A Gift of Gold by Jacquelynn Luben

A Gift of Gold by Jacquelynn Luben
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (5 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Lucia is a voluptuous beauty, so who could imagine she would fall for Happy Jack, a middle-aged gambler and racketeer, with a wife and children? But fall she does, into a relationship going nowhere. After 20 years, his wife has died, and Jack is free to marry again. Surely now, Lucia can expect to be his new bride? Alas, she is to be sadly disappointed.

Can money buy happiness? How many years would you wait for a lover who promised to marry you?

Lucia is an easy woman to hate. For 20 years she knowingly carried on an affair with a married man. At first I assumed she became involved with Jack because he was wealthy and powerful. Why else would a young, beautiful woman spend time with a man old enough to be her father for so many years she never has the opportunity to become a mother? Luckily Lucia provides explanations for her choices that made me sympathize with her hopes and dreams for the future. She isn’t someone I would necessarily want to befriend her but I soon grasped her theories about the meaning of love and commitment.

Jack was more difficult to understand. Almost everything Lucia has to say about his character and behavior casts him in a negative light and after a while I wondered what she had ever found attractive about this man. Surely someone as lovely as Lucia could have found a more charming companion over the course of two decades! Sex and romance are wonderful but eventually one needs more than that to sustain a long-term relationship.

It’s difficult to discuss the end of such a short story without inadvertently spoiling it but sufficed to say I was satisfied with how Ms. Luben wrapped everything up. I figured out the twist almost immediately but was pleased to confirm my hunch was correct and I can’t imagine it ending in any other manner.

A Gift of Gold is a great choice for anyone craving a deeply satisfying conclusion to a snappy read.


  1. Jackie Luben says:

    Thank you very much for your review.

  2. Jackie Luben says:

    I feel I should add a little bit to this interesting review. I never really examined why Lucia would stay with Jack. I suppose that’s the nature of a short story. You take a snapshot of how things are, and maybe put in a bit of back story. The reviewer says she wouldn’t necessarily want Lucia as a friend, and I can understand that. For this reason, I probably wouldn’t put Lucia in a novel, nor Jack, because I wouldn’t want to be marooned in their sort of life for a long period. And of course, because it is a short story, I didn’t have to examine Jack’s motives or personality, although he was probably generous, treated Lucia well and he never physically harmed her.

    There have been women who have put up with an affair lasting for decades, and I suppose that Lucia was just one of them.

    • It’s so nice to hear what authors have to say about their work! Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Staying in a relationship with someone you *know* is lying and cheating (even if you’re the person they’re lying about and cheating with) is beyond my comprehension. It’s not that I judge people who choose to be in these situations, I just can’t understand what they find appealing about it. 🙂

      I will say it makes for a fascinating read, though! When is your next story coming out?

      • Jackie Luben says:

        Hi Astilbe,
        I have 13 short stories on line, some published by me for the Kindle and some by http://www.untreedreads.com. I also have two longer works, one a novel of 115,000 words, Tainted Tree, and a shorter one, A Bottle of Plonk. They’re both out in paperback, but on line, too. Untreed Reads distribute Tainted Tree to all formats. A Bottle of Plonk is exclusive to Amazon, at the moment. It’s free today and tomorrow, as are another couple of my short stories. This might be the chance to try them. I’d love some more of your reviews.

  3. Jackie Luben says:

    I forgot to say, don’t forget to look me up with my proper name, Jacquelynn Luben.

    Best wishes,

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