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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars18
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2012
If you are not familiar with the work of Tamara Allen , then this (very) short story is the perfect introduction.

Set during the Great Depression, it brings together two men from different ends of the social scale, who have both fallen on hard times. If you are looking for overblown emotions, and overt erotica - move on. Allen's style is spare and elegant. Not at word is wasted. Her characters are fully evolved, complex individuals. This mini-tale is moving , humourous and well researched. Her depiction of the Depression with its flop-houses, breadlines and despair, are beautifully drawn. Better yet, even against this background she is able to find hope and romance between two very different men. It is an uplifting story.

All the Allen trademarks are there; attention to historical detail (including accurate speech patterns), sharp dialogue, and a genuine feel for male romance. The sex scenes are tasteful, and that makes them more erotic than the more overt ones to be found in other gay fiction.

I have read all her offerings to date, and can recommend Whistling in the Dark,Downtime, and The Only Gold, without hesitation. Try them, you will not be disappointed. She is one of the few authors who has raised m/m fiction to a higher level, and deserves a wider audience.
She has a unique 'voice' , and is an author to be treasured.
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on 17 February 2012
Other reviewers have pointed out much that is relevant to a story which might be short (40 pages?) but is deeply satisfying, and yet they failed to point out what I deem to be its greatest charm.

Set in a gloomy New York in the thirties, it does not exactly avoid the bleakness of that times but it sort of skips over it. The most unsavoury facets of those harsh years are just hinted at, as if in passing. When Peter and Whit meet in a squallid dosshouse, Ms Allen choses not linger on the poor surroundings but lets her reader marvel with them at the excitement of an unexpected encounter and at the fascination that slowly takes over Whit's mind as he discovers the mysterious stranger.

The two leads are not working class: Whit might have been in the past but he has made a name for himself afterwards and is clearly educated.
I do not know whether this lightness of touch was intentional or whether Ms Allen knew she lacked the skills needed to make a gloomier tone interesting for the reader. It does not matter either.
I only know that by suffusing her story with a hope that is realistic without being prosaic she managed a heartwarming fairytale in the form of a M/M romance between a despondent, disheartened but kind prince charming down on his luck and a sweet, scruffy knight in ink blotted armour. There are no villains here: all side characters have redeeming qualities to them and a happy ending of sorts is achieved without a single word sounding sappy.

The language is neat, never being in the way of a story filled with passion but nearly devoid of graphic sex which happens, of course, but is never indulged upon: a good thing as the little that there is on the page is not exactly memorable.

Characterization is finely developed and so are the intimacy and trust between two leads; as a side note one could point out that they seem to be able to truly find themselves only AFTER having found each other which is subtle indeed.

After so many disappointing reads I shall cherish the opportunity of rereading this fairyta... ehm... work sometime in the future.
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on 2 November 2012
Tamara is on my list of must buy authors. she transports you to the magic od past times, i can smell the smoke, hear the noise and bustle and feel the despair or happiness of each chapter. It takes a special touch to be able to write romance, even more so when its gay romance, to write it without descending to cliched phrases and lines. When Whit and Peter finally learn to trust each other its a great releif to the reader who's been waiting for the monet with beath held! tamara makes you really feel for the people involved, understand why they act as they do and among the sadness and drama she inserts real humour that makes you smile despite the tears rolling down :) I loved this book - as i have of all hers, its a great value novella with the realsim and characters of her full length novels. somehow she manages to find the real muman emotions that drive a story and make it so real.
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on 21 May 2013
I downloaded a couple of Tamara Allen's books - partly because they were free - but was quickly left wondering why they were free as they were really very good indeed. Unlike so many books of this genre, they are not at all cheesy. An unusual, well written, descriptive story and manner that leaves you wanting more. Others have written a description of the story line of this short novel, which I won't repeat. Suffice to say that it is an enjoyable and absorbing read.
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on 3 August 2013
Dear Tamara,
Thank you so much for such a beautiful piece of writing.
I don't normally go for short stories as I have this need for books that make me slowly appreciate the characters and the plot as my days go by.
I have to admit though that this was definitely a well worth try.
I'd highly recommend this to anyone!
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on 15 September 2013
I really enjoyed this book.
Instead of a journalist with no scruples, Whit is a journalist that writes a nice story about a mis-understood man; the father of his new lover. Whit wants to tell the truth, instead of sell papers, which is a nice change.
This was a really sweet story.
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on 28 October 2014
I just loved this short story, so original, delightful & engaging. I was thinking it would make a great film. All of the characters, but especially Whit & Peter were interesting and fully rounded. I was sad when I finished it - this could of been a novel.
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on 5 October 2014
It was a good read, emotional and warm. Second story from Tamara Allen I have read, but I really am starting to love this author's works. The characters seem to " grow on" reader, there is a little bit of mistery and lots of love and hope.
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on 2 August 2013
Another fantastic book from Tamara Allen. You can't help but fall in love with the characters. My only complain that the story was too short. I would have liked to read more about the lives of Whit and Peter. But still a great book.
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on 23 July 2013
A lovely story set in a gritty and desperate time in American history. Despite the darker elements of the story this really was heart warming. The chemistry between Whit and Peter was both subtle and believable. Well worth reading.
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