I'm not sure why this book isn't one that you hear much about, but I enjoyed it. It's about Rose, an abused wife who one comes to realize her situation and on impulse one day makes her escape from a murderous husband. Choosing a new place to settle, she finds help from a women's organization and in a second-hand shop discovers a strange painting that captivates her: a woman in a "rose madder" dress, portrayed in a rural setting that turns out to depict a fantasy world. But we learn that Rose's escape from her husband is not complete, and she will require help from several sources, one supernatural.
The lead character is a woman who takes some time to realize her inner strength, even gaining a new career and a new love. I found Rose and a number of other characters appealing, enough so that I was bothered by the death of several innocents at the hands of Rose's vicious husband. I remember when King was criticized for his shallow depictions of female characters, and believe this book was one of his efforts to rectify that. This copy of the book is replacing my earlier paperback copy that was falling apart.