At the turn of the twentieth century, Ellen Rimbauer became the young bride of Seattle industrialist John Rimbauer, and began keeping a remarkable diary. This diary became the secret place where Ellen could confess her fears of the new marriage, her confusion over her emerging sexuality, and the nightmare that her life would become. The diary not only follows the development of a girl into womanhood, it follows the construction of the Rimbauer mansion called Rose Redan enormous home that would be the site of so many horrific and inexplicable tragedies in the years ahead. The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red is a rare document, one that gives us an unusual view of daily life among the aristocracy in the early 1900s, a window into one woman’s hidden emotional torment, and a record of the mysterious events at Rose Red that scandalized Seattle society at the time events that can only be fully understood now that the diary has come to light. Edited by Joyce Reardon, Ph.D. as part of her research, the diary is being published as preparations are being made by Dr. Reardon to enter Rose Red and fully investigate its disturbing history.
Book Review: ★★★★★★
This book is an interesting read. From the very beginning it is presented in such a way that the reader is never really sure if they are reading a work of fiction, or an actual presentation of fact. The author has done a superb job of creating a captivating mystery through the means of the supposed diary of one Mrs. Ellen Rimbauer — the wife of a 20th century industrialist.
While the story presents an intimate look into a perverse sham of a marriage between Ellen, and her husband, John Rimbauer, the reader realizes almost from the beginning that this marriage is simply the sideline of the story. The real relationship of significance is that of the relationship of Ellen and the house built by her husband — symbolically named Rose Red.
The home is an enormous monstrosity that is built in the Washington area, and is never fully completed. From beginning to end the mystery that surrounds this house is more of a supernatural entity — as opposed to a passing phenomenon. Supposedly built on the site of an old Indian burial ground — desiccated, for the sake of the rise of this immense house — the consequences are of lasting proportion. The house takes on a life entity of its own — and seeks a means to continue living through the sacrifices made to it.
The book is well written, but I found that it was irritating in the beginning, as the first 60 pages dealt with nothing but the perverse sexual proclivities between John Rimbauer, and his new wife. As well as the alluded to liaisons between Mr. Rimbauer and just about every other woman he comes in contact with — leaving one with the impression that this young woman — 20 years Mr. Rimbauer’s junior — is married to a man of insatiable appetites. And while the scenes are not explicit — they are tiresome, as they have little bearing on the overall story — that of the house, and its obsessive attachment to this young new wife. The only thing these scenes offer to the story is the catalyst that becomes the bizarre connection between Ellen Rimbauer, and Rose Red. But for a year of the life of this entire history was excessive — especially since this same theme is continued throughout the rest of the story. It doesn’t take that many passages to get the idea of what type of man John Rimbauer was.
However, as a separate entity from the movie created from this story, the book was a refreshing read. It was a separate story line from that taken in the movie — the movie providing a continuation of the book — not a remake of the same. A building on, and adding depth to the book, without trying to supplant, or even compete with the original story. The book, and the movie can be experienced simultaneous — or in conjunction with each other, without detracting from either.
This story contains all of the suspense, and very little in predictability, which makes for an excellent mystery. There are even websites that have been attached to the book, which have turned this piece of fiction into a little bit of a cult classic. The story is worth the read — and for those that enjoy the mystery genre, this one provides a change from the traditional murder mystery.
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In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. — John Steinbeck, East of Eden