Title: Fool’s Gold
Author: Sarah Madison
Length: 238 Pages
At a Glance: While I feel this story began stronger than it wrapped up, what with the early poignancy of Rich and Jake’s separation, the final third or so did provide its share of pathos before concluding in the requisite romantic way.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Eight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again.
Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart haven’t changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.
Review: First love, a tragic accident, manipulation, and second chances are a few of the tropes that play their roles in Sarah Madison’s Fool’s Gold, a contemporary romance with a current events nod to the Olympics.
With the sort of character we all love to loath bankrolling his riding career, Jake Stanford doesn’t have much of a chance to be his own man. Especially not at the tender age of twenty when a fatal car crash not only robs him of a shot at the Beijing Olympics but also leaves him without the love of his young life, Rich Evans, a boy from the other side of the tracks. The setup for the boy meets boy/boy loses boy drama is a familiar one but does its job to move the narrative forward eight years, towards the crux of the story, where the stars align under unfortunate circumstances to bring Jake and Rich back together again for a bid at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and serves as the catalyst for the rebuilding of their broken relationship.
The long festering resentment brought on by the manipulating of events all those years before runs as a fractious undercurrent between the two men as Rich—whose own dreams were crushed in the accident—is hired to coach Jake along into becoming an equestrian athlete with a shot at gold. Rich’s return to Jake’s life brings with it the potential for added friction and drama, which comes to fruition as it was intended. In the boy gets boy back angle, the tide of anger that flows between Jake and Rich serves as a barrier before bridges are slowly rebuilt, and there was, of course, the anticipated big revelation that materialized earlier than I’d expected it to, which was a nice change of pace rather than it being an eleventh hour bit of drama.
I have to say there is nothing at all bad about the mental image of a man on horseback, so there’s plenty to drool over in this novel. Having said that, though, I also have to admit there were points where my brain glazed over a bit at the finer points of care and handling and training. But, if you’re a fan of the equine sports, or love horses in general, you’ll find plenty to delight over here. While I feel this story began stronger than it wrapped up, what with the early poignancy of Rich and Jake’s separation, the final third or so did provide its share of pathos before concluding in the requisite romantic way.
For fans of contemporary romance, Fool’s Gold is one I’d categorize as a comfort read. The plot adheres so faithfully to the tried and true formula we read this genre for, delivering exactly what’s expected from its heroes. In a nice twist, the antagonist in the story does make a bid for redemption, though I have to say he didn’t do quite enough to fully win me over—but, while I’m a bit of a tough sell, he does get points for trying.
You can buy Fool’s Gold here: