One thing I love almost as much as reading is true crime. Luckily, that’s an interest that often overlaps with reading. One case I followed for years is that of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard (click the link to read all about it if you’re unfamiliar). So when I saw there was a novel coming out based on that story, I knew I definitely had to check it out.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
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.
Darling Rose Gold is a difficult book to read. There are a few things I have a hard time with reading about: animal or child abuse and mother/daughter relationships. Obviously, this book is a lot of both. I was fully aware what I was getting into – it’s all right there in the synopsis – so it wasn’t quite as bad as I would have expected. It also helped that the book is so compelling it was easy to get pulled into the story without it affecting me too much.
What I loved so much about this book is how human Wrobel made all the characters. It would have been easy to make one a victim or survivor and one an obvious villain, but both Patty and Rose Gold have so many shades of grey. It made for a much more interesting story. It also made the ending very hard to predict, which I’m a huge fan of, especially in thrillers. Wrobel clues the reader into the fact that not everything is as it seems, but, until the very end, it’s not clear just how much Patty and Rose Gold are playing each other, and who is the better actor. I did not see the ending coming, and I definitely liked it that way.
I usually pick up thrillers because they’re exciting, fun reads, and Darling Rose Gold totally fit the bill. This book is an absolutely wild ride, and I was sucked in from the first page. There were twists I didn’t see coming (though, admittedly, my knowledge of the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case might have caused me to anticipate that this book would follow the true story more closely than it did, which I’m not mad about). Overall, I found this Darling Rose Gold to be a really great thriller.
★★★★☆ – Darling Rose Gold was not quite what I was expecting, but I think that made it even better. If, like me, you followed the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case, or are just looking for a good thriller with a mother-daughter relationship, definitely check this one out.
TW for child abuse, bullying, mentions of suicide and self-harm.
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This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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