The Gilder

( 27 )

Overview

Set against the exquisite backdrop of Florence, Italy, The Gilder is a compelling and beautifully wrought novel of secrets, friendship, betrayal, and the simple choices that change us forever. . .

In Marina Nesmith's skilled hands, even the most tarnished picture frame or objet d'art can be made perfect once again. Her life, too, seems flawless, at least on the surface. But more and more, Marina is conscious of what she lacks—someone to share her joys and sorrows with, ...

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Overview

Set against the exquisite backdrop of Florence, Italy, The Gilder is a compelling and beautifully wrought novel of secrets, friendship, betrayal, and the simple choices that change us forever. . .

In Marina Nesmith's skilled hands, even the most tarnished picture frame or objet d'art can be made perfect once again. Her life, too, seems flawless, at least on the surface. But more and more, Marina is conscious of what she lacks—someone to share her joys and sorrows with, confidence in the decisions she's made, and the courage to tell her teenage daughter, Zoe, the truth about her father.

Then Marina is invited to return to Florence, where she lived years before while learning her trade as a gilder. In those heady days, she wandered the city's picturesque streets, marveling at the masterpieces in the Duomo and the Pitti Palace. In the church of Santa Croce, she met Thomas, an American photographer who, along with his wife Sarah, introduced Marina to a thrilling, bohemian world of art and beauty. Through them, she also learned about love, lies, and the way one mistake can multiply into many. Now, as her past and present collide, Marina will finally have to move beyond the intricate veneer she's crafted around herself, and find the life that she—and Zoe—have been looking for.

Following college, Kathryn Kay spent five years living in Florence, Italy, where she studied restoration and gilding. Kathryn is the founder of the Nantucket Writers Studio, which offers writing workshops for women. She has three adult children, and lives on Nantucket Island with her husband, Robert.

Advance praise for Kathryn Kay and The Gilder

"After reading Kathryn Kay's lovely debut, I had the best kind of cry. What a beautiful, emotional novel. I loved the way she writes about love, necessary secrets, and the dark unknowability of another person, no matter how close. She writes so well about the vulnerability of strong women, the complexity of long friendship, the ways mothers and daughters protect each other, and sweet, tender forgiveness." —Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

"Kathryn Kay's The Gilder, beautifully set in the romantic city of Florence, reminds us that love, like great art, is always complex. Kay leads her talented artist and loving mother Marina through a courageous quest as labyrinthine as an ancient Italian street. With persistence and passion, Marina discovers that relationships can be repaired, making what is truly golden shine forth." —Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author

"The Gilder engages the reader from the very first line. Amid sensuous details of life and art in Florence, Kathryn Kay tells a compelling story of seduction and betrayal which ultimately transforms into a story of love and redemption." -Holly Chamberlin, author of Summer Friends

"In my book on the writing life I talk about taking risks and digging deep to find your voice. I tell my students if they dig for gold they will find gold. I have just finished Kathryn Kay's debut novel, The Gilder, and, boy, has she hit the mother lode. Her riveting story of friendship, love, betrayal and forgiveness kept me up way beyond my bedtime. Kathryn writes beautifully about difficult things, the things that tear people apart, and she does it with such honesty and tenderness that, clearly, her words come straight from the heart." —Nancy Aronie, author of Writing From The Heart

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758263223
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 416,242
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Gilder


By KATHRYN KAY

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2012 Loma Kathryn Kay
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-6322-3


Chapter One

Marina felt the train ride in every limb as she hefted her backpack onto one shoulder and headed down the deserted platform. It was close to midnight. The tears she'd fought earlier that day blurred her vision as she headed for the exit in search of a taxi. Her plan of arriving in the safety of daylight had gone awry when she boarded the wrong train in Milan and, instead of arriving in Florence, had ended up in a tiny station somewhere on the coast. Her dream—of speeding through flat fields dotted with whitewashed farmhouses and cypress trees, of turreted towers and terra-cotta roofs in the distance, the red dome of the cathedral rising from their midst—had been reduced to a black nightscape dotted with blurred pinpoints of light.

