The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red Review
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Last year, I stumbled on Stephen King’s miniseries, “Rose Red,” one night while I was flipping channels. Fortunately, I only missed the first few minutes—because I was hooked right from the start. I lost sleep after each suspenseful installment, eagerly anticipating the next. But what really intrigued me—perhaps even more than the miniseries itself—was the Blair Witch-like hype built up around both the miniseries and this book, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red.

The book is said to be the true diary of an early twentieth-century Seattle socialite, Ellen Rimbauer, the wife of John Rimbauer, a wealthy businessman. The Rimbauers—as well as Dr. Joyce Reardon, the book’s editor—are fictional characters. And the university at which Reardon teaches paranormal studies, Beaumont University (which has its own web site), doesn’t exist, either. But readers aren’t given a single clue about the actual author’s identity. (Incidentally, I know, but I’m not telling—wouldn’t want to spoil the fun.) Isn’t that perfectly ingenious? I think so.

In her diary, Ellen tells of her marriage to John, of the troubling things she finds out about her husband, and of the strange things that happen in their gigantic mansion, Rose Red—a house that appears to have a mind of its own. Built on old Indian burial grounds, Rose Red seems to be cursed from the beginning—when a man is killed on the day the foundation is first laid. And after the Rimbauers move in, more men are killed—and women disappear within the house’s walls. Though John won’t admit it, it appears that Rose Red is alive.

Throughout the book, Ellen gradually changes from a naïve nineteen-year-old girl to a vicious, obsessed woman, whose servants (not to mention her husband) believe her to be mostly insane.

The Diary... is anything but dull—and Ellen Rimbauer is anything but a stuffy, turn-of-the-century socialite. The book is filled with dark stories of “the other side”—of séances and visits to fortune tellers—as well as Ellen’s steamy encounters with both her husband and her African maid, Sukeena.

It’s a quick read—mostly because it’s difficult to put down. Perhaps the book has a mind of its own, too...

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