Book Review: Tarnished Gold by Brita Addams

Posted: May 13, 2013 by sidlove in 5 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Heather's Reviews
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Review by Heather C.

five-stars120205

 

TITLE: Tarnished Gold
AUTHOR: Brita Addams
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
BLURB: In 1915, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.

After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.

Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.

As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.

REVIEW: Set in the midst of scandals and controversies that heavily impacted the Hollywood film industry during the 1920s, Brita Addams has woven a beautiful story proving that loyalty and love truly can conquer all.

Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever chosen to read this book if I hadn’t been asked to review it.  Historical romances usually aren’t my thing, especially American ones, so thanks tremendously for Sid’s blog, or I probably never would have discovered this wonderful story. For some weird reason, I was in the mood for something different and long, and this was presented to me at exactly the right moment.

The story begins in 1917 and follows the life and film career of Jack Abadie; a gay plantation boy from “N’awlins” that leaves his family’s home on his 20th birthday hoping to make it big as a Hollywood actor.  After 5 years of absolutely no success, Jack friends Eric Ballance, a director who quickly becomes his friend and mentor.  Jack quickly moves up from the lowly roles as extras to the leading male role of a serial, all the while harboring “unrequited sentiment” for Eric.  Jack eventually embraces himself as the hardened, lonely person Hollywood has created, seeking impersonal sexual trysts at a private gentlemen’s club….until the day he meets Wyatt Maitland on a tour launch for his popular show. It’s instant mutual attraction, but Jack is kind of jaded and more than a little vulnerable to give himself to another man.  Somehow Jack must find it in himself to let all those fears go and own his life, to stop letting those around him dictate how he should act.

 “I can’t imagine my life without you.  Every moment we’re apart, I think of you.  You’re my blessed distraction, Wyatt Maitland. All that makes sense to me, of me.”

From there, it’s Jack and Wyatt’s fight against the film studios, overcoming the Crash of ’29, and mourning the loss of loved ones.  This isn’t a very angsty story when it comes to their relationship, but there are still a few tear-inducing moments; one scene in particular. Damn, that killed me!!

“I had no control over that.  I do have control over what goes on in my life, and I won’t have any part of denying you your rightful place in it.  In my heart, you are my husband.  I’d marry you if I could, now, today.  I’m proud of loving you, and I want the world to know that.”

There are so many things I loved about this book.  For one thing, it doesn’t fit that formulamatic mold that you often get with most romances. It was unique and different and there really hasn’t been anything else that I’ve read that I could compare it to.  Oh, I’m sure there might be books out there that would compare, but I certainly haven’t read any.  Early in the story I kept asking myself “What is the point of all this? Where is this going?” But then I had that ah-ha moment and everything just clicked into place. This is such a beautiful romance. And that is what matters! Plus, all the secondary characters were wonderful; everyone felt so real to me.

Don’t let me forget to tell you how sexy Jack and Wyatt were!  Whew, there was a lot of sex in this book; on the floor, against the wall, over the couch, in the pool.  They did it everywhere. Plus, there was some light BDSM; spankings, a little bondage and a few toys.  No cheating, sharing or sex with other people.  No, these guys only had hands for each other.  Their relationship was strong and very beautiful…now I’m just repeating myself. 

“I love you, you know.”

Wyatt smiled.  “So you keep telling me.”

Jack wrapped his arms around Wyatt. “Do you mind?”

“That you love me or that you keep telling me?”

“Either or.”

“Not at all.  I believe it’s a requirement of my existence.”

I think the biggest complaint some readers might make against this book could be the seemingly slow start; having to wait until 22% for Wyatt to be introduced. But honestly, this story isn’t really about Wyatt. It’s about Jack and the changes Wyatt brings to Jack’s life.  As a reader, I feel like I really needed that foundation of getting to know Jack in order to easily see the changes Wyatt creates.

“Over all these years, you are the only person who has ever made me feel whole.”

Then, finally, the freakin’ Author’s Note at the end had me crying my eyes out! Who does that? When it hit me, and I realized how close to reality this story really was, the tears started flowing.  I cried for the real life William Haines and his lover Jimmie Shields.

I know this book is probably not for everyone, but I can certainly appreciate all the research and time Ms. Addams put into sharing this story.  Even I can recognize her hard work, and I know very little about the time period to verify any accuracy.

5 stars all the way for sucking me in and letting me live, just for a little while, in history!

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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Heather C. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love
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Comments
  1. Macky says:

    Lovely review Heather. Sometimes it pays to push past your usual comfort zone. 😀

  2. Brita Addams says:

    Hi Heather. Thank you so much for this review. I’ve been away on vacation and just got the email from Dreamspinner.

    You are so right that this is Jack’s story. Much as each of our lives is lived for years without our significant other, so was Jack’s. I truly believe that none of us is fit for another until we know ourselves.

    Thank you again. You got Jack and Wyatt!

    • Heather C says:

      Thanks so much for your comment!  I was so worried that my review wouldn’t do this book justice. I really loved and hope other people can also appreciated it.  And I can’t wait to meet you in October at GRL!!

      • Brita Addams says:

        I’ve reviewed books that I worried that the review didn’t convey my true feelings. I am Tarnished Gold had that effect on you. I so look forward to meeting you in October!

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