She scanned the sole cab at the curb with a practiced eye honed by years of hair-raising Yellow Cab rides, and decided that the middle-aged man in a sweater-vest and tie looked harmless enough, more like a college professor than a cabbie. She pushed her pack into the backseat of the Fiat and climbed in. He waited patiently as she pulled a crumpled paper from her pocket and read the words, "Pensione Alberto," but before she could read the street address, he put the car in gear and said, "Sì, sì, andiamo," and pulled away from the curb. After a few twists and turns down narrow, cobblestoned streets, she let go of any attempt at tracking their route. Besides, there were no discernable markers, only a sheer façade of shuttered buildings, dim streetlights, and shadowed doorways. Suddenly, they broke free from the tight tangle of streets and turned onto a wider road that ran along the river. She leaned forward with a rush of excitement at the sight of the Arno River and, yes, there up ahead was the Ponte Vecchio spanning the river as it had for centuries. She was here. It had taken years of dreaming and persistence, but she'd finally made it! A few minutes later, the cab turned again and stopped at the curb.

Marina awoke the next morning to ripples of sunlight playing across her face. Peering over the edge of the coverlet, she took in the wardrobe, beautifully carved with cherubs and vines, that the night before had appeared dark and hulking, and in the corner, her discarded sweater and jeans looked quite at home where she'd flung them on the threadbare armchair.

On her arrival the night before, she had attempted to apologize for the late hour, but the woman who received her in a sagging cardigan, nightgown, and leather slippers was interested only in getting back to her bed as quickly as possible. She took Marina's passport, indicated where to sign the thick guest register, then delivered her to the top floor in an elevator the size of a telephone booth, unlocked a room, handed over the key, and pointed out a bathroom at the end of the hall.

Now as she lay staring at the shuttered window, part of her wanted to leap out of bed, throw open the sash, and shout, "I'm here! I'm here!" but another part of her hesitated. It had been eight years since she'd happened across the pictures of Florence, eight years of dreaming of this moment, and she wasn't sure she was quite ready for the dream to become a reality.

Her fourteen-year-old world had been hazy, flat, tasteless, filled with irritations: her parents, her friends, school; even the Rolling Stones were getting on her nerves. It was a Saturday afternoon and her parents were out, her mother at the gallery, her father at his chess club. She was supposed to be working on a term paper for social studies but had yet to come up with a topic that would fulfill the assignment to write about an international catastrophe. From her point of view, the entire world was one big catastrophe. As she often did when she was bored and alone in the house, she wandered into her father's study in search of a distraction. Sitting at his desk with her eyes closed, she tried to imagine her thoughts as groups of numbers the way her father, a mathematician, once told her he saw his, but all that appeared behind her closed eyelids were fluorescent squiggles. She opened her eyes and studied the collection of Victorian glass paperweights that were lined up along the back edge of the desk. One by one, she picked them up, allowing their cool, smooth, blue-green heft to fill her hands as she stared into their depths, admiring the fissures and imperfections. As always, when she was done, she replaced them as she had found them, equidistant, one from the other. Inevitably, her restlessness led to the bookshelves where her mother's novels and art books shared space with her father's tomes on math and science. She already had Lady Chatterley's Lover hidden under her pillow, and she'd read the dirty parts of Goldfinger and From Russia with Love when she was twelve, so it wasn't sex she was looking for that day.

A stack of coffee table books on the window seat caught her eye. She sat down and pulled the top book onto her lap and ran her fingers across the raised gold letters printed across a panoramic view of the city. Florence: Art and Architecture. Turning the pages, she found photographs of paintings that were nothing like the ones her mother hung in her cavernous, white gallery, with their splashes and slashes of color that pretended to be something they were not. Although she tried hard to see what her mother saw in this artwork, she found neither recognizable objects nor beauty. However, in the paintings of the Renaissance, she discovered a world revitalized. There was love in cherubic faces, peace in the eyes of a Madonna, pain and devastation in chaotic battle scenes. Even the folds of a robe made sense to her. In the photographs of the city itself, the light and color drew her in, inviting exploration. She sat for hours that afternoon wandering the streets of Florence, imagining herself a lady in a long, flowing gown, or a painter in a spattered smock.

That night, her mother told her about the flood that had devastated Florence a few years earlier when the river overflowed, leaving the city underwater to depths as much as fifteen feet in places and priceless works of art buried in the mud once the waters retreated. She told her about the "mud angels," young people from all over the world who had gone to Florence to help retrieve and restore the artwork. She gave Marina the issue of Life magazine that covered the catastrophe, and suggested she might consider the flood as a topic for her term paper.

For weeks, as Marina researched and wrote her paper, she begged her mother to take her to Florence. "Maybe we can help," she pleaded. When that did not work, she resorted to accusations. "I thought you cared about art. Or is it only the art that makes you money?" Finally, her mother told her that if she still wanted to go to Florence when she graduated from high school, she would take her. High school came and went, as did college, and invariably, her mother always had a show to hang, an opening to arrange, or an artist in crisis.

