Gold Fever by Lyn Denison

It’s been a while since I’ve had the inclination to look in my night stand for one of my favourite lesbian romance novels, but I know that this one is in there somewhere, and the next time I’m hit with a bit of “down time” due to a cold, it’ll be time to dust off “Gold Fever” and go check out life in a very small Australian town.

“Gold Fever” was first published by Naiad Press in 1998, but the title is still in print now published by Bella Books, so it seems that I’m not the only one who thinks that it’s a keeper, even though it’s from a time before sex got real explicit in the more mainstream lesbian romance novel.

“Gold Fever” is the story of Kate Bannister and Ashley Maclean who grew up together in small town Australia. Kate and Ashley were best friends, they went to school together and they explored love and their blooming sexuality together as teens. This part of the story still rings true, but I don’t think – or hope – that it’s likely that getting caught in bed with your girlfriend will get you into a forced marriage in our time and age, but that’s what happened to Ashley.

The story centres on Kate after she has returned to her home town, years after the devastating ending of her relationship with Ashley. Kate leads a quiet life as the city librarian, seeking out a covered and emotionally distant relationship with another woman. Kate is busy preparing for a special appearance at the library by a new author whose first novel, Gold Fever, has become a bestseller, when she get the news that Ashley is coming to town. This of course throws Kate for a spin, as all the old memories and feelings rush back, and she starts questioning herself, what she will do if Ashley wants to see her again ….or if she doesn’t.

If you’ve read enough lesbian romance novels, you know that the authors often choose from a limited number of standard storylines. “Gold Fever” is based on the classic of young girls falling in love, getting separated but keeping that first love alive through the years, until they meet again and go through emotional turmoil wondering if they can rekindling their love.

I think that the reason why I still reread this novel from time to time is, that the characters are likeable, and that the pain off the separation and the fear of getting burned again ring true. “Gold Fever” is a real simple story, but if you need a little something to support your belief in the strength of the first love, you might like to see if your library carries this novel or you might even buy it.

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