This is a dazzlingly dark revenge novel, a genuinely fresh and original take on the domestic psychological thriller genre; the disturbing story of an evilly twisted mother/daughter relationship.
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold believes she is desperately ill. Her childhood is dominated by doctors, hospitals, feeding tubes and a wheelchair. Her mother, Patty, spinning a vague tale of chromosomal abnormality, trails her frail, malnourished daughter from doctor to puzzled doctor, always moving on when medics start getting suspicious. Rose Gold believes she is sick, but in reality, Patty is administering noxious substances to the child which make her violently ill. Eventually the mother is rumbled and sentenced to five years in jail for aggravated child abuse. The novel begins as Patty is about to be released. Rose Gold is waiting at the prison gates.
Patty has Munchausen by Proxy, the dark psychological syndrome which put English nurse Beverly Allitt in Rampton Secure Hospital back in 1991. In a sensational trial it was revealed Allitt had murdered four children, attempted to kill three others and cause grievous bodily harm to a further six. Munchausen is a pattern of abuse in which the perpetrator, trying to try to draw attention to him/herself, physically falsifies illnesses in children under their care.
Patty blames everyone but herself for her incarceration, but in particular her daughter, who testified against her. But when Patty walks free after five years, a forgiving Rose Gold is waiting for her and invites her mother to live with her. Sinisterly, although single, she also has a baby in the car.
So, the dark dance of revenge begins. As Wrobel writes: “They say a grudge is a heavy thing to carry. Good thing we’re extra strong.”