Hearts of Gold: Book 1
Publication Date: March 15, 2021
Heiress Evangeline “Lindy” Lindenmayer has been groomed since childhood to marry into the British aristocracy as her mother’s ultimate ambition is a royal title for the family name. But literature fascinates Lindy far more than ballgowns, and she spends all her free time in the library, the only room in the Fifth Avenue mansion where she can safely indulge her passion for reading and find refuge from the prying eyes of her mother.
Jack Winthrop is studying for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary and has been invited to use the Lindemayer’s library for his studies. His sole experience of upper-class young women has occurred at his uncle’s church, where he has found these young debutantes universally featherbrained. When he meets Lindy, he is pleasantly surprised to discover she has wide-ranging interests and is highly intelligent. Although cautioned by his uncle to stay away from her, he finds Lindy a kindred spirit and over animated discussions of books and life, they fall in love.
But to reach happily ever after, Lindy will need to challenge her mother’s long-laid plans, and weathering the approaching storm will take more backbone than she even knew she had.
The Test of Gold is a Gilded Age forbidden romance with inspirational elements. It is a sweet (no physical contact) romance between Evangeline “Lindy” Lindenmayer, a socialite heiress, and Jack Winthrop, a theological student. The story was rich with historical details yet there were some plot issues.
Lindy Lindenmayer is the only child of noveau riche parents in 1890s New York. Her father is kind but weak, and her mother is an aggressive social climber determined to marry Lindy to an English duke. Lindy has little interest in the social whirl, preferring to read and learn. When her father allows college student, Jack Winthrop, to make use of the library in the Lindenmayer mansion Lindy meets a kindred spirit and gradually falls in love. The only problem is that Jack is completely unsuitable.
I enjoyed the first half of the book very much. Lindy was a young woman struggling to find her own way in a restrictive world. The romance with Jack bloomed sweetly. Their respect and admiration for each other was genuine. But the second half of the book took a direction I did not find realistic or engaging. Conflict is the core of every romance novel, but the conflict in The Test of Gold was over-the-top. In order to avoid spoilers, I will just say the second half of the book was chaotic and the ending was abrupt and not satisfying. The Test of Gold is a book with great potential that didn’t carry through to the end.
Renee Yancy is a long-time history and archaeology nut who has been living vicariously through historical fiction since she was a young girl. Now she writes the kind of books she loves to read—stories filled with historical and archaeological detail on every aspect of living in a different time period, interwoven with strong characters and a tale full of pathos and conflict. She wants to take you on a journey into the past so fascinating that you can’t put the story down.
When she’s not writing, Renee Facetimes with her twin grandbabies, and lives in Kentucky with her husband and two mutts. She enjoys reading, antiquing, and collecting pottery.
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