Fans of the escapist entertainment typically associated with Lifetime Television movies, will find much to enjoy in Stephanie Wrobel’s debut novel, Darling Rose Gold. In many ways, the melodramatic moments and carefully-placed twists feel artificially manufactured, but when taken as a whole it becomes clear that this is Wrobel’s goal here. Darling Rose Gold is the perfect read for airplanes, beaches, and other destinations where readers wish to pass the time, but don’t necessary want something that requires excessive effort. This is an easy read that ultimately has something to say about the syndrome known as Munchausen by proxy.
As the novel opens, Rose Gold Watts’ mother is being released from jail after serving five years for mistreating Rose Gold for her first eighteen years of life. Despite the fact that Patty Watts poisoned her child, made her believe she had a serious illness, convinced her she needed a wheelchair, and subjected her to countless medical appointments and treatments, Rose Gold Watts agrees to let her mother come live with her once again.
Rose Gold is now living in her mother’s ancestral house, a place with dark memories for Patty. With nowhere else to go, Patty must push aside her reservations, face the scorn bestowed upon her by the other residents of her hometown, and hope that she can forge a new life with her daughter and infant grand-son, Adam
In alternating chapters, Wrobel gives voice to Patty in the present, while Rose Gold’s chapters mainly focus on events from the time after Patty was sent to prison. This method of storytelling is used to heighten the tension between these two women who are finding true communication to be a real challenge. Astute readers will see many of the developments coming before they are exposed, but the rapid-reading of Darling Rose Gold makes that less of a concern. There is at least one true surprise that is cleverly disguised until late in the novel.
Darling Rose Gold provides plenty of distraction from the real-world situation. Anyone with a keen interest in Munchausen by proxy and the potential long-term ramifications of such a diagnosis will keep turning the pages as the outcome unfolds. Stephanie Wrobel’s writing style has an ease to it that will pique readers interest for what she has coming down the road.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.