In the book, Rose Gold Watts is an 18 year-old girl trying to make her own way in the world after her mother is sent to prison for abusing her for years. In a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, Patty Watts’s earnest belief that her baby daughter is chronically ill devolves into her making Rose Gold sick for years, effectively starving her. Five years later, when Patty is released and goes to live with Rose Gold and her infant son, she starts to wonder if her daughter has really forgiven her or if she is up to something sinister.
Darling Rose Gold is clearly inspired by the Blanchards. Some of the smaller details, such as Rose Gold’s love of Disney and the deterioration of her teeth, echo that real case. Where the story goes from there, however, really had me turning the pages.
I’m having a hard time explaining my thoughts about this book without spoiling the plot twists, so I’ll try to keep it simple. Although the ripped-from-the-headlines nature of Wrobel’s story does knock a few points off for creativity, I think she does an excellent job of taking the character of Rose Gold from an optimistic, if wounded, girl to a woman who has been let down by almost everyone she ever trusted. The ways that experience changes her psyche seem real, if extreme, and the final twist they build toward was satisfying, if sensational.
This book is not groundbreaking or especially fine literature, but it is well-written, thrilling, and fun to read. I recommend, especially for true crime fans.