Estara's Reviews > The Only Gold

The Only Gold by Tamara Allen
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Mar 30, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: ebook, read-in-2011
Recommended to Estara by: Ann Somerville and my enjoyment of Whistling in the Dar
Recommended for: lovers of historical romance and m/m romance
Read from March 27 to 29, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** This was another lovely and slow developing love story between two full-fashioned men with a personal history they have to deal with, at a time where being homosexual was illegal.

This time it was a New York bank shortly after the end of the Civil War, and the author added a suspense plot centring on the treatment of Civil War veterans. Another interesting and not at all info-dumpy part was the way that banking worked at that time, internally - among the various employees of the bank - and technically.

I fell in love with orderly and repressed Jonah, working at this bank for 14 years, who is the main focus of the story and I think his lover, Reid Hylliard is just the personality to complement him.

I did not enjoy the book as much as Whistling in the Dark however, because I wanted the story be completely about the men and their situations with no outside danger and suspense. The minor characters, while loving vignettes (I especially liked Margaret and the French girl at Jonah's guest-house) did not feel as fleshed out as the staff of the cafe or Jack's older friend/mentor in WitD.

And I really disliked the power inequality between Jonah and Reid for most of the story(especially considering what Reid eventually turns out to be) and that EVERY single decision Reid seems to make for the bank is exactly correct and true ((view spoiler)).

This evens out in their personal life when they fall for each other, but still. You even have Jonah following Reid into dangerous territory so he has to be SAVED! Come on!

I'm quite willing to try more books by Tamara Allen though, because I don't get four-star-reads in m/m romance all that often.
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Dumbledore11214 Oh about Reid's decisions being correct, etc, I wondered about it as well initially after I finished, but I thought it had been noted somewhere that banks is his area of specialty and all his investigations had been in banks, so I figured it became his subspecialty so to speak and he is pretty well versed in it?

Not disputing yout view, just wondering what you thought of it?


message 2: by Estara (last edited Apr 02, 2011 10:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Estara Dumbledore11214 wrote: "Oh about Reid's decisions being correct, etc, I wondered about it as well initially after I finished, but I thought it had been noted somewhere that banks is his area of specialty and all his inves..."

I could probably have accepted it if SOME of the decisions Reid made had turned out to be wrong. I did like that he offered some of the ideas Jonah had thought about himself to the board and that he did credit him for it - but all the decisions the reader sees as innovations are HIS ideas - and Jonah has been working at this bank for 14 years.

You know if Jonah really was that hide-bound the board ought to have him let go after his mentor cashier died. My suspension of disbelief just didn't stretch that far ^^.

Also: if I remember my timeframe halfways correctly this particular operation of his only took a few months at most - if any of the previous stings in banks were of similar shortness, I would think he borrowed innovations from those places - but that doesn't necessarily mean they would all work in New York - and of course there is the day-lock idea which actually IS meant to make the break-in easier, so Jonah was right in his suspicions.

I sort of wonder why the board could be trusted to know that Reid was a (view spoiler), but Jonah couldn't... ah well.


Dumbledore11214 I thought he had several missions in the different banks across the country (new one was supposed to be in California and he declined to be with Jonah, right?), but I could be wrong. I thought the reason why they all worked and I agree that he borrowed it from other places of course, was because at least in 19 century banks were operating more or less uniformly and whatever improvement worked for one place, worked for another, especially since most of them were in paperwork department so to speak. You are right of course about the locks.

And I also thought that Board was also slowly moving along, so it is not that Jonah was out of touch, it is that the whole Bank (and Jonah) needed to be dragged along. And of course when he thought over those innovations, he realized that they were helpful.

And yes, I wondered about why Board could be trusted to know who Reid is and Jonah could not, but I thought the problem was with the president of the bank, that Reid tried to make him promote everybody who deserved promotions before he came along and was clearly bothered that this is the way operation should proceed. And he says so couple times, when Jonah admits that it still bothers him, Reid says "you are not the only one", or something to that effect. And when everything is in the open, Reid can speak more openly and he says, I thought it was not fair to you Jo.

I would say though, that if Reid was so bothered, I thought that it would have made more sense for him to take it down a notch and not be as mean to Jonah, as he was initially. I loved the tension, do not get me wrong, but my sympathies were with Jonah and Jonah only for quite some time when I was reading, it took me a lot to warm up to Reid.


Estara I definitely have no idea whether the 19th century US banking system was so similar, I don't even know that about the German banking system ^^ - it struck me as unlikely because I have always though that streamlining business only makes sense today because it saves on cost - I firmly believe that otherwise local expertise will bring more lasting customer content, because people see their particular needs being met (although there HAS to be some sort of lowest standard that they can expect to be offered everywhere).

The more travel time has shortened and the more the connections have become instant, the less possibility for custom-built service to your local needs - unless you are really rich and can afford the extra cost for that.

Dumbledore11214 wrote: "I would say though, that if Reid was so bothered, I thought that it would have made more sense for him to take it down a notch and not be as mean to Jonah, as he was initially. I loved the tension, do not get me wrong, but my sympathies were with Jonah and Jonah only for quite some time when I was reading, it took me a lot to warm up to Reid."

Yes, me too. I didn't read those "You are not the only one" as Reid referring to himself, but now you explain it they may really have tried to obliquely express his own dissatisfaction with the state of things even then, and later on he does explicitly state that it was the board being insensitive.

I still like the power balance of status in Whistling in the Dark better.


Dumbledore11214 Oh, see while I loved loved loved Whistling in the Dark, in many ways I think in the hands of lesser writer the book would have been too quiet for me. See, from enemies to friends/lovers is my very favorite trope in mm romance and when it has been executed so well, I am all kinds of happy :) I mean, they are not real enemies and I do not necessarily like extreme varieties of this trope (I think Kei's gift to me is perfection in that way, I am only talking about the execution of the trope from "real enemies to lovers"), but I so welcomed the tension. And since at the same time I also like equal partners, I was pleased in the way tension was resolved.
Hope I am making sense. Like I would read some master/slave trope sometimes, but only because what I am craving is "from enemies to friends" and sometimes master/slave can offer it. While at the same time I dislike the balance of power in those books. Hope I am making sense.


Estara I really like quiet relationship books - I like friends to lovers better than enemies to lovers ^^ - but you are so right that they have to be well written to truly work.
I agree with you about Kei's Gift being a very strong entry in the enemies to lovers-trope. But I read it just as much for the sheer epic fantasy feel.

In a pure romance I prefer as little externally caused turbulence as possible, I like it best when the personalities make the happy-end problematic, but also something to be wished for. But it is a rare romance that can do that without becoming boring or too unrealistic.

I have found that if it's consensual I can live with the sub/dom trope in BDSM (and I have to like the characters first, the trope itself doesn't work for me otherwise), but I have real problems of believing in a true master/true slave love story.


Dumbledore11214 Oh, sorry, missed your comment. I think I like both external and internal conflicts mixed together, I will actually read a lot of different trops, plots, subgenres as long as it is well written, but I definitely like complicated plots as well, love mysteries, fantasy, historicals. I will read something quiet concentrated on the guys with no interference from outside and only characters driving the story, but several stories like this in a row would bore me.


Estara Dumbledore11214 wrote: "but several stories like this in a row would bore me. "

For me that depends on the writer a lot. When I do re-reads of series I can quite happily devour a certain kind of style - but usually I also read different genres in turn. They do always have to have a possible positive ending (in a fantasy or sf series I can wait for that, sometimes) - I read to escape, so I do NOT read dystopias, it would only depress my mood.


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