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.
Tarnished Gold is an intense read from the beginning and deals with one man's desire to become famous while never selling himself out. He stays true to himself, no matter what society thinks, to forge a trailblazing path with the man he loves by his side.
Before I give my in-depth perceptions of this story, let me start off by saying that this book is long. A lot happens, not only to the main characters but a slew of secondary characters who deal with similar life issues as the protagonist, so the overall feel of the story is one of being a miniseries. As the years go by, historical events rear their ugly head to add even more drama to the characters we slowly come to care about. Through the vivid depictions of the style and actions of the silent movie world to the transition to talkies amidst a world gone crazy because of the Depression and other's beliefs of how people should act, it was easy to become completely immersed into this beautifully flowing story.
The main character of Jack always wanted to make it big. He knew there was more to the world than what his small town could give him and he throws aside everything to head towards fame. There's a naïveté to him early on that fame slowly takes from him. But in its place he becomes a wiser even more self-assured man not willing to compromise. Jack is immensely likable and never forgets about his family as his riches are theres. He's dependable and you can't help but admire him and root for his HEA as he forges a completely unexpected path that has a very modern feel to it in its radicalness.
Surrounding Jack is a colorful cast of characters who have plenty of emotional highs and lows themselves. These characters are sometimes likable, while others leave you conflicted, but they're never forgettable. Their endings aren't always pretty but the stark realism adds to the story's overall emotional intensity. Adding to the story's intensity are numerous sexual encounters that steam up the pages with the occasional bits of BDSM thrown in. These scenes not only involve Jack, who after one or two brief encounters settles into bliss with one wonderful man who's definitely his equal, but his mentor Eric whose emotional baggage leads him from one self-destructive encounter to the next and can be seen as what could've happened to Jack had he not had such strong self-esteem and pride in himself.
Ms. Addams has crafted an emotionally draining, yet immensely satisfying, saga that carries readers to new highs in entertainment. Reading Tarnished Gold felt like watching a movie on the big screen with larger than life characters thrust into the craziness of the Roaring 20's and waiting to see who makes it through in one piece. It's an exhaustingly intense read but well worth the time invested.
My rating for this is an A.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.