Marina stared at the stains on the ceiling and tried not to feel bitter. Hadn't she been lucky to have parents with interesting careers, to be treated like an adult, to meet famous people and get to stay up late? So what if no one was ever home after school? In the face of envious friends who begged to be invited to gallery openings, she pretended to be that lucky girl, but she would have exchanged their mundane lives for hers in a second. While she never doubted that her parents loved her and had basked in their praise of her self-sufficiency, their distraction often left her lonely and longing.

But she wasn't fourteen anymore, she was twenty-two and she was in Firenze! When she'd told her mother she was planning to take the long-awaited trip on her own, her mother had simply said, "Of course you are, you're an artist." In that respect, Marina was profoundly grateful for her mother's unwavering support and encouragement of her interest in art. Preoccupied as she might have been, her mother had recognized her daughter's talent early on and had spared no expense when it came to art classes. It was the one area where Marina might have rebelled, and there had been times during her adolescence when Marina had feigned disinterest, but it was always short-lived.

Unable to wait another minute, Marina pushed back the covers, crossed the room, and unlatched the window. As she parted the shutters, she saw in her mind's eye every panoramic view of the city—with its domes, spires, and towers—that she had ever seen in a book or on film. However, all she saw now was a jumble of red-tiled rooftops, TV antennas, and clotheslines hung with washing, but surprisingly, it was enough. It was perfect.

Dressed in clean jeans and a fresh sweater, Marina slung her leather satchel across her chest, covering it with a woven poncho. Unsure how to work the elevator, she took the wide, faded runner down the stone staircase to the ground floor, hoping she would not run into the woman from the night before. Grateful to find the foyer deserted, she made her escape into the day.

As she stepped from the building, the noise of cars and motorbikes funneled down the narrow street, pushing her back against the building, as if by a physical force. The air smelled of exhaust and damp stone. She stood for a moment, her heart pounding. Which way should she go? In her excitement, she had not bothered to look at the map or make a plan. But wasn't that why she was here, to dive into a new life and see where it led? Maybe her mother was right. You can't always plan everything, Marina; sometimes you just have to let life unfold and trust that it will be all right.

Across the street, a man was cranking an awning out over three sidewalk tables in front of a small café. Marina hesitated a moment, then surrendered to the scent of freshly baked pastries. She managed to order her breakfast by saying, "Cappuccino," and pointing to a pastry in the glass case, adding "Per favore," then "Grazie," which she had learned from a cassette tape before leaving New York. The woman behind the counter smiled and nodded encouragingly when Marina indicated she would like to sit outside. The early-morning air was still crisp, but the patch of sun splashing the face of the buildings opposite held a promise of midday warmth, and Marina congratulated herself on skipping out on New York's cold March winds.

But what to see first? The coffee coursed through her veins, flooding her mind with a thousand thoughts: the Uffizi or the Duomo, the Bargello or the Pitti Palace, make a list or just wander? She dug in her bag for the guidebook and a pen. On the inside of the front cover was a list of every site she wanted to visit. At the bottom of the list, in capital letters, she had written, FIND APARTMENT and LANGUAGE SCHOOL. Now she put a star by LANGUAGE SCHOOL. She would need that right away if she was going to understand anything in the gilding course she had signed up for. Her art history professor at NYU, Teresa Campione, had convinced her that the gilding course would satisfy her thirst for history as well as her need to do something with her hands. "I've seen your drawings and your sculpture, and I've talked to the studio faculty. You've got the touch, trust me." She advised that an "immersion" class in Italian was the thing to look for and would be easy enough to find, and that the American Consulate might possibly have leads on an apartment. Marina made a mental note to send her very first postcard to Teresa with thanks for all her help in planning the trip and an apology for what must have seemed like a stalking during the months preceding her departure.

Marina knew she couldn't present herself at the consulate in jeans, so that would have to wait. Besides, she wanted to give herself a few days to explore the city and soak it all in before getting down to business, the business of making a life here. She consulted the map at the front of the book and fixed a short route in her mind so she would not have to walk along clutching her guidebook like a tourist, then drained her cup, licked the sweet crumbs from her fingers, and set out toward the Duomo.

