Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red by Ridley Pearson

The second in a string of media tie-ins for Luke Reviews, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red acts as a prequel to the Stephen King mini-series Rose Red, eventually becoming a TV mini-series in its own right.  After publication the book was revealed to have been written by Ridley Pearson, famed thriller author.  Having never read a novel by Pearson before, I had no idea what to expect in terms of quality or how well I'd like him, but based on his popularity, and the connection to a Stephen King work, I decided to give it a try.

In the early 1900s, Ellen becomes engaged to John Rimbauer, oil tycoon, and her life as Mrs. Rimbauer.  However, John turns out to be a very dominating, domineering husband, who uses his wife for whatever ends he wants, and cares for her no more than for her ability to provide him with a male heir.    As they travel on a year long honeymoon of world wide proportions, Ellen becomes deathly ill from a disease John picked up during one of his many nightly visits with the native women.  However, she is nursed by guide, nursemaid, and eventually sister-like friend, Sukeena.  Sukeena helps Ellen through her pregnancy with her first child, Adam, and continues on work with Ellen when the Rimbauers return to their palatial mansion, soon to be known as Rose Red.

Throughout the building of Rose Red, many strange and violent occurrences fraught the building process, including murders, grave diggings, and disappearances, lending Rose Red a haunted atmosphere that it more than lives up to upon completion.  Throughout the diary, we are treated to all of the events as they affect Ellen, working the epistolary format to its best use.

While the book reads like the prequel to a movie at times, and the ending is very much open ended enough to lead right into the paranormal mysteries of Rose Red, it was still fun to read.  While looking forward to watching the mini-series on DVD, I hope that the book really adds to it.  For those not interested in the mini-series, this might be a fun, short diversion, but nothing substantial or stunning.


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