Rose Red is a haunted house with a disturbing past. The Seattle mansion was constructed at the turn of the 20th century. Oil magnate John Rimbauer built the house for his bride, Ellen.
From the early stages of construction, the house is rocked by tragedy and scandal. Murders, suicides and mysterious disappearances suggest Rose Red has a mind of its own, choosing who shall perish behind its walls.
Stephen King created a mini-series based on the Rimbauer domicile. Rose Red documents the work of Dr. Joyce Reardon in her attempt to unlock the secrets of the house before it's demolished. The troubled history of Rose Red and its inhabitants are the subjects of Dr. Reardon's life-long work. Her mentor vanished from the house thirty years prior and its been her obsession ever since.
In 1998, Dr. Reardon purchased Ellen Rimbauer's personal journal. The writings were authenticated and compiled for a publication titled The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red.
Excerpts featured in the book are dated 1907-1928. They begin with Ellen's pending engagement to John Rimbauer.
Readers are given a glimpse of the Seattle elite in the early 1900's. We see Ellen Rimbauer develop from a young bride to a tormented matriarch.
The diary entries gradually become darker and more daunting. Guests to Rose Red vanish and Ellen is afraid of her own home. Societal pressures keep her married to John Rimbauer. A devastating tragedy prevents her from permanently leaving the horrifying domain.
Aside from the house's frightening faults, Mrs. Rimbauer candidly discusses the cruel and sexually-twisted intentions of her once-admired husband. The diary includes recollections of explicit erotic acts and sexual ambiguity.
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer increases in disturbance until its abrupt end. There is an afterword by great-grandson Stephen Rimbauer as well as Joyce Reardon's editor's note. It is here that Ellen Rimbauer's final years are explained.
News Flash: Everything described up to this point is fiction. Only the mini-series creator is real, leaving questions regarding the authorship of the book (which were answered in mid-2002.)
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer is merely a physical prop of King's Rose Red mini-series. However, the book stands well on its own to a point.
The diary format gives readers a voyeuristic thrill. The entries are quite detailed, full of fear and sexual energy. Rose Red becomes more and more frightening up to the final page. After reading the book, you'll want to see the mini-series, meaning the tie-in succeeds in its intentions.
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer would make an excellent horror story if developed further. A little more attention to the characters and the house as a being could have easily scared readers without the television tie-in crutch.
As it is, this fictitious diary, written by a fictitious author living in a fictitious house, edited by a fictitious paranormal expert makes for interesting reading.
Upon completion of The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, be prepared to view Stephen King's mini-series. No doubt Rose Red answers the many questions left by this mysterious diary and its namesake.