Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel — ARC Review

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie WrobelSummary:

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: 5 Stars

When I requested an ARC of this book it was because I had heard that it was about a really dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. I had no idea it was actually about Munchausen by proxy until I started researching books about mental illness for a recent Top 5 Saturday post. I have been going through a bit of a book slump lately and I think that I need to get away from fantasy books for a while and read books that focus more on characters than world building. When looking through my review copies I thought Darling Rose Gold looked like the perfect book to get me interested in stories again and it was such a great choice. I could not have been more invested in this story and these characters.

I immediately found myself absolutely engrossed in Darling Rose Gold. This book really touched my heart and was an emotional ride for me. The story switched each chapter from Rose Gold’s point of view right after her mother was arrested for child abuse and to Patty’s point of view in the present day where she is now out of prison and has moved in with Rose Gold. The story was both so fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I wanted to know how all of this could have possibly happened and how Rose Gold could have changed so much in the 5 years her mother was in prison. I had a hard time walking away from this book, even just to sleep. I couldn’t understand why Patty would have poisoned her daughter when I could see how much she clearly loved her. I tore through this book in less than two days and I was absolutely shocked to find out that this is Stephanie Wrobel’s debut novel.

The characters were done so well. My heart was so invested in Patty and Rose Gold’s lives. I could relate to both characters and found myself sympathizing with each of them. It didn’t feel black and white to me as a reader. While Patty had poisoned Rose Gold, I actually felt bad for her. But it was Rose Gold who really burrowed her way into my heart. She was just so lonely and all I wanted was for her to have the tiniest bit of happiness. It wasn’t the medical issues that I sympathized with, but rather the emotional ones. I could empathize with her desire and her need to be loved and wanted. When people mistreated her I was SO angry with them as well. Stephanie Wrobel did a great job writing these characters because even though they were extraordinarily dysfunctional I could truly relate with them and even understand some of their really twisted actions.

Darling Rose Gold was an incredible debut. While it was about a very dysfunctional relationship between a mother and daughter it is also about the human need for connection and love. It’s about the long term effects of abuse and the twisted desire for revenge. Darling Rose Gold is a book I won’t be forgetting any time soon and would recommend to everyone.

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