Gerry B's Book Reviews

The only Gold, by Tamara Allen

A masterfully constructed  historical-fiction-romance. Highly recommended.

Story blurb: 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.

  • Winner of first place for Best Setting Development in the 2011 Rainbow Awards.
  • Winner of first place for Best Setting Development in the 2011 Rainbow Awards.
  • Winner of third place for Best Gay Novel in the 2011 Rainbow Awards.
  • Winner of third place for Best Writing Style in the 2011 Rainbow Awards.

Available in e-book format – 980 KB


Review by Gerry Burnie

I love period stories, especially those that emphasize the rigid but qualitative standards of the late 19th-century middle class. These were standards that had evolved over the centuries to accommodate living in large groups in a civilized fashion. There is something comforting about them—solid—and Tamara Allen has captured this ambiance with remarkable insight in The Only Gold [Dreamspinner Press, 2011]

The story revolves around Jonah Woolner, a quintessential practitioner of 19th-century, Victorian standards, right down to the ‘proper’ attire for a gentleman of commerce. Of course, he has the right job for it at the Grandborough Bank of Manhatten, as Assistant Cashier (equivalent to an assistant teller, today). Naturally, having been a good ‘company man’ for fourteen years, and some months, Jonah quite naturally expects he is in line for the Head Cashier’s position. Imagine his disappointment, therefore, when he is passed over for an outsider—and also his opposite in many ways.

It is not that Reid Hylliard is a radical, far from it, but compared to Jonah he certainly appears that way. He is an innovator, though, and so Jonah and he clash at almost every turn as a matter of conviction. Nevertheless, Jonah remains in his assistant’s position out of loyalty to the company—fearing that Reid’s innovations will bring it more harm than good. At the same time he is forced to accept some of Reid’s innovations, and begrudgingly discovers that they are not as bad as he had feared; i.e. getting to know the other employees socially, and finding that they are quite pleasant and generous people.

The tension between Jonah and Reid has been described as a dance, i.e. “one step forward and two steps back,” as one reviewer, “Sirius,” put it, and this says it all very well. It is the masterful study in human interaction between two strong-willed individuals that makes this story so interesting and credible to read. Moreover it is prolonged throughout the story, and so there are no ‘quick fixes’ here.

Then comes the real catalyst, the “Great Blizzard” of 1888, reputed to be the worst storm in United States recorded history, and as is sometimes wont to happen, Jonah and Reid are thrown together in such a way as to challenge the way they think about many things—including their feelings for one another.

Some reviewers have criticized the pace, claiming that the first half dragged with too much detail, while the last third contained all of the action, but I didn’t find this a problem. The relationship between Jonah and Reid is a complex one, and needed to be developed before the action had its full impact. Therefore, I don’t think I would have handled any differently, myself.

This is truly a masterfully constructed and delivered historical-fictionn-romance, and it comes highly recommended from this camp. Five bees.


Visitor’s count to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 21,420


Introducing the characters from my forthcoming novelComing of Age on the Trail

Cory and Reb are fictional characters, of course, but this photo struck me as being particularly representative of the two. Firstly, because it is a candid moment in the lives of two, actual young cowboys, on the trail or during a roundup, and because of the unmistakable tenderness portrayed.

There can be no doubt they care for one another by the way the older boy is holding his young friend (lover, perhaps). Likewise, the younger lad appears completely at home in his arms [note the open shirt and the bold display of skin]. It is evocative of the affection of an eronomos (older lover) toward his erastes (younger love interest).



If you haven’t done so before, do drop by the InnerBouquet website.

The InnerBouquet mission is to spread the word about & celebrate LGBT ARTS, CULTURE & ATHLETICISM from past to the present. The site features bios, reviews, critiques, interviews, photos, news, videos, songs, poems, etc. – all related to the contributions of LGBT icons world-wide. On a personal level, the InnerBouquet founder and creative director, David-Paul, in his “FlashBack Diary” reveals poignant moments from his gay journal.


If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.


Thanks for dropping by. You make the numbers grow!

February 26, 2012 - Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Gay historical fiction, Gay romance, Historical period

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