Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
Published by Berkley
Publication date: March 5, 2020
Genres: Book Clubs, Debut, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
I’m hearing from a lot of bloggers and friends that they’re having trouble focusing enough to enjoy reading. Not surprising given what we’re all facing. I’m struggling with it as well and finding that mindless TV is the only distraction that seems to work (more on that in another post). However, I have a recommendation today that might fit the bill for fiction that will grab on and keep you reading. It’s Stephanie Wrobel’s novel Darling Rose Gold and I finished it in two sessions.
Rose Gold is a young woman who, up until she was 18 was so sick she had a feeding tube and couldn’t walk. Her single mother, Patty, devoted her life to caring for her and trying to get answers as to what was wrong. Rose repaid her by testifying at her trial for aggravated child abuse and getting her sent to prison for five years. Because Rose Gold was never sick. Patty had been poisoning her, in a textbook case of Munchausen syndrome. Now Patty’s getting out and things are about to get very interesting. She has nowhere to live and no family or friends who want anything to do with her.
Rose, on the other hand, has built a new life for herself. Despite her lack of socialization and the unfortunate side effects of nutritional deficiencies when she was a child, she’s got a job, has recently bought a house, and even has new baby boy. As part of all this growth, she decides she needs to not only forgive Patty, but take her in after her release.
For her part, Patty is grudgingly grateful to Rose, even if it does mean moving back to the same small town where everyone experienced her trial and shame. Neither of which she has forgotten. She’s hated by everyone and they’re not shy about their disgust. Especially as Rose and her son have become a part of the community.
What’s going on here? Is there forgiveness on either side—Rose for her mother or her mother for Rose? Or is this a case of keeping your enemies close? Or revenge? It’s almost impossible to tell because Wrobel plays a masterful shell game in Darling Rose Gold. She mind melds so thoroughly with Patty and Rose in their alternating chapters that it’s a literary ping pong game as to who is the sympathetic character and who is telling the truth. The novel shimmers with deception and up until the very end who’s victim and who’s villain is a guessing game. Fiendish fun.
Shelter-in-Place reads: If you’re stuck at home like so many of us are and twisted mother-daughter cat and mouse fiction is helping you right now then you might also want to check out Mother Mother, a backlist beauty from 2013. It should be quick and easy to download from your library.
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