Today I am marking off my nineteenth #19 checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:
A chilling exploration into obsession, reconciliation and revenge in 2020’s must-read.
Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years.
She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair . . .
Turns out her mum, Patty, is a really good liar.
After five years in prison Patty Watts is finally free. All she wants is to put old grievances behind her, reconcile with her daughter – and care for her new infant grandson. When Rose Gold agrees to have Patty move in, it seems their relationship is truly on the mend.
But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty won’t rest until she has her daughter back under her thumb. Which is inconvenient because Rose Gold wants to be free of Patty. Forever.
Only one Watts will get what she wants.
Will it be Patty or Rose Gold?
Mother, or daughter?
The Recovery of Rose Gold is the debut novel from Stephanie Wrobel. A story of fixation, restitution, retaliation and trauma, this is a consuming novel from the onset. Charting the problematic relationship between a mother and daughter, The Recovery of Rose Gold will send a biting chill down your spine as this disquieting tale unravels.
Meet Rose Gold Watts, a young woman who has been plagued by illness for her whole life. From endless tests, feeding tubes, operations and constant medical care, Rose Gold’s life has been consumed by illness. At the source of this ill health is Rose’s mother Patty, a compulsive liar who was jailed for her behaviour. Now, after being incarcerated for five years, Patty is ready to settle things with the daughter she has wronged. With a new grandson in the picture, Patty is keen to make amends with her estranged daughter. As mother and daughter begin to take tentative steps towards reconciliation, it is clear that Rose Gold has changed during the time that her mother was in jail. The once gullible Rose Gold is stronger and assertive. Can Rose Gold finally forgive her mother?
With three top name authors, including Lee Child endorsing new talent Stephanie Wrobel, I was definitely intrigued by The Recovery of Rose Gold. I liked that this novel opened with a perplexing crime, which works to reel the reader right in to this paradoxical tale.
The Recovery of Rose Gold is structured by a shared point of view narrative. Events, feelings and circumstances are revealed from the perspectives of mother Patty and her daughter Rose Gold. Both these voices are compelling, but there is also something uncertain about their recall. I got the sense that both were unreliable narrators and my trust level moved around as the book progressed. In the end I decided that both were disturbed and haunted by some level of trauma, as well as possible mental illness.
In terms of character development, Wrobel has a good handle on things in this department. I could easily envisage each lead, which was thanks to the author’s handwork in this area of her novel. Although the characterisation was clear, I disliked both mother and daughter, which at times made this book hard to stomach. The themes which are quite distressing and dark resulted in frequent breaks from the pages of this novel. With some emotionally fraught and distressing subject matter circulating around this book, including Munchausen syndrome by proxy, it may prove to be a difficult read for some. Wrobel does a good job of tackling this very sensitive subject matter in an insightful, as well as readable tone.
With plenty of questions raised about health care, responsibility, blame, lies, truths and revenge The Recovery of Rose Gold will send you in circles. This one had me up in arms, I questioned everything and I couldn’t settle on which side of the ring to take. Wrobel certainly kept her audience on their toes, this was a real game changer!
Shocking, divisive, vengeful, deceiving and disconcerting, The Recovery of Rose Gold is a troublesome tale that will work well with fans of psychological based family thrillers.
*** 3.5 stars
The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel was published on 17th March 2020 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Recovery of Rose Gold, Stephanie Wrobel, visit here.