FICTION

Darling Rose Gold

Berkley. Mar. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780593100066. $26.
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DEBUT Wrobel’s debut concerns the relationship between Patty Watts and her daughter Rose Gold, but it’s not a tender mother-daughter story. For her first 18 years, Rose Gold was raised as an invalid, often confined to a wheelchair or to the hospital, with sympathetic neighbors helpfully clucking about. In fact, Patty has been essentially poisoning her daughter in classic Munchausen syndrome by proxy fashion. Finally, owing partly to Rose Gold’s testimony, Patty ends up in jail, but when she’s released several years later, it’s Rose Gold who picks her up and takes her in. Is she still in her mother’s thrall? Has she risen above the past and forgiven her? As the stories of these two desperate and damaged women unfold, we learn that the truth runs deeper and darker, with Rose Gold’s ability to scheme calling readers up short until they remember her provenance.
VERDICT It’s chilling enough to read about Rose Gold’s suffering, but it’s just as chilling—and at times uncomfortably satisfying

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