Gold is centered on two women, Kate and Zoe, who race track bikes at a world class level. The way Cleave writes the races made my heart pound, even though it was a sport I've never paid an ounce of attention to before. I could almost feel my muscles straining along with theirs, it was a rush just to read. The women are both 32 and training for their last Olympic games.
But the real story is about the relationship between Kate and Zoe. They are as close as two women can be who have trained together and competed against each other for over a dozen years. They are friends and rivals which makes for an interesting tale.
The characters in the book were fully realized. Zoe..wow. I wanted to reach into the book and smack her across the face. In a lot of books the villain is solely that, just a huge jerk without a redeeming quality. Zoe has layers. (To be clear, I still wanted to punch her.) Kate's young daughter Sophie nearly steals the whole show. She's fighting an illness with her imagination and Luke Skywalker at her side.
Thank you Mr. Cleave for growing up to be an author. (I also looooved Little Bee) Thank you for great reads and some of the best book covers I've seen. Bravo!
Now. Go read it.