Ellen Rimbauer is the wife of John Rimbauer. John Rimbauer is an oil tycoon and a nineteenth century Robber Baron. The marriage is one of economics and not based on love or mutual respect. Shortly after their marrriage Ellen realizes that her husband is a philanderer and she catches an unidentifed veneral disease from him. While they are in Africa she falls ill and a local native woman ,Sukeena, is hired to act as her maid and nurse. The two women grow very close and Sukeena accompanies them back to Seattle when they move into the mansion Rose Red, which is John's wedding gift to Ellen. Ellen's marriage is not a happy one and made unahppier as she comes to realize that she is a Lesbian (though possibly she is bi-sexual) and in love with Sukeena. She and John have a boy and a girl. Adam Rimbauer is sent away from Rose Red at the age of eight while April vanishes - a victim of Rose Red.
Eventually the marriage becomes ones based on hate and mistrust. With John's death in the early 1920's Ellen embarks on a constant contstruction of the mansion. A seance convinces her that if she continues to have the house built she will live on. In 1950 Ellen vanishes. Later paranormal researchers come to learn that Ellen, Sukeena ,and others (over 26 people) that have vanished over the years, are ghosts who have literally become part of the mansion's spiritual force.