Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gilt (YA)

Gilt. Katherine Longshore. 2012. Penguin. 416 pages.

"You're not going to steal anything." I left the question--Are you?--off the end of the sentence. But Cat heard it anyway. 

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book cover. Would you be able to tell from the cover that this is historical fiction? That this book is in fact about Catherine Howard, one of the doomed wives of Henry VIII?

Gilt is told from the perspective of one of Catherine's companions, Kitty Tylney. (Catherine is "Cat", she is "Kitty.") Their relationship--friendship--isn't quite one-sided, but, Cat definitely is the boss, and there is some manipulation going on, I believe. It's a toxic friendship, in a way. It isn't exactly in Kitty's best interest to be best, best, best friends with Catherine Howard. Sure, it means that when Catherine Howard marries the King of England, that there is an invitation to go to court and be one of her maids, but she's not a lady, and her tasks are servants' tasks, in a way. And even before Cat married the Henry VIII, she wasn't easy to counsel, if Cat wants something, she wants it, won't be talked out of it. As you might have guessed, I had a hard time liking Catherine Howard. At least as she is portrayed in this novel! How did I feel about Kitty? Well, I pitied her to a certain degree. Kitty isn't always the wisest person in the world, but, she was truly in a horrible place. On the one hand, Kitty knows Cat is stupid and making HUGE mistakes with her life. Kitty is being asked to cover up her friend's mistakes, and, that makes Kitty very unhappy. She knows that if she talks, Cat, will die. That if the truth is uncovered, no matter who uncovers it, Cat will die. She may feel used, in a way, by her friend, but, she doesn't wish her friend harm. What Kitty learns is that court life isn't all that glamorous and charming. That many unpleasant things go on at court, that wearing fancy clothes may not be worth the emotional stress of court life.

Did I love it? Probably not. Did I like it? Yes, I liked it well enough. I have read a handful of books set during this time period, quite a few focusing on Catherine Howard. It isn't my new favorite, but, it's an interesting book.

Read Gilt
  • If you're a fan of historical fiction 
  • If you like a little political intrigue, a little romance with your historical fiction
  • If you are interested in Henry VIII and his wives

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana 11:45 PM  

The cover does not match what the book is about at all. I didn't even think for a moment it was about Henry VIII until I started reading your post.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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