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Rose Madder

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  97,398 ratings  ·  2,615 reviews
an alternate cover edition can be found here

Roused by a single drop of blood on the bedsheet, Rosie Daniels wakes from fourteen years of a nightmare marriage and suddenly takes flight. She uses her husband’s ATM card to buy a bus ticket, determined to lose herself in a place where Norman won’t find her. She’ll worry about all the rest later.

Alone in a strange city, she beg
Hardcover, 420 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Viking Adult (first published June 1995)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  97,398 ratings  ·  2,615 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 Stephen King's boo
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Readers be warned: Rose Madder opens with one of the most vivid scenes of violence I have ever read; harsh, brutal and heartbreaking in its ferocity.

This novel tells the compelling tale of an average, suburban housewife, Rosie Daniels, as she makes the decision to, and subsequently, leaves her vicious husband, Norman.

Admittedly, I started this book on two prior occasions and just couldn't make it past that first scene.

I literally found it to be mentally disturbing, therefore, I would put it do
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

Johann (jobis89)
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
"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! So I had high expectat
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thriller fans, horror fans
Shelves: thriller, horror
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 someon
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 realisation of this
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 in
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
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 added a dim
Edward Lorn
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
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 latte
Ashley Daviau
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 Rosie found he
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
I don't even know what to say about this one. It is fantastic. King combines the everyday horror that an abused woman goes through with actual horror (going to a different reality where a monster stalks you in a maze) and it works. I think that King can when he wants to write women very well. That's why it drives me up the wall when he drops the ball. The characters are vivid and I would have liked it if King gave a nod to them in his other books, but he does not. The writing at times get a bit ...more
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.
Cody | CodysBookshelf
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
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 organization have
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 there's a lot o
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 sympathetic and kind
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 4.5 stars, rounded up.

This is one of those King books I honestly didn’t expect much from. It’s not one commonly listed as a favorite, or even mentioned that frequently from among his works. I can’t say I would’ve thought to pick it up had I not been so invested in the extended reading list for the Dark Tower. But it was next on that list, so I found myself a copy. Now I’m incredibly glad I picked it up. Though not perfect, Rose Madder is now one of my favorite King novels outside
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ki ...more
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 for her new a
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: standalones, sept2020
4.5 Stars

A really powerful book! The first chapter of this book was horrible and disturbing and not for the faint hearted. King never fails to create the most despicable characters and this book is no different. The start of this book really is shocking and vivid and I did have to question if I wanted to read on but I am glad I did! More of a thriller than a horror I would say but…. Horrific all the same!

I will repeat that this isn’t for the faint-hearted really some of these intense reliving d
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.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and a half
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
This one is without doubt an old school Stephen King.
There is suspense and horrific things happen to people, there are dreamlike sequences and monsters both human and not. *Trigger warning* violent and sexual domestic abuse. Miscarriage of a baby due to this is described in the opening few chapters and it was tough going.
There are times of threat and pursuit which I found very scary and the imagery the author uses to add to the terror is excellent.
Stephen King tells a bloody good story and his
A wonderfully weighted book in the first two acts as King really gets into the underbelly of domestic abuse from victim to escapee. A hard read, but also with so much positivism, especially the impact and power of kindness and empathy. However, what ruins the book for me was the third act which shoots into magical realism, I kid you not! As I got older I got to tolerate and even understand King's rationale, but back when I first read this, I was soooo annoyed!

My 2005 review shot this up to 8 out
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how many times I have read this book, but this time I listened to it read by Blair Brown and Stephen King. I know I gave it five stars before, but I don't feel that is really enough. This book is fantastic! King is so very good at writing from the point of view of the "other." Here, he not only writes from the point of a woman who is a victim of horrific spousal abuse, but he also writes from the point of view of the abuser. I cannot even begin to imagine that Tabby would put up wit ...more
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
Jenny Baker
3.5 stars
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 Stephen King,
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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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