I remember why I didn't like this the first time I read it. It wears out its welcome a good 60 pages before the end. We get our denouement, and then we're made to wade through a goodly chunk of book before we can call it done.

Still, Rose Madder is okay. I think what keeps this book pretty middle of the road for me is Norman Daniels, our cliched villain. King has three types of male antagonists: women beaters, child molesters, and racists. Norman Daniels suffers from the former and the latter whil
Mar 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, star-3
This is definately my least favorite of the King books I've read so far. I simultaniously loved and hated this book. There were no parts that I just liked...seriously I was either loving it or hating it. Clearly since I gave it 3 stars I loved more parts then I hated.

First the good stuff. As usual Kings take on a crazy person is always amazing and terrifying. My first King book was Misery and I just love his crazy villians.

I was actually getting a little bored with the book until Ro
Ashley Daviau
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think Rose Madder just became one of my top ten favourite King books. I’ve read it before and loved it but something about it this time around really struck a chord. It felt like it upped and punched me in the gut and it hurt SO good! There’s a little bit of everything in this one; horror, suspense, fantasy. And it’s all absolutely delicious and I devoured it. Rosie is such a kickass female character, I am absolutely in love with her and I think she might tie Susannah as my favourite female Ki ...more
Bri | bribooks
Stephen King once famously proclaimed himself the Big Mac and fries of literature — meaning his works are popular and enjoyable, albeit perhaps lacking in nourishment. I heartily disagree with that assessment, for the most part. Novels such as IT, Dolores Claiborne, and The Dead Zone are intricate, multi-layered masterstrokes; methinks King is too modest in regards to his own creations.

However. . . the Maine author's observation does hold true in a few select cases. Christine is a barrel of fun, but it certainly offers
Thomas Strömquist
The 31st book in my long-term Stephen King reading project and the first one I had never read before. Considering common opinion (including King's own) and my friends views, I enjoyed more than I thought I would. However, it's far from without issues.

For a long time I had a vague idea about men like Rose's husband. I imagined that somewhere along the way something went wrong and what causes the rest of us to behave like human beings was lost in them. The abundance of them made me refine my theo
Nick Iuppa
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Stewart
Great suspense. Wife runs from her abusive husband who is now tracking her.

The first 10% is Rose living with Norman. They’ve been married fourteen years. He bites, stabs, and punches her. (Most of this harm is told rather than shown so it’s a little less painful for the reader.) The next 80% is Rose leaving Norman, surviving with help from an organization, meeting someone, and Norman’s search for her. The organization helps abused women on the run. The women in the
Abbie | ab_reads
A blend of horrific reality and mythical fantasy, Rose Madder came out of the left field and surprised me in the best way! I've seen a lot of less-than-positive reviews of this particular King, but I loved it. I loved the Greek mythology references, I loved the main character Rosie McClendon, I loved the raw, brutal story, everything!

The prologue really sets the tone for the rest of the novel, it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to read. It's not for the fainthearted and the
Timbo  Jones
Aug 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is without a doubt the worst Stephen King book I've read. Why he felt the need to add the fantasy element in I don't know, but I found it absolutely ridiculous.

Norman Daniels (the psychopath husband) was almost a caricature more than a character. A purely evil, hateful man with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, yet we're expected to believe this psycopath functions perfectly well in the police force and is a highly decorated detective? Trying to imagine this man being sympathet
Brent Soderstrum
This contains both the good and bad (well not really bad) of Stephen King. I really loved the part of the book where he descibes Rose's relationship with her abusive husband, how she breaks away finally from that and then runs away from him across the country. Norman, a police officer hunts Rose down and begins to eliminate those who try to interfere with his pursuit of his wife. Great characters who are described in depth.

