Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Rose West: A Making of a Monster – Jane Carter Woodrow

Crime - Non-Fiction 5*'s
Crime – Non-Fiction

Well, I was visiting my brother over the weekend and saw that he had this book and I hadn’t read it, so I borrowed it. I have mentioned in the past that I miss looking at what everyone else is reading now so many people read on e-readers but have now decided this wasn’t the best choice of book to read on a train, in Costa and most definitely not when I was the one who had to empty their belongings at security at the airport! The security woman’s ‘Is it a good read? I wouldn’t give her the time of day!’ question left me weakly stating ‘I’m not a serial killer, honest!’  One rare moment when I didn’t want to talk about a book.

So why did I choose this one from my brother’s bookshelf? Well I used to live in Gloucester, I had grown up nearby, where the West’s had their ordinary house.  Heather West whose body was the first to be discovered, was born the same year as me and the horrendous find was made while I was waiting for my youngest to be born. In fact all the news at that time was about these two killers. I am also interested in crimes that appear to go against female nature and so a book that seeks to explain how one woman could go on to carry out such horrendous acts was a must read.

I have read many books about the Wests as a couple but this is the first one that went into Rose’s background in detail.

This fascinating book doesn’t concentrate so much on the horrendous crimes committed by Rose West but seeks to understand quite why this young woman became a killer. The first of the murders she was convicted of occurred when Rose was just 17 years old!

Jane Carter Woodrow follows Rose’s life chronologically, starting with her birth following her mother’s electric current therapy throughout her pregnancy with Rose. Using the accounts of the neighbours, relations and the few friends I think this book benefits with the time gap since Rose’s conviction, giving a more balanced view of events. This isn’t a book that in any way seeks to condone the rapes and murders, after all, as the author points out, many people have a tough start to life but don’t go onto be killers. It does however try to explain how Rose’s psychological make-up and the warped view of what relationships consist of caused this particular woman to sink to a level of depravity almost unheard of.

For anyone who wishes to understand more about the most notorious of female serial killers you can’t go wrong with this book.

So thank you to the Irish gentleman in Costa who had a good laugh at my expense but did return the book after I nearly left it behind, I will now pop it in the post to its rightful place on my brother’s bookshelf!

Rose West: The Making of a Monster


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

13 thoughts on “Rose West: A Making of a Monster – Jane Carter Woodrow

    1. This book does a great job of putting the strands together and I think Jane Carter Woodrow makes a case by showing that the particular combination of nature and nurture in this case was always going to end in disaster although she also points out the stages where maybe it could have been halted! Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  1. This is the first I’m hearing about this person–isn’t it odd how something will get so much press in one country and not be covered at all in another. I generally do like to read true crime, but I think this one might be a bit much for me! (Your airport encounter made me laugh!)


    1. In 1994 the police found 12 bodies of young women many of whom were buried in the garden and cellar of a house in Gloucester. Some of them had been missing for over 20 years. Rose’s husband Fred killed himself before the trial, Rose was imprisoned for life. Airport was amusing in retrospect 🙂


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