May 25, 2012

Review: Gilt

Book Cover By Katherine Longshore
Available now from Viking Juvenile (Penguin)
Review copy

It's no secret that I'm not a historical fiction fan.  I don't know why, but it's never been my first choice of genre.  I still have a soft spot for the Tudors.  It might be due to Carolyn Meyer and her Young Royals series.  Or it could be because Hampton Court is ridiculously beautiful.  If you're ever in London and have a spare day, be sure to make a trip to Hampton Court.  It's not too far (you can take the tube) and it's an incredible experience.

Photo by me
GILT begins far away from court, where Kitty Tylney and her best friend Cat Howard are mere ladies-in-waiting to Cat's step-grandmother.  Cat is ambitious however, believing herself to be the true Howard in the household.  She's not content to dally with Francis Dereham and be the most important girl in the middle of nowhere forever.  Then she gets her chance to go to court.

Anyone who knows a little about English history knows how the story ends.  Henry VIII didn't have the best track record with his wives, but there are two who stand out for being more unfortunate than the others.  But Katherine Longshore does a wonderful job of making you care about the characters before they reach their inevitable conclusion.  (There are some wonderful villains too.)

Kitty, unlike Cat, is happy where she is.  She may not have much, aside from a flirtation with the Duke of Norfolk's steward William.  But she likes most of the other girls and doesn't terribly mind her lot in life.  Unfortunately, she's extremely loyal to Cat.  Her loyalty is both admirable and foolhardy.  Cat takes full advantage of Kitty, and Kitty knows it.  But she still stands by her friend.

I think that may be why I found GILT so compelling.  At its heart it is the story of a female friendship, one that you would risk your life for.

GILT is perfect for fans of Carolyn Meyer and Karen Cushman.  It will also appeal to fans of The Tudors television show.  You can take a quiz on I Heart Daily to determine whether you're more of a Cat or a Kitty.


  1. I loved the focus on Kitty and her perspective about Cat in this book-that's the way I like historical fiction. A lesser-known historical figure (I believe Kitty was a real person?) is given her own story and shines light on the well-known historical figures who are the draw. I also really liked the scenes with Henry VIII, how Cat has to make him feel like he's still the golden hero even though he's decidedly not anymore.

    1. Kitty is a real person about whom little is known. There's a lovely author's note about the history in the back.


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