She didn't know if it was the coffee, jet lag, or culture shock, but as she made her way along the street, it was as if her consciousness had split in two, part of it floating above her body, observing her progress along the street. She watched herself look in a store window, push her hair back off her face, and hook it behind her ears. Yes, there she was, an ordinary-looking girl, average height and weight, chin-length brown hair, blue eyes, but she definitely looked like someone who knew what she was doing and where she was going. Embracing this confidence, she continued along the wide street to the next corner, where she turned and then stopped abruptly. Although she was still two blocks away, she found herself in the shadow of the cathedral, the church of Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the Duomo, which sat like a too-large toy in a make-believe village. Only a giant's hand reaching down from above to lift off the dome for a peek inside could possibly put it into perspective. Cars, tiny by comparison, buzzed around the base of the massive structure, while the ground swarmed with an ant-sized public.

She felt herself jostled by people on their way to work, running errands, keeping appointments, citizens who passed this masterpiece of engineering every day without giving it a thought. She had an urge to grab them, stop them, and make them look. Moving forward, she looked every inch the tourist—head tipped back, mouth slightly open—as her dreams became her reality.

Chapter Two

By the end of the first week, Marina knew her way around the center of town, had located all the sights on her list, and had given each at least a cursory visit. She even managed to pick up a little Italian along the way, how to ask for directions (although she rarely understood the answers) and the names of the pastries she pointed to every morning in the little café across from her hotel. Now it was time to focus on the sites with gilded carvings, the church of Santa Croce being the first on her list.

The interior of the dim church was chilly, belying the signs of spring that flourished outside. Pulling her poncho tightly around her, she moved slowly into the gray stillness, walking as quietly as possible across the stone floor, but it was as if the silence inhaled the scrape of her leather-soled boots and the tap of their heels, breathing it back at her like a reprimand.

She made her way toward the front of the church, her eyes on the altar, her brain working to reconcile images in her mind from books and magazines with the one coming into focus. It had been like that all week, the split sense of being in the dream and living it at the same time. Then, unexpectedly, her foot struck an uneven part of the floor and her ankle buckled, bringing her down onto all fours.

"Shit," she muttered, pushing herself back into a squatting position, rubbing her knees.

"That was a rather sudden genuflection." The voice from overhead had an American accent. A pale hand reached into her line of vision. He was tall, at least six feet, his tweed jacket and corduroy pants hung on a thin frame, his face showed concern. She took his hand, cold in hers, and allowed him to help her to her feet.

"Look. You've stepped on the face of a Medici."

Marina withdrew her hand and looked down at the stark white face that pressed up from within the marble floor. Taking a step back she saw that it was attached to a life-sized bas-relief of a nobleman dressed in a long robe.

"Oh, sorry. I didn't see it. I was looking at the altar."

He shrugged. "It's nothing to me, but these old priests don't take kindly to young women throwing themselves onto their revered countrymen." He held out his hand again. "I'm Thomas."

Marina gave it a quick shake. "Marina. Thanks for your help." She turned away, moving toward the center nave.

Thomas moved with her. "Is this your first time in Santa Croce?"

Getting picked up was the last thing she wanted right now. Every day she had been hassled by men in the streets who did not seem to understand either the shaken head or the word no. She'd even resorted to giving one of them the finger, only to receive his fisted version in return. But Thomas did not seem to fit into that category. He spoke softly, as if he, too, respected the silence. She took in his wide-set gray eyes, long narrow nose, and the soft, rosebud mouth that saved his face from its harsh angles. Salt-and-pepper hair curled across his forehead and around his shirt collar. He looked harmless enough. She told him, yes, she had been in Florence a week, that she was here now to see the altar.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Gilder by KATHRYN KAY Copyright © 2012 by Loma Kathryn Kay. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    A totally satisfying read! Great one for Book Clubs!

    I had not read a review or heard of this book. I was just browsing in Barnes and Noble looking for a good read. I like reading novels set in European settings...Florence caught my eye and was the hook...but got so much more from the novel. Loved it, could not put it down. Descriptions make you want to hop the next plane to Florence. As a 50-something...I found profound explainations for the vast number of emotions and trials of the characters...so believable. The character developments were meaningful and felt that each word, sentence, and description was relevant to the story and the character. Will suggest to my book club. Will generate great discussions! Hope Ms. Kay brings us more books!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Your first must read of 2012

