Review: Fields of Gold by Dev Bentham

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Life is full of compromises. That’s what Avi Rosen tells himself. He’s a yeshiva boy turned historian, working on his dissertation and stretching his meager stipend by moonlighting as a closeted politician’s houseboy. Their relationship used to feel like a real affair. Lately it seems more like a job.

It isn’t until he meets someone decent that he realizes how corrupt his life has become. Pete is a tall blond farmer who charms Avi with his dazzling smile and his straightforward life. But even if he can believe this refreshingly honest man doesn’t have his own political agenda, will Avi find the strength to emerge from the dark life he’s chosen and find a future in the sun.

*blurb taken from goodreads*

I’m a big fan of Dev Bentham’s writing. The author never writes the same character twice in a similar archetype, and I wish more writers would create characters like that. Fields of Gold is the second book in the Tarnished Soul series. We see glimpses of Issac and Nathan from Learning from Issac as they make brief appearances. Fields of Gold is a likeable read, but I found it to be a little short, and I wasn’t keen on the main character, Avi.

Avi is a historian who must complete his dissertation if he wants a job at the university. Avi is also the houseboy (a mistress) of a leading politician, Jack. Avi, at first, didn’t feel guilt in their deception (Jack is married with a family) but lately it hasn’t been feeling right. Jack is getting more domineering in the bedroom, and Avi is not into the rough side of kinky times.

Avi meets Pete after he sprains his ankle in a bicycle accident at the farmer’s market. Pete is a farmer who works at one of the stalls. Avi finds Pete attractive, and the two flirt and banter with each other. Avi lets Pete know that he’s in an ‘open relationship’ that’s complicated. Pete lets him know that he doesn’t mind. So despite Issac’s warnings not to bring Pete back into Jack’s apartment, Pete and Avi engage in an affair, and Avi starts to realise the confinement he has been in as Jack’s secret lover.

Fields of Gold is the second book in the Tarnished Soul series. We see glimpses of Issac and Nathan from Learning from Issac as they make brief appearances. I enjoyed Avi as a character, but I didn’t necessarily like him. He initially felt no guilt for having an affair with a married man with kids, and I really couldn’t empathise with him a whole lot. Jack was a horrible, horrible man and I didn’t understand why Avi felt the need to be with him. It couldn’t have been because of the money as Avi was incredibly smart, and I couldn’t see him struggling to find a job.

Pete was a nice guy, but we didn’t get his POV at all and I really didn’t feel a whole lot of emotion between Avi and Pete. The love interest is never developed fully, and this seems to be a recurrent pattern in previous books by Bentham. Avi and Pete’s sexual relationship is so open and free compared to the ugly secrecy of Jack and Avi. There was a coldness and detachment in the sex scenes with Jack and Avi. It was clear to see that Avi wasn’t fully engaged. It really illustrated the difference between Avi and Pete when they were together.

The book isn’t very long, and I don’t think the length supported the conflict as it seemed rushed. The last turning point before the climax in the book is a misunderstanding conflict, where Avi believes Pete betrays him. It wasn’t very strong in tension and didn’t last for very long as it happened in the latter stages of the book.

All in all, I liked Fields of Gold, but the romance was weak in the emotional side of things, and the misunderstanding at the end left the book feeling rushed. I give Fields of Gold a C.

Kindle eBook

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