Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (May 15, 2012)
When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.
Set in the golden age of the Tudor monarchy, GILT by Katherine Longshore is a true gem of a read. A novel that is riveting and all consuming, brimming with courtly debauchery and intrigue that will leave you breathless.
As I read GILT I was instantly drawn to Kitty and her utter devotion and unfailing friendship to Catherine Howard. At times I would would scream "Whyyyyyyy?" because Catherine was a true opportunist, utterly conniving and beguiling. Yet, she was the sun that Kitty and her friends orbited around and when she left their household their world plunged into darkness. So, when the opportunity arises for the girls to reunite they all jump at the chance, and who wouldn't? Being a part of the the king's court was everything. Kitty is Catherine's best friend and confidant but that loyalty comes at a very steep price and she quickly realizes that what she truly longs for is life far away from courtly trappings. Unfortunately this realization comes too late as Catherine's unsavory actions bring on her demise and she is helpless to alter the doomed course that will surely meet them all.
I truly enjoyed this novel and could not put it down. I was deeply consumed by it's storyline and although it is set in a world that has long past I could feel it's tentacles of secrecy and lies envelope me. Witnessing Kitty's inner turmoil kept me glued to my book and I could not seem to get enough even when I wished that things would have worked out differently. Yet, I cannot change history :) which brings me to another aspect that I enjoyed about this book is Katherine Longshore's obvious research and attention to detail. She did a fine job of bringing the Tudor monarchy to life; the secrecy and lies, the assignations and duplicitous alliances along with the sumptuous wardrobes, jewels and manners of that time.
*slightly spoilerish* The only quibble I have with this novel is that I had wished for a Kitty to have had a happier ending. I wanted her to be with her heart's desire because I was so convinced that it would be a great pairing. In dreams I see it happening :)
GILT is a must read for anyone that craves a great historical read. It is a novel well worth your time and you will not be disappointed.