The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel | Book Review #TheRecoveryofRoseGold

Published by Penguin/Michael Joseph
Available in ebook, audio, hardback (5 March 2020)
352 pages


Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years.

She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair . . .

Turns out her mother 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 the daughter who testified against her – 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. And she has waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

But is she still the pliable young girl she once was? And is Patty still as keen on settling an old score?

Because if mothers never forget then daughters never forgive.

Published in the US as Darling Rose Gold


The Recovery of Rose Gold is a debut novel and oh my, what a twisted tale this is.

Mother, Patty Watts has been imprisoned for five years for subjecting her daughter Rose Gold to a childhood of sickness. Now Patty is free and wants to start again with Rose Gold but Rose is not the naïve and compliant young child she used to be under her mother’s control and what ensues is a fascinating and intense story of manipulation, obsession and dysfunctional relationships. 

Told in alternating chapters by Patty in the present time and by Rose Gold, both in the present and the past, we get to know the whole sorry story of this mother and daughter relationship and how Rose had to rebuilt her life whilst Patty was in prison. Having gone from a situation where her mother controlled every aspect of her life to having to make decisions for herself was a completely new experience and one she was not fully equipped to cope with. I started off by feeling sympathy for Rose for all that she had suffered at Patty’s hands, but then remembered that there were moments when as a child,  Rose Gold herself played on her situation to manipulate others.  Then there were times when my sympathies shifted slightly towards Patty even though I felt that she really wasn’t deserving of any considering what she subjected her daughter to. However, by the time I’d got to the end, I’d reached the limit of my patience with the lot of them!

Loneliness, revenge, abandonment – these are just a few of the psychological themes referred to in the story. When I started reading, the first thought that came to mind was Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy but I think the psychological issues go deeper than that and this is not a clear cut case of child abuse. Patty was a complex character and it’s only as the story proceeds that you find out more of her background. She had a very strong will and was determined to be in control – even when people and events conspired against her, she still didn’t give up. In addition, that claustrophobic small town feeling is prevalent throughout, and there is that sense that the people of Deadwick are watching her every step. 

The Recovery of Rose Gold is an excellent disturbing debut which turns the traditional mother/daughter relationship completely around and it makes for an unsettling and intriguing read, leaving you wondering what on earth each of them will do next.  In view of the subject matter, it feels wrong to say I ‘enjoyed’ it but I would definitely recommend it if you like your thrillers deliciously twisted.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.


Stephanie Wrobel was born and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in the United States. A voracious reader as a child and a later fascination with language led to work as a copywriter and, after a move to the UK in 2014, she set to work writing The Recovery of Rose Gold. She now lives in London where she writes full-time.

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