A beautiful piece of historical writing about dreams, Hollywood and genuine love.
- Review by Kazza K
|A wonderful cover.|
Eric introduces Jack to Marlowe's, a men's club where gay men can associate, have sex with paid boys. or pick up a like-minded man in discreet circumstances. It's a meeting place for plenty of Hollywood's gay community. Eric is very much a part of the Hollywood community as a movie director. Jack fancies Eric. Eric certainly likes Jack, but seems to see him more as his protégé, setting him up as an extra in movies, organising his wardrobe, the way he speaks, throwing his ever-popular parties ,moving him into his home and getting Jack generally noticed. A lot of what Eric does confuses Jack as he seems to send mixed signals. Does he or doesn't he want Jack? Their relationship is a complex and interesting one.
Jack is an attractive man and soon enough there is an offer for him to star in a serial that ends up becoming incredibly popular; and before you know it Jack Abadie becomes a leading man and a heartthrob all in one. He has friends, a great career in the making and yet he is terribly lonely. The serial leads to a movie deal. To promote his serial, and garner interest for his upcoming movies, Jack is sent on a gruelling junket with his leading lady, Mary, who, ironically, happens to be a lesbian. It is on this trip, at the Millionaire Theatre, that Jack meets the theatre's PR manager, Wyatt Maitland. They only have a small amount of time together but neither seems to be able to forget the other. They take opportunities to talk on the phone while Jack is on tour and catch up as soon as Jack is back in town. They feel a strong connection from the outset.
Jack and Wyatt's relationship nearly ends before it starts, though, as Jack heeds some of Eric's unhealthy relationship advice. I loved that Wyatt wasn't star struck and willing to put up with anything from Jack. That he was definite about having a communicative and loving relationship or nothing at all. Their relationship was wonderful, beautiful, sexy and romantic -
Wyatt's warm breath in his ear set Jack's blood on fire. "Come home with me?"
I loved reading about these two men and how their relationship grew and developed over the decades. How they both liked certain activities in the bedroom. How they looked out for one another. You could see why they worked so well as a couple. There were no games, just genuine love and affection. I appreciated that there were no silly pet names for one another. Wyatt called Jack heart on occasion which was sweet and endearing -
"Open your eyes, heart."
Jack did and their eyes met, a world of communication between them. Wyatt's spoke of love and trust, and Jack hoped his said the same.
There are quite a few things covered in Tarnished Gold that included real celebrities of the time, studio politics, deaths, and lavender weddings, where a gay actor would wed a female to cover their sexuality for the studio. All of these factual topics, people and events are beautifully intertwined with Ms Addams fictional characters, including the MC's. I loved the mention of the 4th Annual Academy Awards and the way that was handled.
This book is a delight to read and is written so well. The American language of the period, the absolutely charming style that shows you how different it was between small town living and the bright lights of Hollywood. The reverence given actors when there was no such thing as a television set. A snap shot of a boy from Louisiana who made it big. How Jack Abadie stayed grounded. Who grounded him, and why he could stay that way. How far he came from groping with his first love, Emery, who passed him over to stay at home in Louisiana, to living with and openly loving Wyatt Maitland in a period that was not gay friendly.
One of the most beautiful aspects of this book, for me, were the letters - the letter from Eric to Jack, which nearly broke my heart, from Wyatt to his parents, and their return letters to him were a highlight for me.
|Jimmy Shields, Bill Haines and Joan Crawford|
Lord, how I loved Eric. Written so perfectly by Brita Addams, I can't begin to tell you just how perfectly. Eric, who was mostly generous, but at times mean spirited, so loving but cold. Who gave a piece of his heart away every time he did something kind and acted as though it was business and nothing more. Who said everything was fine just as it was in his world...and the reasons why they weren't. If you read it I hope you allow Eric into your heart.
I ran the gamut of emotions reading this book, from happy to sad to angry and full circle. I loved Tarnished Gold. It is a wonderful story that drew me in and didn't let me go until the end. I wanted happiness for many people in the book, but ultimately it was Jack and Wyatt's love that kept me turning pages. Highly recommended reading for those who love old world Hollywood, a period piece, the right amount of sex to story ratio, a very romantic read that is beautifully written with wonderful leading men.