Rose MadderThe setting of Rose Madder begins in a city called Portside but it does not say which state.
Rose then rides a bus 800 miles to some large mid-western city. By some of the details in the story and the dialect, a good guess of the time era is any where from the 1980s to the late 1990s.The characters in Rose Madder are Rose McClendon Daniels a women who was married and abused by her husband for nearly 14 years and Norman Daniels a crazy cop who is in pursuit of his wife Rosie. Bill Steiner is the guy that Rosie buys the picture from and they also fall in love, Anna Stevenson is the owner of the Daughters and Sisters organization that helps women coming out of abusive relationships. Peter Slowik is Anna Stevenson’s ex-husband who tells Rosie to go to the Daughters and Sisters place and he is later killed by Norman.
Rose Madder is the woman in the picture that Rosie bought, and Mr. Lefferts is a man who gives Rosie a job reading books for a “Books on Tape Company”. First, Rose Daniels is sitting at home reading a romance novel, when all of a sudden her husband, Norman, walks in and starts beating her. Rose was pregnant at the time and, as a consequence of Normans beating, she has a miscarriage. After that she goes to bed, but when she wakes up in the morning and there was a single drop of blood on her pillow. That one single drop made her realize how abusive her life would be if she did not leave Norman.
So she planned how she was going to leave without Norman catching her. She took the credit card he had left on the counter and then she ran out the door. Eventually she came to the bus station. She traveled on a bus 800 miles away from her home.
When she arrived there was a traveler’s aid with a friendly looking man standing there. The man’s name was Peter Slowik and he worked to help women who have been abused in some way. She told him her story and he told her to go to the Daughters and Sisters house, which was a place for women who have just gotten out of an abusive relationship to say at for awhile. So she leaves and goes to the house and they let her in and she meets the owner, Anna Stevenson. Anna is very nice and offers her to stay awhile. Then Anna gets her a job at this hotel cleaning sheets. Rose was walking back from the grocery store when she decided to trade in her ring.
Norman had told her he paid a lot for that ring so she figured she could get a bunch of money for it. She finds out that the diamond is fake and she doesn’t get very much money. She is getting ready to leave when she sees a picture. She doesn’t know how to explain it, but it was calling to her.
She traded the ring in for the picture and she walks out of the store. As she is walking she is stopped by a man named Mr.Lefferts. He asks her to read a passage from a book.
She read it and he liked her voice and asked her to read another one. She was puzzled but read it anyway. He liked it and told her that he was in charge of a book on tape studio and wanted her to work for him. Of course she accepted, and then she went to Daughters and Sisters to tell everyone. After she told everyone Anna told her that she thought Rose was ready to move out into her own apartment. Meanwhile, Norman had obviously noticed Rosie was gone and was slowly tracing her to find out where she was.
He had found out that after she used the credit card she took, she threw it away. Norman found a guy who took it out of the trash and interrogated him. He found that she threw it away at the bus station, so he went there in hopes of any one there remembering Rosie. No one really remembered her but there was a man who was working there the day she bought a ticket. Norman asked the man if he remembered Rosie and described her briefly, but the man did not remember. However, the man did tell Norman the bus schedule for that day. Norman decided that in order to find Rosie, he has to think like her.
He picks the bus that she was on and traveled to the same city she was at. That’s when the chase began. Rosie ran into Bill Steiner, the man who sold her the picture, again and he asked her out on a date. She accepted and they set everything up. She just got her apartment and the first thing she did was hang her picture up. A few days later she was getting ready for her date.
At the beginning of the date, Rosie felt nervous. She felt like Norman was there and would pop up at any minute. Once she got over that, she had a great time with Bill.
They talked and laughed and Rosie told him about the abusive relationship she was in. At the end of the night he walked her back home and asked her on another date. However this was the same day of this Daughters and Sisters picnic.
They worked it out so that Rosie and Bill would have their own picnic, and then they would come back in time to see a band.