Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tamara Allen - The Only Gold

Jonah Woolner’s life is as prudently regulated as the bank where he works. It’s a satisfying life until he’s passed over for promotion in favor of newcomer Reid Hylliard. Brash and enterprising, Reid beguiles everyone except Jonah, who’s convinced Reid’s progressive ideas will be the bank’s ruin. When Jonah begins to discover there’s more to Reid than meets the eye, he risks succumbing to Reid’s charms—but unlocking the vault to all of Reid’s secrets could lead him down a dangerous path.
Losing his promotion—and perhaps his heart—is the least of Jonah’s difficulties. When the vengeful son of a Union army vet descends upon the bank to steal a government deposit of half a million dollars during the deadliest blizzard to ever sweep New York, Jonah and Reid are trapped, at odds and fighting for their lives.

Comment: I got this time months ago because someone somewhere has said it was very good. The blurb seemed inviting enough so I took a chance on it and added it to my TBR. This month I thought about it and there it went to the monthly list.

This is the story of Jonah Woolner, a bank clerk who thinks he will get a promotion soon but the bank's owner decided to give the promotion to a newcomer. While his co workers seem to like Reid just fine, Jonah isn't convinced he is there to ruin the bank, so he tries to keep Reid away.
However, Reid is persistent and slowly he goes after Jonah until it's obvious there's something between them not contempt. Everything seems well enough until the day the bank is in danger and Jonah must face his biggest dilemma, does he care more about the bank or Reid?

This story has many ingredients to make it addictive to read, namely the slow pace that leads the reader through an original story that combines fiction and reality in a very particular but detailed way.
The story is based on the New York blizzard of 1888, which did happen, and the author created a detailed story about banks and the way of life in those days. These are the elements in the story we can recognize come from serious investigation and research and were very well used to give some semblance of reality and formal ideas to the book.

Of course, the story itself is fictional and has characters the author imagined, but I think her work in mixing the two things, the fiction and the real history, was done very well.
The writing is serious too, to the point, and always in a way that screams thoughtfulness and perfection, meaning the author took care about how things are said, portrayed and I have to say I liked her "voice" quite well too.

My biggest issue with the novel was the pace. While in some parts it was actually good to see things happen slowly - it did help with the plot's development - I also confess I was a little bit bored here and there when things seemed to take a bit too long to happen. I think this was on purpose to better explain to the reader how everything took time, how long Jonah fought to be away, to be cool under pressure and that's good, but often the narrative would slow down so much I would lose focus until something else happened.
Is the book's length that bothered me? Not really, no, but some parts were definitely more boring to go though.

One of the key elements in the story is, of course, the relationship between Jonah and Reid. They start of with the wrong foot but Reid is persistent and until they kissed the clues about it weren't as obvious as that. I think the way they dealt with their growing feelings was believable for the time. Jonah is fascinating, he does try to be away, to be cool and think the worst of Reid but apparently he couldn't fight his feelings and that certainly is romantic.
There's challenges in front of them and honestly I didn't know what was to come so the real mystery of the book was a real surprise and thankfully the author did it well.

The secondary characters were well depicted. Some I liked better than others but they did add flavor to the book.
The plot was simple but as it took so long to happen, sometimes I would lose focus and wonder why certain things were there in the first place. Still, it had a goal from beginning to end and that helped.

All in all, a good story, good elements, too bad the slow pace that at times seemed too much.
Despite this, I do plan on reading more by the author.
Grade: 7/10

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