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Posted March 19, 2013
Historical fiction is one of my THINGS. I love it! I could just
Historical fiction is one of my THINGS. I love it! I could just eat it up with a spoon :) I’ve been reading it for years (historical fiction was one of my original favourites of reading – it’s one of the reasons I got hooked on books!) and I get giddy with excitement when I discover new YA historical fiction books – like Gilt!
Gilt is a delightful look at a real story, with some imagination to bring it to life and fill in the blanks we don’t have factual answers for. I love historical fiction for the way it brings history to life and gives us a way to relate to it. And there are so many different perspectives to it! There never really is one “right” answer.
Reasons to Read:
1. You’ll never think Tudor history is boring again:
Tudor history actually isn’t boring at all. Not one bit! But I know that not everyone is as infatuated with history as some others are, and so the way Katherine Longshore brings history to life and from a youthful perspective is refreshing. Sometimes we forget that historical people were real at one time – they had similar struggles as we do, and teen ladies-in-waiting and queens are no exception. Catherine Howard is one of the least discussed of Henry VIII’s wives and I thought it was so neat that Katherine picked her to feature as a central character. And telling the story from her best friend Kitty? It worked perfectly for the book!
2. Luxurious and twisted:
It’s never lost on Kitty how different her life has become as Cat moves up the social ladder to become Queen of England. Everything is so glamorous – like the way we picture Hollywood and the upper class echelons in modern day. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all beautiful. The positions are precarious and gossip can kill you – literally. The struggle as a woman and their historical position in society is shown in a very real, terrifying way.
3. Showcases the depth of friendship:
Most of us have that friend – someone closer than a sister, like a “kindred spirit”. You don’t always love them, but you understand them and they you better than anyone else. How far would you go to protect your friend? From others? What about form herself? Kitty’s struggle to care for Cat and herself is as delicate a balance as there can be. Those of us familiar with history know how it ends, and that doesn’t make Kitty’s struggle any less difficult to read about. It’s heartbreaking to see a best friend self-destruct like that. And that last chapter? With some of Cat’s last words? One of the few things I’ll never forget from a book. They’re embedded in my brain. This is probably the first time I’ve ever felt an ounce of sympathy – or given any thought at all – to Catherine Howard.
At the same time, it’s hard not to view Cat as a silly young girl in over her head. She always seems to be asking for trouble and it can be so frustrating to watch Kitty continually enable her in some ways. It’s the kind of situation where you want to shake the characters for making such dumb decisions. But that’s just part of the story and how things were. But I wish we had focused a little bit more on Kitty and her interests and her desires, even though I admittedly know that the story has to focus on Cat because that’s where Kitty was focused.
I can tell you that I’ll be watching Katherine Longshore for a long time and I’m already looking forward to her next Royal Circle book featuring Anne Boleyn! I’m hoping she can bring new life to an old favourite of historical fiction and if anyone can do that, it’s Katherine!
ARC received from Penguin Canada for my honest review; no other compensation was received.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 24, 2012
The problem with reading quite a bit of historical fiction from the same time period is that you tend to read about the same characters over and over. It becomes difficult to shed new light on a subject. I've read a couple books revolving around Catherine Howard, but this one seemed like it might be something different. I was right.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I liked that the story is told from the viewpoint of someone close to Cat. We are seeing the events unfold through someone elses eyes. Add to the intrigue is that it is someone who has known Cat before she was queen and before she went to court. I think that's an important distinction. While Kitty is a complete doormat throughout this book, I think she believes she can't be anything else. She been discarded and the only way she feels worthwhile is to be at the beck and call of another. Usually not a very redeeming quality in a lead narrative, but I couldn't help but root for her. We all know Catherine's fate, but I was hoping that wouldn't happen to Kitty just because Catherine would drag her down with her.
Speaking of Catherine, this book made me dislike her intensely. In the other books I've read, she's played off more naive and innocent (in the sense that she really has no clue what is going on around her). I've felt that she was being set up by her family but had not idea the true danger her situation put her in. This book made me think that may have not been so. She conniving, selfish, and knows exactly what she's doing. She will do anything and use anybody to get what she wants. What still amazes me, is that she thought she could get away with it. Did she think she could charm her way out it? That her youth and beauty would be her saving grace?
