When I read this book a year ago, I rated it 5*. I wish I had more stars to give the audiobook version. E. J. Noyes is an incredible writer, Abby Craden is an incredible narrator, and the combination of the two works perfectly every time.
After an accident brought an end to her career as an Alpine skier, Aspen Archer became a ski instructor, losing herself in the sports she loves despite not being able to compete anymore. On holidays in Australia, Cate Tierney hires Aspen to give lessons to her daughter Gemma, then for herself. The attraction between the two women is instant. Cate is everything Aspen wants in a woman: smart, beautiful, kind, and a mother to a clever and sweet kid. Cate’s feelings are just as strong but she comes with baggage (who doesn’t?) and is wary of asking too much from Aspen, who is a few years younger than her.
Pain, whether physical or mental, is a recurring theme is E. J. Noyes’ books, or, more specifically, the way her characters deal or do not deal with that pain. How they grow from it, with it, away from it. How they conquer it. In Gold, Aspen is living with physical pain from her accident and with anxiety and panic attacks that probably go back to way before that. Cate is recovering from an abusive relationship. Both are scared of themselves, of not being strong enough, and of not being able to be there for the other. What makes Noyes such a great writer (among other things) is her ability to always hint at hope, making the reader root passionately for her characters, feel optimistic even in the darkest times.
E. J. Noyes is also one of those writers who completely stump me and my review-writing skills. Nothing I write will do her books justice. I have so much respect and love (yes, love) for her words that mine fade, as if they weren’t worthy of coming so close to the sun. So I’ll leave it at what I wrote in my first review: read (or listen to) this book. It’s good. It’ll make you feel good.