    As a young adult Marina goes to Florence to further her art of gilding, hoping to learn from a master in a place where the art was created and perfected. Living in Florence she meets and befriends Sarah and Thomas who become her foster family and yet she also fosters deeper feelings toward Sarah, feelings that are unsettling. Those feelings are abruptly forgotten about when Marina¿s confusing actions and the results of those actions send her scurrying out of Florence and away from her newfound life and friends as fast as a plane will carry her. Sixteen years later, her life built on lies, deceit and denials is starting to unravel when her daughter Zoe starts asking questions and the lies start sticking in her throat. She¿s returning to Florence to speak at a conference and while she¿s there she vows to make right what had become so wrong. In an act of life mimicking art she sees that the hurt to relationships is just as deep as the damage to a piece of artwork that needs repairing and the fix is just as fragile as the gilt she uses to finish the process. In confessing to past wrongs she is learning more about her self and perhaps opening feelings that were once locked deeply away and perhaps resolution will result in reparations.
    Kathryn Kay brings us a poignant and beautiful look at Florence through the eyes of someone innocent and fresh who slowly becomes cynical as a result of life. Her plot is imaginative and unique. Her narrative is a mix of the prose spoke in Italy to the slang spoke in the US with dialogue that will let you see the Arno flowing and the flowers growing on the banks, that will let you smell the cafés wares and feel the salt spray on your face and imagine the thinness of the gold gilt and the fluidity of applying it. Her characters are all memorable and some are confusing. Her protagonist Marina grows throughout the novel and yet never really matures until the end where the author literally gives her readers a front row seat of Marina learning to trust, hope and live again without the debilitating fear it used to cause. This is definitely an adult read although the adult scenes are masked enough to allow a younger audience admittance.
    This is more than women¿s fiction, but that¿s the best genre to place it in, it¿s a journey to Europe it¿s of life and of loss and it¿s about putting the important things up front and deal with them.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    Five stars out of five stars!

    The Gilder begins as a wonderfully written and descriptive story of a young American woman living as a gilding apprentice in Florence, Italy and her close friendship with an artistic American couple.

    As the story matures we see the woman as a professional gilder living in upstate New York with her teenage daughter, and we experience the angst of parent-child relationships complicated by hidden truths.

    By the time the story ended I was so caught up with the lives of the characters I wanted the story to continue. But isn’t that how good books should end? I rate this book five stars out of five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    highly recommended read- beautifully written

    My favorite line, "A tourettes seizure of truth". I would read this author again, and recommend this book for visual readers. I think most readers will commiserate with and understand the heroin. The story line is evocative and paced just right, with a tail wind coming from behind giving it that extra whoosh, leaving you to resist putting it down for one minute.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2012

    Triumphant first novel.

    Witty and inspiring, The Gilder is a not-to-be-put-down novel of quandaries, complexities, and courage. Author Kathryn Kay kept me riveted from the first image to the last sentence with her frank look at how our choices surprisingly spiral into milestones. Florence is its own character without ever upstaging the suspense and romance of Marina, the protagonist. It’s a fresh perspective on ex-pats, artists, family, and the complexity of love. Kay keenly captures daily routines and nagging doubts. I devoured the book in three days and love how Kay’s specificity, wonder, and humor has turned my NYC routine into a more lush, spectacular adventure. I eagerly await her next book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    Excellent Read takes place in Florence, Italy!

    Just finished "The Gilder" by Kathryn Kay, first book I have read by her and it wont b the last. A) I couldnt put it down B) the setting for most of it was Florence Italy! Whether u have or have not been there her descriptions make you want to go and you feel like your there with the main character Marina. Takes place in the 90's when she is a young college student and they weave in the other characters so well. She knows how to tell a story, her characters r complex and you love them or hate them.You want to yell horay but also want to chastise them. She does a good job of going from the past to present as well and you dont get lost at all. Its just filled with everything. 2 thumbs up for sure, love it. and this was the book i won from my facebook bk club. This was even closer to me bc i have been to florence italy and Venice and Rome etc several times as my dad is right off the boat well in 1955

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    Highly recommended!

    This book makes me want to return to Florence, great read. Left me wanting more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Just wonderful, a story about a tangled life set right again with the added backdrop of beautiful and evocative images of Florence.
    Well done Ms. Kay!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    A savoring read...

    Set in Florence, Italy in the 1990’s Ms. Kay takes the reader instantly to this city of Michelangelo. In this well crafted story of mistakes of youth and paybacks in adulthood. A childhood dream of living and working in this famous Italian city of artist; does help her develop her craft but also teaches her life lessons about relationships that takes years to resolve. The book was hard to put down but I decided to savor it and only read a chapter a day. A great read!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2012

    Just buy it. It's excellent.

    If you love Florence Italy, like I do, the descriptions in this book will take you there as you follow Marina, the main character on her quest for redemption. Lines between friends and lovers blurr and lies and betrayal are major themes. Can the mistakes of her youth be forgiven? Read this and take the trip and you won't regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2011

    A great read!