I liked the way some things are explained in this book. Thomas Culpepper is an interesting character and their relationship takes some interesting turns throughout this story. I like how the well known events unfold so that they are completely logical and make you believe they may have actually happened this way. I also liked how the sexual aspect is toned down just enough for the young adult audience. There's not much historical fiction geared to teens (and I know I would have loved this at a younger age). I think this genre might open up new interests for teens and history.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I'm looking forward to the idea that this might be a series. Will the author take on another one of King Henry VIII's wives? Or maybe Queen Elizabeth? Time will tell!
Posted July 3, 2012
It's really hard to believe that Gilt was Katherine Longshore
It's really hard to believe that Gilt was Katherine Longshore's debut novel, the writing was well perfected and you would think she has been doing this for years. Gilt is set during the Tudor Era and Longshore kept the tale of Cat and Kitty very engrossing right to the very end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Gilt is about Kitty Tylney and Cat Howard who also was in real life the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. The story starts off with the two only dreaming of being part of Court life and then thanks to Cat's charming and mischievous ways their dreams become reality. Cat becomes queen and makes her closest friend Kitty one of her chambermaids. And what follows is a whole lot of lies, betrayal, deception and scandal mixed in with beautiful gowns, handsome men, and lavish parties.
If you know history you know things don't end to great for the characters in this book I was actually left feeling a little sad and I hate the fact that I got no closure with Kitty's character as far as her love life went. It was all very bittersweet.
As far as the characters are concerned I could not stand Cat she was just so vile, spoiled and rotten to everyone around her especially Kitty who already had no backbone when it came to their friendship and allowed Cat to take advantage of her in well...everything. Kitty was loyal to the core to Cat even at times when she should have been selfish and for once thought about her happiness. When it comes down to it Gilt was centered around their friendship. That is what kept me reading. The relationship between the two girls fascinated me while pissing me off at the same time.
In the end I loved reading Gilt. Even though I've been reading a lot of paranormal and fantasy books lately my love for historical fiction still remains. I did know some facts about King Henry the VIII wives but thanks to Longshore and her ability to captivate me with this era after reading the novel I researched more about him and his wives and learned a great deal about them. I highly recommend this book it did not disappoint even with a doormat of a character like Kitty I still found myself rooting for her till the very end.
Posted May 29, 2012
Chapter by Chapter's review of GILT
Historical Fiction. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this genre. In fact, I will admit that when I come across one, I tend to veer the other way, with no hesitation. What changed my mind, and caught my eye with Gilt? I won’t lie, it was all about the cover…and the synopsis peeked my interest. I will say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am so glad that I didn’t turn away from Gilt by Katherine Longshore. Yes, I had my doubts, and went into it fully expecting to DNF this book BUT… I totally and completely enjoyed Gilt.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
To be thrust into the world of kings and queens, in the time of King Henry VIII and his court. It was absolutely intriguing to read about what sort of secrets and strategic planning it took to come out on top in the court of the king.
In Gilt, we follow the lives of Catherine Howard (Cat) and her best friend, Katherine Tylney’s (Kitty) and how Cat comes to be the next wife of King Henry VIII and the next Queen of England. We bare witness to all the deceit, the secrets, and the lies that Cat and those in King Henry’s court use in order to be in favor of the King and live life in his court.
Main protagonist, Kitty Tylney, has lived in the shadow of her best friend Cat Howard for many years. When Cat provides an opportunity for Kitty and her other 2 friends to come to King Henry VIII’s court, Kitty learns just how much deception and secrets are the way of the King’s court, and must decide for herself what is the truth and whom she can entrust her darkest secrets. In a world where every little word and action is scrutinized and punishable by death, Kitty must be aware of everything that is happening with herself and with Cat.
Katherine Longshore’s writing in Gilt is fantastic. I was able to picture every single detail as I read through the pages, right down to the many jewels and the elaborate dresses. I was swept away into a world that many readers dream about, where chivalry is not dead but also where every action is a strategic move in order to advance. Longshore has breathed in so much life into the characters in Gilt. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the story unfold before my eyes. Although I had guessed what the ending of the book would be (since I’m not much of a history buff and am not really aware of who did what after whom in that time), it was fascinating to watch the pieces fall into place.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking into branching into the historical fiction genre. I will definitely be more open to reading more in this genre.