This is the novel that inspired one of the most famous movies about divorce ever made, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Oliver and Barbara Rose are a passionate couple who meet at a Cape Cod auction while bidding for matching figurines. The figurines belong together, and so do the Roses. Their perfect love, complete with dream home and wonderful children, is fated to disintegrate, however, and when Oliver collapses in an apparent heart attack, Barbara's indifference brings the true state of their marriage out into the open. The war they wage against each other eventually descends into brutality and madness, as they destroy each other's most prized possessions and spiral into chaos.
The global impact of both the book and the movie has brought the phrase "The War of the Roses" into the popular jargon describing the terrible hatred and cruelty engendered in divorce proceedings.