For the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. 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.
The psychological thriller Darling Rose Gold works well as an intense look at a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship, a tale of manipulation and how one person’s devastating secrets and lies reverberate through a community and a family. Darling Rose Gold briskly moves with surprising twists as Wrobel delivers assured character studies ... Darling Rose Gold delves deep into the psyche of mother and daughter and what motivates each of them. Both are vividly sculpted as Wrobel shows Rose Gold’s lack of social skills and her difficulties at adjusting to independence from her mother, while Patty, who seems so likable, wants to regain control over her daughter.
... incendiary ... It’s an intense and unexpected departure from the story we’ve become so familiar with ... These two intensely flawed characters couldn’t be more unlikable, but Wrobel’s portrayal of them is compulsively readable ... Darling Rose Gold is a psychological thriller you’ll stay up all night reading, even if it means going to work bleary-eyed on two hours of sleep. If you think you know this story, rest assured…you have no idea what these women are truly capable of.
In Wrobel’s reimagining, Patty is a tough and somewhat comical maniac, akin to the more genial incarnations of the Riddler, as portrayed by Jim Carrey and Frank Gorshin ... What ensues—in alternating chapters narrated by Patty and Rose Gold—is a nasty cat-and-mouse game in which victim and victimizer keep changing places. Wrobel’s suspense novel has much the same campy feel as that 1960s cult psychodrama Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? ... The chapter-by-chapter choreography of this creeper is ingenious ... Darling Rose Gold is a maelstrom of a suspense story through which mental illness, maternal meshugas and vengeful rage swirl unchecked. Over-the-top is an adjective that barely does this tale justice; but, then again, the real-life story on which it’s based is even more distastefully baroque.