Hi friends! I wasn’t expecting to finish this book as fast as I did – that’s two recent books that I’ve read in under 24 hours apiece! Look at me go. I don’t think I have anything super important to share, other than that I made some small changes to my TBR page and included my tentative November TBR. Other than that, let’s get into the review!
Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
Darling Rose Gold is Stephanie Wrobel’s first (and currently only) published novel. Rose Gold Watts is a victim of her mother’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy; for years she believed she was ill with countless diseases, wheelchair-bound, allergic to everything. Now, five years after her mother was sent to jail for Rose Gold’s abuse, she’s out. The community is shocked when Rose Gold agrees to let her mother move back in with her, but Rose Gold isn’t an innocent little girl anymore.
This book left me feeling weird. I didn’t hate it, and I appreciated that the author went in a different direction with this storyline than most. This book was also clearly inspired by the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case, which I would highly recommend looking into if you’re a true crime fan (like me!) and have never heard of it. There were a number of things that I enjoyed: interesting flawed characters, good use of dual POV and timeline shifts, a fast-paced plot. But this book left me feeling kind of icky, and not in the best of ways.
This was a fast-paced read and boy was I invested. The author does a great job of building tension and suspense between our two main characters throughout the course of the novel and I was really interested to see how the story would play out. I thought I knew what the climax of the book was going to be before I even began reading and I was glad that wasn’t the direction the plot went in. I also really appreciated that this book’s plot begins after Rose Gold’s mother is getting out of jail as opposed to during the initial abuse; it’s a different aspect of the stereotypical story and I enjoyed the new take.
I do have problems with the way that mental illness was portrayed in this book, but I did like the development of Rose Gold and Patty and how flawed they both were. I loved to hate both of them and the alternating POVs greatly helped me learn about each character’s though process and motivations which I found to be fascinating. Very sick, very twisted, very engaging.
First off, child abuse is disgusting and wrong and abhorrent and should absolutely be punished. In the context of this story, Patty most definitely deserved the jail time she received for abusing Rose Gold in the acts preceding the story’s timeline. She’s a horrible person. However, it’s very clear that she’s not all there, and this story of revenge kind of just turns into a daughter traumatizing her mentally ill mother. I can see the story argued both ways over the justification of Rose Gold’s actions, I guess I’m just not sure what the theme or message of the story was supposed to be given the actions that Rose Gold takes. I won’t go into tooo many more details for the sake of spoilers, but the end did leave me feeling a little gross and frankly it sort of ruined my ability to enjoy the book as much as I wanted to.
Rating & Final Thoughts
I think I’m going to go ahead and rate Darling Rose Gold 3 out of 5. A lot of that is because I can’t decide how I feel and I think a middle-of-the-road rating suits that well. Part of me thinks I should give it a lower rating because I can’t agree with the message that this book sends, especially concerning mental illness. On the other hand, this book was gripping and I tore through it and was frankly very invested in how it would end. Thus I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this book, but I can absolutely see the ways in which people would really enjoy it.
Buy Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel here.*
*as a reminder, I am an Amazon affiliate and make a small commission off of purchases made using my link.