So I got my copy of the highly anticipated The Recovery of Rose Gold from the Michael Joseph (An imprint of Penguin) debut Party – at Henley Literary Festival. When I say I got it, I did go and get it, what I didn’t manage to do was actually be on board The Hibernian when it set sail. I was not alone in this error – when it sailed back into view from its journey along the Thames, with Stephanie Wrobel and Hope Adams, author of Conviction aboard – we that missed it setting sail, did manage to board the boat and collect our copies of Rose Gold and get it signed by Stephanie and have a brief chat, mainly re her fab jacket. I sadly missed her reading and everything she had to say about Rose Gold – But I can confirm, it has lived up to the ‘hype’ its a very special book, written with skill and dexterity.
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. 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.
After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling… And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
Our Author – Stephanie Wrobel
As a kid in the suburbs of Chicago, I remember bringing a backpack to the library every two weeks during the summer and filling it to the brim. My favorites were Baby-Sitters Club, Nancy Drew, and the Thoroughbred series. I wrote a lot of stories too. My mom helped me type and add computer graphics to one called How Mary Ann Got Lost at the Zoo. (Spoiler alert: it has a happy ending. Dark turns didn’t make their way into my writing until adulthood!)When I was eight or nine, I went through a serious horse phase—I was in the ninetieth percentile for height but convinced I would someday be a jockey—and wrote a 100-page book about them that thankfully never saw the light of day. But the older I got, the less creative writing I did. I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but doing it as a kid for fun was one thing; considering it as a profession was another. Being an author just didn’t seem like a realistic or practical career choice.
After getting my bachelor’s degree in strategic communication, I worked as a copywriter, then associate creative director, for advertising agencies in Chicago. During this time, I wrote and helped produce television and radio spots, print ads, billboards, and digital campaigns for brands like Coors, McDonald’s, and Capital One.
In 2014 I moved to London, so my then-boyfriend/now-husband could attend business school. A year later, while I was between freelance copywriting jobs and in a major rut, I applied to graduate schools for creative writing. I decided to give writing my all for a couple years and see what happened. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I moved to Boston to attend Emerson College in 2016. Before grad school, I would come up with a book idea, write a chapter or two, then give up. The MFA program made me take writing seriously for the first time. I had my first short story published in the Bellevue Literary Review and accrued 221 rejections for all the other stories I wrote and submitted. (It pains me to report that number is not an exaggeration.) By the end of the program, I’d finished my first novel, which was also my graduate thesis, about a mother and daughter named Patty and Rose Gold Watts.
In May 2018 I moved back to London with my husband and Cockapoo, Moose Barkwinkle. Much to my parents’ dismay, we have no plans to move stateside in the near future. When I’m not writing, I love to travel—44 countries so far!—and eat. But my favorite way to spend my free time always has been, and always will be, reading.
I love a wide range of fiction: contemporary, historical, dystopian, and, of course, suspense. Three of my all-time favorite books are We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I like to spend half my time on my couch with a book and Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream, and the other half exploring far-flung places.
My Review – The Recovery of Rose Gold
Rose Gold Watts has been brought up by her Mother Patty Watts, being made to think she was ill, because her Mum said so. Since being an infant shes been to the Doctors constantly, ‘she’s sick when she eats’ her Mum told them, so she had a feeding tube inserted at 18 months. Shes has had countless tests and drugs administered. Shes got a chromosonal disorder her Mum said. She’s been homeschooled because the children were mean about her shaved hair because Patty said her hair came out so she wore a wig and that was better for Rose Gold, as she couldn’t catch an infection from the other children. Rose Gold doesn’t have any friends, except her neighbour Mrs. Stone’s daughter Alex.
And yet, theres nothing wrong with her.
Rose Gold had led a sheltered life, she’s grown up being told her father died. But once Patty is sent to prison, after being charged with child abuse, for mistreating Rose Gold she gets 5 years in jail, mainly because Rose Gold testified against her, she condemned her own Mother. Her Dad, Billy Gillespie – reads about Rose Gold in a magazine interview she does and gets in touch with Rose Gold, hes been sending a cheque every month of Rose Gold’s life to Patty so he knew she existed, but didn’t want to be involved. He had his own family now and 3 other children. He had no idea Patty had been so cruel and wants to make amends.
Rose Gold gets introduced to her half-siblings and visits them. Its going well and then it all goes a bit wrong and Billy wants to cool off having so much contact. At the same time, Rose Gold’s online boyfriend Phil turns out not to be the 30 something surfer he’d said he was and she learns a hard lesson, that sometimes people lie because the truth can be more hurtful.
Patty Watts, her Mum was lying all along. Was it for attention? Patty was beaten as a child, so why be so cruel to her own daughter? She wants to be relied upon, be the dependable one. But Rose Gold is stronger now, more independent and when Patty gets out of prison, she meets her grandson for the first time and goes to stay with Rose Gold, in the home, she grew up in, the house haunts Patty. And this is all part of Rose Gold’s plan.
But Patty wants revenge too – for being imprisoned because she swears she never harmed Rose Gold. But Rose Gold wants revenge too. Both are manipulative and yet accommodating at the same time. But neither are forgiving.
Who’s going to win this battle of wills, who is going to be the winner?
This book will leave you with chills, the way that Rose Gold was treated by Patty, will leave you gasping, how can a mother do that to her own child. A superb debut from Stephanie Wrobel. Dark and compelling, a fast-paced and dramatic ending – that you will not see coming.
Published 5th March 2020
@stephaniewrobel @PenguinUKBooks @MichaelJBooks #meetrosegold