Golden Gypsy is the first in a trilogy by Wanda Owen. Lamentably, this Zebra historical romance series is off to a mediocre start.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Sweet Savage Flame earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases.Golden Gypsy by Wanda Owen
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Golden Trilogy #1
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Romance with Rape Element
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Golden Gypsy begins with our meeting of the heroine, Dominique Randell, age 17, who is very happy with her life. Dominique is the daughter of Bob Randell, a Louisiana planter. She is engaged to Andy Morgan, the son of a neighboring planter family. Dominique and Andy are looking eagerly toward their potential marriage. Which means you know something bad is going to happen.
In this circumstance, something bad happens when two goons kidnap Dominique. Devlin Titus, a man with great animus toward both the Randell and Morgan families, hired the men. They take Dominique from New Orleans to Natchez, Mississippi.
Titus plans to ruin Dominique by selling her to a house of ill repute. To that end, Titus convinces her to act as a hostess for a card game he is holding. One of the men attending this gambling soiree is the hero, Jared Barlow. He owns the Golden Palace, a combination gaming establishment/brothel.
Jared wins the games and takes Dominique back with him to his establishment. He makes love to her, thinking she’s experienced; she’s not. Things go on from there.
Time passes, and Dominique begins to sing in the bar at the Golden Palace, earning the title “Golden Gypsy.” She and Jared also slowly fall in love.
Eventually, Jared asks Dominique to marry him. However, Dominique refuses, as she feels unworthy of marriage because she thinks she is part Black. Dominique believes that her biological mother, Selena, was an octoroon, or one-eighth of African heritage.
That turns out not to be the case, as Selena was a Romany gypsy.
Another issue is that Jared was previously abandoned by his mother. Due to this, he doesn’t completely trust women—not even Dominique. Because of Jared’s womanizing ways and the fact that he owns a brothel with several beautiful women as employees, Dominique doesn’t completely trust Jared either.
This lack of trust magnifies later events. Andy comes to Natchez on business, comes to the Golden Palace, and sees Dominique. She immediately leaves Jared and goes with Andy.
Earlier, Dominique saw Jared with a woman, Lorraine Devereaux, whom she believed was one of his lovers. However, this is incorrect. Despite previous sexual involvement, Jared and Lorraine are no longer lovers.
Andy tells Dominique that her father is ill, which is true. He doesn’t tell her that the real reason he wants to take her back to New Orleans is to install her as his mistress. Andy is currently married to the mother of his child, a woman he despises—and the feeling is mutual on her part.
Dominique soon realizes she doesn’t love Andy anymore. Despite being courted by another man, she comes to terms with her love for Jared.
This is a good thing because she’s pregnant with his baby.
At last, Jared comes to New Orleans to find Dominique, and they have their Happily Ever After.
There is a sequel to Golden Gypsy titled Golden Ecstasy. That book features Jared and Domique’s son, Gil, as the hero.
Golden Gypsy is better than Ms. Owen’s other books I’ve read, but issues still remain.
Now onto those issues.
First, the names of Dominique and Andy are the same as the names of the two main characters in Ms. Owen’s previous book, Rapture’s Bounty. The descriptions of Andy’s parents, Matt and Denise Morgan, are virtually the same as those of Elise Cartiers Edwards and Lance Edwards, the protagonists of Rapture’s Bounty and The Captain’s Vixen. In the latter book, there is a young girl with the first name Dominique.
Although not explicitly stated, these very well could have been the same characters. Was this meant to be a sequel? Or did she write the same book over again?
There are sadly other flaws that continue with Ms. Owen’s books. She introduces characters and then abandons them. Storylines start but do not finish. This is a really annoying habit in Ms. Owen’s books.
However, the most annoying thing about Golden Gypsy is that most of the issues Dominique and Jared had could have been solved if they had talked to each other! There are a lot of romance books from the 1980s like that. If the characters had actually talked to one another, the book would have been so much shorter, like a Harlequin category romance, instead of 500+ pages!
I get the sense—fairly or unfairly—that these Zebras were padded with nonsense to get a prescribed number of pages. There is a lot of filler in these books.
There are a few sex scenes, but most are pretty tame.
There’s a fire going, but it’s certainly not a scorcher. Golden Gypsy is mildly warm at best.
During her kidnapping, Dominique is physically assaulted and sodomized.
Later, Jared kills Titus.
The villain who wants Dominique shoots Jared, and Jared later kills him.
Despite the violence, none of the scenes are graphic in nature.
Bottom Line on Golden Gypsy
Golden Gypsy by Wanda Owen is an entirely adequate book, nothing more.
|Rating Report Card|
A RARE JEWEL
When beautiful Dominique Randell consented to be the hostess for the high stakes poker game she didn’t know that her lush, tantalizing body was the prize or that the winner would be Jared Barlow, the most dashing man she had ever seen. She could feel his turquoise eyes caressing her satiny curves, setting her blood on fire. Unknowingly he took her innocence and she became as precious as an untouched treasure.
AN UNTOUCHED TREASUREGolden Gypsy by Wanda Owen
Her face was radiant, her mane of magnificent hair, and those gorgeous doe-like eyes so sultry, yet so naive. Jared imagined Dominique to be a bewitching golden goddess who knew every way in which to entice and delight a man. He couldn’t wait to claim passion’s sweet nectar from her lips and fill her with desire. Instead he became a slave to her silken flesh and his fortune was to forever crave the Golden Gypsy!