Rose Walker is the daughter of Miranda Walker and Burt Paulsen. She also has a brother, Jed. The two were estranged, her father had taken Jed when he left Miranda. Burt Paulsen died a few years before The Doll's House takes place, and Jed had been sent to live with their grandfather. After the grandfather died, Jed was living with an abusive aunt and uncle at the beginning of the story arc.
Rose's grandmother was Unity Kinkaid. She was supposed to be a dream vortex, a mortal who becomes the center of the dreaming, and threatens to destroy it by bringing all dreams together. It falls on Morpheus to locate and eliminate these vortexes before they can do any damage. It is the only time he is allowed to kill a mortal.
Unity never became the vortex, however, having been unconscious from "sleepy sickness" most of her life. While Morpheus was imprisoned, Desire, raped and impregnated Unity. The vortex trait was passed on to Rose through Miranda.
Miranda and Rose traveled to England to meet Unity, and then Rose returned to America to find her little brother soon after, so he could meet their grandmother, too. She moved into a rooming house occupied by Hal Carter (a drag queen), Barbie and Ken (a yuppie couple), Zelda and Chantal (a lesbian couple with a spider fixation), and Fiddler's Green, who'd escaped from the Dreaming during the time Morpheus was imprisoned and was going by the alias Gilbert.
Rose managed to track Jed down with Gilbert's help, but by time she got there, her aunt and uncle were dead, and Jed had been taken by the Corinthian, a psychotic nightmare who had also escaped in Dream's absence. Rose and Gilbert checked into a hotel that, unbeknownst to them, was hosting a serial killer convention in which the Corinthian was the guest of honor. Rose was attacked by one of the killers, but was saved by Morpheus. Meanwhile, Gilbert found Jed in the Corinthian's car, and he was taken to hospital. Rose went home and slept. While sleeping, the vortex aspect of Rose began to wreak havoc on the Dreaming. Morpheus noticed and went to destroy her, but Unity appeared in the dream and sacrificed herself for Rose.
After beating an agoraphobia she developed after the horrors she'd endured, Rose took up writing. She was writing a book on 50's television programs and living off her grandmother's inheritance in an apartment in Lyta Hall's building, babysitting Lyta's son Daniel when he was taken by Loki and Puck.
Because of the loss of her "heart" to her grandmother during the threat of the vortex, Rose had stopped aging, and lost the ability to love. While visiting Zelda she received a message from her dead grandmother; that if she went to see her she would give her back her heart. Rose departs for England and meets Paul Maguire the curator of her grandmother's retirement home to find out more about her grandmother and who she also stays with while she's in London She falls in love with a Jack Holaday, a wealthy lawyer. After finding out he's been unfaithful, Rose ends the relationship.
While exploring Paul Maguire's home, Rose meets her Grandparent, Desire. Desire has some effect on Rose, and she reveals her true feelings on love, and then she bursts into tears, finally regaining her heart and learning to feel again.
In The Wake, Rose and Jed attend Dream's funeral. She had found out she was pregnant by Jack Holaday and confides this to her brother and Lyta Hall who, perhaps understandably after her own experiences, tells her to abort the child. In the end, Rose decides to keep the baby.