The bad part of the book begins with the painting Rose buys f
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Rose Madder is part of a group of King books I had yet not read. Well, I'm glad I did. Like his best efforts, it is character driven. And in Rose Daniels/McClendon King supplies one of the best characters in all the books I've read by him. On the dark side of things, her abusive husband is one of his darkest villains. What makes both so interesting is that they are also complex. Rose, whose innocence covers a core of rage; and Norman, who for all of his brutality, is ultimately pathetic. What King off ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and a half
The best thing about the book was perhaps the beginning. Inspite of being an author of the horror genre King brought out the brutality of domestic abuse so terrifyingly well. I remember beads of sweat collecting on my forehead while reading the opening.
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
This is Stephen King so of course I did enjoy it, simply because I love his writing, but I don't think this is one of his best.
The story of an abused woman finally leaving her husband and him going after her is a good premise. For me, I just aren't convinced that the "supernatural" aspect of the story added anything extra. It was entertaining enough for me without the "magic" painting and everything that came with that.
I did enjoy the way in which the author portrayed Rose. She began
Megan Lucas
While reading this book I kept forgetting that it was a Stephen King novel. It has it's twists and turns (as his usual work does) but this was so much more than good vs. evil. Rose Madder is an emotional account of an abused woman who is trying to break free from a tormenting life, and has what is portrayed as a psychological break through as she goes on a journey to be free. King also touches on the downfalls of the system that fails to protect women from situations like Rose is in. Unfortunate ...more
It's a 3.7. Better than the last time I read it. Norman Daniels is really, really scary. I don't think the supernatural elements in this work nearly as well as they usually do for King. And the final third of the novel is the weakest for me. That's always a bummer.
Rose Madder explores the human elements of horror with a focus on the fantastical as the torrid topic of domestic violence and one women’s plight to rid her from all forms of mental and physical abuse drives the plot in this distinctly unnerving novel by Stephen King.

The protagonist, Rosie, embraces new situations with a sense of trepidation and almost bewildered wonderment as she attempts to build a life post Norman – her abusive cop husband. The characterization of Rosie is as well defined an
Started out really strong. Then it lost me once Rosie stepped into the painting. I think this book would have been much better without the paranormal aspect added to it. Plus once the bad guy is taken care of towards the end the story should have quickly wrapped up. Unfortunately it didn't. It continued for a good minute after that. After such a long audiobook I just wanted it to be over already.
Pamela Trawick
Not my usual kind of book. I loved the writing. I could have done without the fantasy part, but the entire book and title hinged upon it.
Branwen *of House Targaryen*
The whole world is waking up, she thought. It isn't just me. She stayed where she was for a moment longer, like an animal which has been kept in a cage so long it cannot believe in freedom even when it is offered. She reached behind her and touched the know of the door-the door that led into her cage.

"No more", she whispered. She tucked her purse under one arm and took her first dozen steps into the fogbank which was now her future.

After surviving fourteen years in an abusive marri
Ruth Turner
Audiobook – Narrated by Blair Brown – Just an ok narration.

I don’t particularly care for female narrators so Blair Brown really wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was at the “almost ready to give up” stage when who should drop by and join the cast? The author himself (he wasn't listed as narrator). What a great surprise and the only reason I finished listening to the audio.


Ebook: 4**** (Better than a 3 but not quite a 4)

I hated the first part of th
Madiha Riaz
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Madiha by: My sister
A fine example of books that start out brilliantly, lose the grip somewhere in between, and just go downhill from there. I cannot believe I finished it. My only motivation behind finishing it was to find out if the end is really what I was thinking of. And no, it was worse.

An abused wife runs away from home; the descriptive scenes, the in-depth psychological insights about the male and female protagonists were just awesome. They hooked to me the book. And I had heard so much about St
Brian Schwartz
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Other than LISEY'S STORY, ROSE MADDER is the worst book Stephen King ever published. It fails to deliver and is not well written at all.

The story works on one level. The story of an abused woman rebuilding her life while, unknown to her, she’s being pursued by her crazy husband is tenable. It falls apart when King contorts his story to make room for the supernatural element which was under developed and poorly conceived.

King tries to make the woman in the painting seem powerful. But with zero
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Adult thriller (?) Woman leaves abusive husband, husband then goes to hunt her down. [s] 5 35 Jan 31, 2019 11:32AM  
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What's the name of that book? 3 13 Jul 01, 2018 09:33AM  
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Around the Year i...: Rose Madder, by Stephen King 10 35 Jul 21, 2017 12:45AM  
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
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“The concept of dreaming is known to the waking mind but to the dreamer there is no waking, no real world, no sanity; there is only the screaming bedlam of sleep.” 58 likes
“It's best to be ruthless with the past.” 38 likes
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