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Posted July 8, 2013
*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 6/21/2013*
I think we all know the fate of Anne Boleyn. I keep remembering that clever, little rhyme:
King Henry the Eighth,
to six wives he was wedded.
One died, one survived,
two divorced, two beheaded
Now, I'm going to admit here that I read Katherine's Gilt and Tarnish in rapid succession. I devoured these books in two days. I know, TWO DAYS! I simply could not put them down. Why? Well, because Katherine's writing placed me in the midst of all that swirling political intrigue that made the Tudor period so very interesting to historians and romance readers alike. Perhaps most interesting of all, Katherine chose to tell the story of Anne before she met Henry VIII. The story starts with Anne's return to England from France and a return to a family who is deeply involved with the King's innermost circle. The interactions between the siblings - Mary, George and Anne - rang so true. The squabbles, the forgiveness and the understanding were incredibly moving and real.
But my favorite moments were between Anne and the poet, Thomas Wyatt. Their level of banter and yes, even snark, made me laugh. They snap, crackled and popped right off the page. Because I didn't know the historical details of what happened between them, I fell for every nuance of their relationship. Without any spoilers for Tudor-lite readers like me, let me emphasize how very much I loved the two of them, and I have a feeling that most of you who love a will-they-won't-they romantic plotline will, too.
Tarnish also reminded me of why I adore historical settings. With a setting this well researched, I felt like I fell right in step, alongside the characters. Katherine tells the story of real people with flawed but proud families who are trying hard to get ahead in their world. Sadly, this is a world filled with biases , assumptions and prejudices that made me cringe at times. I'm a firm believer that the best of stories make us think about our own world;Tarnish achieved that mark.
This summer when you get tired of beachy reads and want a story that will make you think while surprising you with its level of swoony romance, pick up Tarnish. Then promise me, you'll come back here and tell me if you understood Thomas or Henry more, and if you'd follow your heart or your head in matters of the heart.