Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Rose Gold

Stephanie Wrobel's Darling Rose Gold is dishy and delicious.  Unreliable narrators of course existed well before 1961 when the term was coined - The Canterbury Tales and the Arabian Nights having their fare share - but in Wrobel's novel, we're faced with not one but two narrators who tell us one thing while possibly meaning something else.  Sometimes, the deception is intentional, sometimes not.


Our narrators are mother and daughter, Patty and Rose Gold.  The story begins with the mother's imminent release from prison where Patty has been behind bars for half a decade after being found guilty of trying to poison Rose Gold in a, we're told, bizarre occurrence of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.  There's a wonderfully unhinged quality  ("That's what separates the sane from the not:  knowing madness is an option but declining to choose it.")  that arises as the reader tries to suss out which way is up.  And I use unhinged deliberately but with care:  the story is complicated and the narrators add a sense of disorder, but I never for a moment believed that anything was included by chance.  Darling Rose Gold has been written by someone with great intention.  Nothing you find here was included by accident.

Especially the fact that Patty, when released, is picked up outside the prison by her daughter. It was Rose Gold's testimony that ensured her mother's conviction.  Why would this happen?  And why then does Rose Gold offer her mother a place to stay?

There are so many more questions - and I'm not providing any answers.  You need to read this one yourself.  It arrives on St. Patrick's Day, 2020.


Now, the cocktail.  Before Patty is released from prison, while her daughter is trying to find her way for the first time without the complete domination of her mother, Rose Gold travels to Chicago and finds herself at a bar with her only friend.  One of the other woman in the bar is drinking a Vodka Cranberry, and thank you, Ms. Wrobel, for giving me a cocktail nudge.  Of course, now that I live in New England, I have to call it a Cape Codder.  Coddah?

There were other elements I could have played with - some blueberries here, chocolate and coffee over there, but the Vodka Cranberry stuck out, and then -

 - and then we find, about one hundred pages into the story, a description of the reasoning behind Rose Gold's name.  Patty wanted to name her daughter Rose, but thought just "Rose" was too ordinary.
"Rose Gold, on the other hand--wasn't that just the perfect hue?  'It reminded me of blushing cheeks.  Or a pale, pink sunset.  It's the name of a little girl you can't help but love.'"
That description echoed the Vodka Cranberry - if modified.  And we'd have to modify it because, like "Rose," a Vodka Cranberry was maybe a tad too ordinary for this book.  For the addition of Gold, I added gold tequila.  That and a little cranberry might just create the blush that would be appropriate.  Top if off with some soda, and the Rose Gold suddenly becomes an easy sipper.

ROSE GOLD:

2 oz. Gold Tequila
2 oz. cranberry juice
Soda
Cranberry for garnish

Stir tequila and juice with ice.  Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.  Top with soda. Garnish with cranberry. 

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