About the Book
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 a smidge 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?
Format: Hardcover (352 pages) Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication date: 5th March 2020 Genre: Contemporary fiction, thriller
Find The Recovery of Rose Gold on Goodreads
I first became aware of this book whilst browsing the programme for last year’s Henley Literary Festival. The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (along with the yet to be published Conviction by Hope Adams) was one of the 2020 debuts featured at the Michael Joseph Proof Party held aboard the river cruiser, Hibernia. You can read my review of the event here. Hearing Stephanie talk about her book made me keen to read it. I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long to do so.
Told from the alternating points of view of Patty Watts and her daughter, Rose Gold, the reader is witness to a chilling, sometimes unnerving, but always enthralling battle of wills. Both women have plans to which they allude in ominous fashion. Lines such as, “A rookie doesn’t challenge a master” or “Wattses are nothing if not meticulous”. It’s difficult to warm to either character but, as more and more information is revealed, it’s also difficult to forget they are both damaged and vulnerable individuals.
There’s a saying there are two sides to every story but are either of the stories the reader is hearing the truth? I suspect that, like me, readers may find their sympathies shifting back and forth between Patty and Rose Gold at different points in the book. I particularly liked the voice the author creates for Patty with her caustic asides about her neighbours and the neighbourhood (the perhaps appropriately named Deadwick). I chuckled at her observations on the town’s ‘Christmaspalooza’. “Two little boys hop off Santa’s lap after their parents take four million pictures. What happened to one and done? They’re not going in National Geographic, for Pete’s sake.”
From time to time, the author plays with readers’ expectations of the genre. For example, commenting about a particular character that in any other story they would turn out to be a serial killer.
At one point Rose Gold reflects, “People didn’t get excited by stories of forgiveness. They wanted bridges to burn. They wanted dramas that made their own lives seem normal.” If you want drama, a chilling insight into obsessive behaviour and a story with plenty of twists and turns, then The Recovery of Rose Gold is the book for you.
I received an uncorrected (signed) proof copy courtesy of Michael Joseph.
In three words: Dark, twisty, compelling
Try something similar: Real Life by Adeline Dieudonne
About the Author
Stephanie Wrobel grew up in Chicago but has lived in the UK for three years with her husband and dog, Moose Barkwinkle. She has an MFA from Emerson College and has had short fiction published in Bellevue Literary Review. Before turning to fiction, she worked as a creative copywriter at various advertising agencies. (Bio/photo credit: author website)