Wednesday 22 May 2019

Hit-and-run the trigger for gripping tale of two women

Fiction: Her Name Was Rose, Claire Allan, Avon €7.99

Her Name was Rose
Her Name was Rose

Margaret Madden

'It should have been me. I should have been the one who was tossed in the air by the impact of a car that didn't stop." Emily watches in horror as a woman is killed. Moments before, the two women had been chatting, and Emily believes she was the intended victim.

Fleeing the scene, she struggles to let go of Rose and soon becomes obsessed with her life - and her death.

Facebook facilitates this obsession and Emily clicks through the photos, status updates and comments.

Her new addiction becomes all the more real when she applies for Rose's newly-vacant position in a local dental practice.

It is where she first encounters Cian, Rose's husband.

Never revealing her role as a witness to the fatal collision, Emily becomes integrated into Rose's world and tries to ignore her own traumatic past: "I wanted a new beginning. A new start. Friends. A lover maybe."

However, this new life is based on lies and Rose's presence is ever-felt. "I felt like she was always watching me. Everywhere I looked she looked back. At work. Here. In my dreams."

Emily has her own memories to contend with and she begins to doubt that Rose was as perfect as people make out.

"Inside I was getting a little heart-sore of hearing about Saint Rose."

Allan cleverly adds chapters from Rose's point of view, allowing a fresh take on the narrative.

We learn how Rose found herself living the dream in her beautiful home - with her talented husband and beautiful baby son.

These chapters are dotted throughout the novel and add to the intrigue and suspense, which grips from the opening line. Emily is an unreliable narrator.

Recovering from a stressful past, she is attempting to patch up her broken life: "I stuffed the gaps with whatever I could find. First drink, then pills.

"They made the broken edges softer. They made it more bearable. Except they also made it worse."

Her Name Was Rose is a thrilling look at the lives and loves of two women.

They will get under your skin and they won't let go until the final page is turned.

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