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Thursday, May 24, 2012

ARC Review: Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Viking
Format: ARC

"You're not going to steal anything."

I have to say I was pretty excited to start reading a book about Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife. I've read a lot about many of the others but I haven't found a good historical fiction about Catherine yet. After reading Gilt, I am still looking for a good one. I am not saying that Longshore's juvenile historical fiction was bad, just wasn't over the top wonderful.

Gilt is told from the POV of Catherine Howard’s closest confidant, Katherine "Kitty" Tylney. Kitty and Cat grew up together and their characters really offset each other. Cat is selfish and very manipulative and Kitty is basically a doormat. She is very passive and her unwavering devotion to Cat becomes almost unbearable to read at times. After Cat marries Henry we see even more of that manipulative behavior from Cat as she tries to stay in the good graces of Henry (and we all know how hard that is). Kitty strives to be more but whenever it seems that Kitty is about to strike out on her own, Cat pulls her back into the games of the Court.

Kitty also has a couple of prospective love interests. William, who she holds near and dear, and Edmund, who is everything that she has always desired. I wouldn't call it a love triangle in the true sense that we have come to know them but both men enter and leave her life at different times fulfilling that specific need that Kitty has at the moment. The two really couldn't be more different. William wants nothing to do with Court and since Kitty will always be devoted to Cat; her place is at Court at Cat's side. Edmund lives and breathes the games and fun that Court has to offer him.

Gilt, I felt, was thoughtfully researched but had a very modern dialect that will resonate with the juvenile reader (of which the book is marketed) and hopefully will encourage them to continue reading historical fiction in the future. The characters could have been fleshed out a bit more but all in all, a satisfactory read for me.