Title : Tarnished Gold
Author : Brita Addams
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Historical, BDSM/Kink
Length : 350 pages (e-book)
Published : March 25, 2013
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.
I don’t know that I’ve read another book in this genre quite like “Tarnished Gold”. The book is loosely based on the first openly out gay actor in Hollywood. Be sure to read the author notes after the epilogue as I found it added to the essence of the story.
The story spans from 1917 to 1955 following Jack Abadie, a Louisiana farm boy, who runs off to Hollywood to realize his dream of being a star. He’s lucking in finding both a place to live and a job promptly after his arrival in the city. It’s not the glamorous life he wants but he knows he has to have a job to pay his way while he waits for his chance to get into pictures. Five years later while working as a waiter he’s propositioned by a customer to patronize a private club called Marlowe’s. It’s a private club for men who prefer men to socialize and fulfill their desires in a safe setting. Eric, the gorgeous man who invited him comes onto Jack, which is not at all unwanted attention. Eric sees something special in Jack and gives him the chance in pictures as an extra. Jack catches the eyes of the studio heads and is soon acting in his own movies. Eric never once demanded sexual favors for the help he gives Eric but Jack desperately wishes he would. Jack wants to be with him but Eric shoots down his attempts at any type of a relationship besides friendship and mentor. Eric prefers a certain type of man and doesn’t do relationships. Jack is deeply hurt by the rejection. He spends some time pining away until he meets a striking young man named Wyatt at the release of his new movie. The attraction is mutual but the timing is terrible as he is embarking on an eight month long junket to promote the movie. The two stay in touch and wait for the day they can meet again. Seems, in this case, absence does make the heart grow fonder because the men jump into something intense right away. Jack is lonely in a crowd, and Wyatt is lonely because of his secret life. Both men want a loving relationship so you’d think they’d be on the same page but some not so good advice ingrained in Jack’s head by his mentor, Eric, has Jack screwing up what seems kismet fairly quickly. Jack starts to think for himself realizing Eric isn’t the best role model when it comes to affairs of the heart and begs Wyatt for forgiveness.
From here things were kind of a whirlwind romance, like in the movies. The two men know how they feel about each other and never look back. I thought the love story was really beautiful. I expected Jack to succumb to the demands of the times and his studio heads but he never did. He was brave and true to himself and who wanted to be. I had moments of doubting someone of that time could stand up to all the injustice but the more I thought about the more it seemed plausible. He had friends and foes but he also had Wyatt and that’s all he really needed. Jack was a very strong character.
Although I adored the MCs I think the most compelling character for me in this book was Eric. He was so confident and capable but also very flawed. I went from being weary of his intentions to hoping he was the love interest and then wanting to yell at him. His story and struggle affected me the most. I’m pretty sure he made me get teary eyed twice! Jack learned so much from Eric’s mistakes. It was rather heartbreaking.
Despite the slow pace of the last part of the book I found this to be an enchanting read. I must admit to being a fan of old movies and enjoyed delving into that era in history. This was a fresh and thoughtful book about the love story of two men who defied what society offered them and instead chose to have it all.
Rated 4.5 stars by Whit