Review: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Rating: 8.5/10

Synopsis

Sharp Objects meets My Lovely Wife in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships…

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

Review

Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio, the author, and the narrators for a listening copy of Darling Rose Gold for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

Darling Rose Gold is an unsettling, completely engrossing thriller debut. This is 2020’s The Silent Patient; a psychological trip sure to keep you guessing until the very end. Wrobel has definitely made her mark on the genre.

As soon as I saw The Washington Post state “If you enjoyed The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, read Darling Rose Gold.”, I just knew I had to pick this one up. TSP was one of my favorite thrillers of 2019 and led the charge in regards to thrillers becoming a topper on my book genre sundae. While there are a ton out there, more and more being published every day, there are special ones like DRG that just stand out from the rest of the pack.

I’m not going to assume you know what munchausen syndrome is, but here is a brief definition: Munchausen syndrome is a factitious disorder, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly and deliberately acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick. Munchausen syndrome is considered a mental illness because it is associated with severe emotional difficulties [WebMD May 20, 2018.]

The majority of DRG is devoted to Patty and Rose Gold’s relationship, which is one of the most toxic mother-daughter relationships I have seen since reading John Marr’s What Lies Between Us (which I guess wasn’t that long ago LOL). It is sort of like the relationship between Eddie Kaspbrak and his mother in Stephen King’s IT, but at least he was able to find ways out of the house and socialize. I couldn’t imagine having such an overbearing mother, even if she had my best interests in mind. Love her to death, but leave me some breathing room.

The story itself is told in an interesting fashion as we see Rose Gold prior to Patty’s prison stay, during the five (5) year sentence, and in the present once Patty is back in the picture. We are also given perspective into the mind of Patty during her reunion and stay with her daughter. While the picture of Patty is being painted as this terrible mother who starved her daughter, there are glimpses where you actually feel bad for her. She only wants what is best for her daughter, but too bad that leads to worse than poor health and a multitude of hospital visits. It was also very interesting that Rose Gold took in her mother after the horrible childhood she was given, but it all clicks as the story progresses.

That may have been one of the best climaxes I have ever seen. Props to Wrobel for writing such a surprising ending; one that I never saw coming, even though I thought I had it figured out. I also want to give a shoutout to the narrators: Megan Dodds & Jill Winternitz. They truly brought these characters to life, especially the inner crazy they both carry on the daily.

All in all, check it out. Simple as that.

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