Angel Martinez's Reviews > The Only Gold

The Only Gold by Tamara  Allen
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May 11, 2011

it was amazing
Read from August 12, 2011 to May 11, 2012

I'm so ashamed that it took me so long to post a review - I finished this month's ago but have been buried... okay, no excuses *hangs head* Another wonderful story from Ms. Allen - this comes in at a 4.62 (I know, odd number, but I rate on a 100 percentile on my other review spot.)


One of the most compelling reasons to read Tamara Allen is her obvious and obsessive love of history. From the smallest article of clothing, to the food, to the very watch Jonah consults so diligently, every piece of material culture has been lovingly researched. The attitudes, the social norms, the specifics of the workplace, the language choices in dialogue - there simply are no anachronisms, not a stitch out of place.

These are things the fan of the historical truly appreciates, this immersion in the time period, this ability to lose oneself in another era without the jarring moments of "wait, did he really just say that?" one often runs into in less serious historical offerings.

That would be enough for me to devour it, a nice jaunt through another time period, but Ms. Allen doesn't stop there. We have the too-tightly-laced Jonah, not a character one would think of as sympathetic, but he's presented in such a way that our hearts immediately go out to him. Then we're given the jaunty and initially annoying Reid, who wastes no time getting under the reader's skin as well. Jonah's dedication and loyalty, Reid's passion for life and his kind patience - these are the traits that stand out in these two endearing characters, and we're allowed into their lives slowly as they evolve into complex and wounded men. There's resentment, suspicion, and anguish aplenty. The plot moves at a steady, ever-increasing velocity and one feels entirely caught up in what becomes a heart-in-mouth finale.

If there are any flaws at all to this book, they do, unfortunately, come toward the end. There are two events which I had a difficult time swallowing - one because there was no good explanation for it and the other? Well, having grown up as a competitive swimmer and knowing the drain of cold water on even the strongest, there is a scene that I find rather implausible at the end. Dramatic, but not physically possible.

However, this didn't diminish the overall enjoyment of the work. A stunning piece, beautifully written, both of a time period and the clash of two very different, equally dedicated personalities.

My final analysis - a highly recommended 92%.

Even if you're not usually a fan of historical fiction, put your preconceptions aside and read this book.
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