Book Review – Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

Published: 28th June 2018
Started reading: November 29
Finished reading: December 1
Trigger warnings: Mental health, sexual content, domestic abuse


When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems...


In the last few years, a lot of thrillers have been inaccurately promoted as being the next ‘Gone Girl’, or the next ‘The Girl On The Train’. Although the plot of this one is different and very unique in its own way, there were certain aspects here that reminded me of both of those books.

This is a mind-bending psychological thriller. Very deep, very thought-provoking and occasionally unsettling. It started off intense and that just increased the further I read on, as the author used an unreliable narrator to very good effect, filling each chapter with a strong sense of atmosphere.

To begin with, I really liked the concept. It felt fairly original and intriguing, and once the story got going it was fascinating to find out what was going to happen next. The way the book explores anxiety and depression is profound, and feels very evident throughout most of the narration.

The book is mostly character-driven. Emily is the main narrator, and all the way through she seems conflicted, trying to confront her own internal battles. I think as a character she was written very well – my one issue was that her survivor’s guilt was badly undermined by her love for Rose’s widower, Cian.

Some chapters are told in the past tense from Rose’s point of view, and it was here where the plot took an unexpected direction. At first I was wondering where the whole thing was going, but then everything began to fall into place and the whole complexion of the story changed and raised the tension, all leading towards a dramatic ending that was not without an unexpected twist!

It is hard to say if Emily was a likeable character or not. I sometimes sympathised with her, but some of her actions felt selfish and at times naïve. But I liked that almost all of the characters were well developed and generally believable, with multiple sides to their personalities.

What I did not like at times was the writing style, which was rather hit and miss. There were some very good passages where the story and the narration flowed really well, but there were other times where it was quite long-winded and the author launched into too many unnecessary details. I also thought the flashbacks to Rose’s story sometimes came very abruptly and disrupted the main plot line.

Overall, this is a fairly dark, and very intense psychological thriller. It is written emotively with good characterisation, and there was a great deal to like. It was sometimes let down by an enigmatic writing style and one or two moments of inconsistent plotting, but it was a mostly a strong and captivating read and I am happy that I decided to buy this book.

The Author

A former journalist, Claire Allan began writing women’s fiction in 2004, and her first novel, Rainy Days and Tuesday, was published in 2007. A succession of other books followed, until she decided to turn her hand to thrillers.

Her Name Was Rose was Allan’s first psychological thriller, and her next one, The Apple of  My Eye, will be released in January 2019. Allan lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, two children, and last but not least, her two cats.


This was a deep and complex thriller, with a number of very good aspects. It was actually very hard to decide on a rating, but I definitely liked this book!

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐.75

10 thoughts on “Book Review – Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

    1. Thank you, Lili. I understand, some books are not for all of us and as I said in my review, I found some things about it a little unsettling.
      For the rest of December I am planning for more lighter reads 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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