    I love a good book, and The Gilder fits the bill perfectly. Marina, the main character, is caught in the web of lies she has gradually created since she betrayed her best friend Sarah in Florence 16 years ago. The story moves between the past and the present, neatly intertwining the stories of Marina as a twenty-two-year-old, newly arrived in Florence to study the art of gilding, and Marina today, a successful art restorer and gilder ¿ and mother to a 15-year-old daughter. This story of love and betrayal, and the lies people tell and the mistakes that they make, will draw you in and not let you go until you turn the last page. May this be the first of many wonderful books to come!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Perhaps books need a rating system like movies/t.v.

    I bought this book with a Nook credit thinking I was getting a book about a gilder in Florence, Italy and her story of art, friendship, and Italy. There was no mention in any of the reviews that this was involving both same sex and opposite sex relationships. And that these relationships would be the focus of the book. Very disappointing.

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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by: Robin Book provided by: Publisher Review originally

    Reviewed by: Robin
    Book provided by: Publisher
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book




    Ever have one of those moments when you think it would be easier on everyone to make up a story to glamorize your life. In this beautiful yet emotional story by Kathryn Kay about a Gilder we find that eventually the past does catch up with the present.




    Marina Nesmith had a knack of taking picture frames and art and doing what is called gilding to take the tarnish away and making them shine and shimmer once again.




    In Florence, Marina learned the craft of a gilder. It was in the 70’s and life was different. She met some Americans that had been living the bohemian lifestyle. They became friends and forged a relationship of sorts. Marina had a small fling with Thomas but really found her attracted to Sarah, which to Marina was a rather scary thing. Because of the infidelity with a married man Marina found herself pregnant.




    Zoe, Marina’s daughter is now 15 and wants to know about her father. What is Marina to do? All these years she has been living a lie. Marina has been telling lies to cover up the past which has now caught up to her. Marina has to make a choice now to give up the façade she has been living so that she is able to give her daughter the one thing she wants; the truth. And in order to do that Marina must face the past.




    So we travel back to where it all began Italy. Facing the past is never easy.




    I liked the concept of the story. How the secrets, lies, friendships, betrayals and choices we make always have a way of coming back to force us to be truthful with ourselves. We all know that with the choices that we make, they have a way of affecting not only our lives but those around us also.




    As Marina finds sometimes it really is simple. We sometimes just want someone to share it all with. Someone to share life with, the good and bad… It can be as simple as finding the confidence to tell the truth about the past. In this case your daughter about her father.




    I found this to be an eye opening story that hit some spots in my own life. Ms. Kay brought out the vulnerability of strong women. She showed that friendships are complex and that families protect. I especially loved the display of forgiveness within the family it was sweet and tender, showing that healing is possible.




    Ms. Kay has a strong sense of descriptive prowess that whether you have been to Italy or not makes you wants to go. There was a sympathetic realism to the story with a little bit a cluelessness which helped in making it more real.




    A feel good story that shows how choices we make affects everyone and not just us. Makes you think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    A Good Read

    I really enjoyed reading The Gilder. If you love Italy and have been to Florence, the author brings it all back to you. The main character was young and innocent and taken advantage of by the husband and wife. This would be a good book for book clubs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Captivating reading! Can't wait to go back to Florence on a &quo

    Captivating reading! Can't wait to go back to Florence on a "The Gilder" book tour.

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  • Posted April 24, 2012

    This book totally transported me back to Florence and into the i

    This book totally transported me back to Florence and into the intriguing lives of the characters. I am hoping there will be a second book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Really disappointed

    I expected to like this book because it is about art and takes place partly in Italy, but the relationships seemed uncomfortable and superficial. I thought maybe the lack of depth might have been a clever way of slowly revealing some mystery, by the author. But as mysteries were illuminated, it still wasn't clear what motivated the characters' despicable behavior. Nor was I drawn to identify with anyone's feelings either. I love to read and didn't even finish this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Love

    I loved this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    I could not stop crying

    Just loved the story! While traveling on a train, i read the final chapters and a darling gentleman askef if he could help because i was crying - i told him that i was just enjoying a fabulous novel - A great read ant time any place

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    A lovely, almost poetic telling of a woman relearning herself, r

    A lovely, almost poetic telling of a woman relearning herself, remembering what was and beginning to look to what will be. The Italian locale along with what feels like "regular" life dilemmas add to this must read book of finding one's way when the path has not always been smooth.

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