The War of the Roses

256 pages

The War of the Roses is a clever look at the breakup of a marriage…Both frightening and revealing.” – Washington Star

The War of the Roses has emerged over time as a synonym for modern divorce and its emotional aftershock. Since its publication, it has spawned numerous film and stage adaptations, endless discourse on the dynamics of divorce as well as becoming part of the legal jargon describing the proceedings that follow.

Adler’s iconic tale takes us from suburban bliss to a deadly territorial battle. Jonathan and Barbara Rose are, at first glance, the perfect couple. Jonathan has a stable law career; Barbara is an aspiring gourmet entrepreneur with a promising pâté recipe. Their large home holds the rich antique collection that originally brought them together, as well as the loving familial bond that intertwines them with their children Eve and Josh. When Jonathan finds himself suddenly gripped by what is presumably a heart attack and Barbara confronts the loveless spell lingering between them, the sun-soaked sky that was once the Rose family union drifts into a torrential downpour. Their mutual hatred becomes ammunition in a domestic warfare that escalates in the most unpredictable ways while they helplessly eye their dwindling nuptial flame. In the chaos that unfolds Adler allows a moment of much needed contemplation on the shape of today’s matrimonial bonds.

The War of the Roses illuminates the relationship-shattering materialism, contempt and selfishness of husband and wife by posing a timeless question: how far are we willing to allow our material possessions the power to define who we are? Are today’s marriages haunted by the struggle to get even?


“The divorcing Roses go to battle over their beautiful home and the objects in it – and take revenge to stunning heights. You may have seen the fantastic 1989 film with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, but the book is even more terrifying, black-humored, black-hearted and bristling, because you’re trapped inside the self-justifying, increasingly mad minds of Oliver and Barbara Rose.” — Gillian Flynn, Author of Gone Girl
“The War of the Roses is a clever look at the breakup of a marriage…It is Adler’s achievement that he makes the most bizarre actions of each (party) seem logical under the circumstances…Both frightening and revealing.”  — The Washington Star
“Warren Adler writes with skill and a sense of scene.” — The New York Times Book Review
“A very, very funny novel.” — New York Daily News
“This book is a dazzler, the wildest, most outrageous, most macabre comedic book we’ve read in years.” — Richard Zanuck and David Brown