Pro alpine skier Aspen Archer was on top of the world. That is, until a career-ending crash at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics threw her off the mountain, literally and figuratively. Since then, Aspen has done her best to pick up her broken body and continue on with her life. She finds solace in the only thing she ever loved, skiing. And she travels all over the globe, living in obscurity, coaching tourists at ski resorts and ignoring her problems. It’s not until she meets Cate Tierney on the ski slopes in Australia that Aspen believes she may have found a reason to quit hiding and start living.
Cate recognizes Aspen immediately when her daughter, Gemma, takes a skiing lesson from the former Olympian. Hurt by a past relationship, Cate is reluctant to get involved with Aspen, despite the sparks that fly between them. With only three weeks in Australia, Cate decides to give in to passion. As the two women become emotionally involved, Aspen’s darkest secrets come to the surface. With Cate, Aspen is forced to remember all she has run away from. But she also remembers everything she ever wanted as well.
Can Aspen figure out how to get herself back on track? Or will her encounter with Cate be limited to a vacation fling?
Aspen Archer is more than just a former Olympian skier. She is a woman who is badly broken, first physically and now emotionally. She hides this brokenness with self-deprecation and good-humored jokes. She personifies fun and excitement on the ski slope, but in private she is lonely and searching for the one thing she does not believe she deserves: love and happiness with a beautiful woman.
Cate Tierney is a single mom who has had a rough outing with love. She is wary to get involved after her ten year, somewhat abusive, relationship with her ex. As sophisticated and devoted as she is to her daughter, Cate is also a woman with needs. She has a passionate side that Noyes does well to showcase when she and Aspen become involved, and let’s just say she could and does teach Aspen a thing or two.
On paper, you wouldn’t expect these two women to click based on age, family status, and maturity. But if there’s one thing Noyes can teach us, it’s that love doesn’t understand the reasons it shouldn’t happen. Love only understands what it desires.
The Writing Style
The trick with first person is choosing the right character’s point of view to get maximum amount of information while showing how they grow and change as love is introduced to their lives. In this case, Aspen is without a doubt the best choice for this specific format. Through Aspen, we see her evolve from this broken athlete into this strong and confident woman that slowly begins to believe she is deserving of all the good things in life, despite the mistakes she has made. It’s a really wonderful look into how love can inspire us to heal what is broken and liberate us to want the joys we have denied ourselves for so long.
What I really loved is how Noyes makes the secondary characters – her sister and Cate’s friends and family — just as important to Aspen as Cate is. While Cate and Gemma are the catalyst that propel Aspen on the road to recovery, the rest of the characters further represent what Aspen always knew she wanted and now believes she deserves to have in her life.
There’s a lot of hinting to Cate’s relationship with her ex and how toxic it was. While Noyes gives us great bread crumbs to follow, I wish Cate had told Aspen the actual details of that relationship. I think it would’ve given Aspen a better understanding of the hurt Cate endured and was afraid of repeating again, as well as give a little more clarity for the reader.
This is Noyes third book, and her writing just keeps getting better and better with each release. She gives us such amazing characters that are easy for anyone to relate to. And she makes them so endearing that you can’t help but want them to overcome the past and move forward toward their happily ever after. If you’re in the mood some great skiing, great friends, and hot and steamy encounters, I expect you to pick this book up right away.
Excerpt from Gold by EJ Noyes
This was so not the life I’d imagined for myself, and sometimes I couldn’t quite believe how fast and how far I’d fallen. I was in my thirties and was supposed to be married and raising a child, working on getting to the next Olympics or coaching someone else to a podium finish. Instead I was living everywhere but in the house I owned, changing my partner with every new location, and bumbling around the slopes like a novice. And I had no idea how to get back to even a semblance of the life I wanted. Even if I knew what that was…
Staring into the fridge, I settled on grilled cheese and tried to ignore the second new carton of milk that’d joined the one I bought a few days earlier…
While I absentmindedly sliced and flipped, I thought about Cate back home having dinner. She’d probably whipped up something amazing for the people in her house, including the rich, attractive, and successful spouse that I’d decided she had. Afterward, she’d talk, laugh, and drink with her friends and enjoy time with her family. Then wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.
The first mouthful of my dinner stuck in my throat. Swallowing hard I managed to push it down but once it settled, I realized I was suddenly not hungry. I set the plate in the fridge, just in case my appetite revived later…
Staring at myself in the mirror, I brushed my teeth and forced myself to admit why Cate had gotten under my skin. My life was full of attractive women with great personalities and if I wanted sex, I had Rachel. So my feelings about Cate couldn’t be just about lust. Looking at the familiar angles of my face, it dawned on me.
Cate was the first non-family person who’d seen what I really was underneath. Beyond that, she was the first person I’d admitted my truths to. She hadn’t poked or prodded at me, but rather sat quietly and let me come to her. The feeling of understanding, compassion, and comfort simmered below her every gentle question. She made me feel like it was my idea to tell her without any feeling of trickery.
My second realization came just as swiftly. Despite everything in the way, and the fact I barely knew her, I imagined Cate filling the empty space I’d had inside for so long. She’d drawn that feeling from me, awoken the desire I thought I’d lost. And what was the most tragic thing of all – to want someone I barely knew and who was so unattainable.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594936104
- Publisher: Bella Books
EJ Noyes Online
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