Monday, May 27, 2013 16:22

Review 161. Katherine Longshore – Gilt.

Title: Gilt.
Author: Katherine Longshore.
Pages: 406.
Published: February 28th 2013 (first published May 15th 2012)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's.
Sort: Part one of ‘The Royal Circle’
In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--
and love comes at the highest price of all.

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.
Rating:


I consider myself a big fan of the Tudors era. Most of the historical fiction I read are about the queens and the court of Henry VIII. Last year I’ve read my first book about Catherine Howard: Alisa Libby – The king’s rose. I was surprised by the voice of Cat, but this book is completely the opposite. The Cat we see here is the same as the queen we see in the television show. This made it hard for me to rate this book. While I was intrigued by her and Kitty’s story, I had a hard time to connect to the characters. The writing-style was definitely pleasant and the atmosphere for the treacherous court was nicely done. That is why I settled down to a rating of 3.
This story is told from the POV of Kitty Tylney, best ‘friend’ of Catherine Howard. They live a boring and quiet life in Cat’s grandmothers house. Except for the secret nights were Cat and Francis are having fun, not knowing that this will become Cat’s downfall.

Cat always dreamt of living at court: dancing, flirting and gossiping. Kitty is her shadow and she follows Cat everywhere. That was one of the annoying things and I had a hard time to overlook this aspect of Kitty’s personality. She has no spine. She is obedient and blind when it comes to her ‘friendship’ with the egoistic Cat and that results in many stupid decisions.

When the King marries his new queen – Anne of Cleves – he is looking for new maidens. Cat is one of the lucky girls and she is soon swept away in her new life. Kitty stays behind and as a true whiner, she feels rejected and jealous. But Cat is climbing on her social ladder and she caught the King’s eyes. Soon, she is married with him and she brings Kitty to court. From here on we encounter many facepalm situations.

I can understand that Cat is still a young, naive girl and it’s very clear that she isn’t ready for such an important task, but the thing she does.. She should have known better and Kitty is just as stupid. Instead of seeing the truth (that Cat is a horrible friend who only uses her to feel better) she keeps bowing for Cat’s fits. I wished that she would have grown throughout the book, but her character development is non-existent.

Despite my annoyance for most of the characters, I was hooked to the good writing-style. Longshore has a descriptive, flowy way of writing and it was fun to see the treachery among the court members. I’m definitely excited enough to read part 2, which will be about my favorite Queen from this era: Anne Boleyn.

author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

19 comments:

  1. Oooo, I think this book with really frustrate me. It sounds like Kitty would get on my nerves too much, especially if she is a bit of a whiner. I'm glad that the writing made up for the lack of character development. Thanks for the review.

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  2. I've been thinking of checking this out for so long, even before I watched the entire The Tudors series. (Loved it!) But blah, whiny characters suck. I might still have to check it out because I want to read more books that deal with this era, and glad the writing is good!

    April @ My Shelf Confessions

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    1. I love the series! <3 Do you know Philippa Gregory? I really like her Tudors books.

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  3. Oh I don't really like that cover. I appreciated this take on Catherine but my favorite queen is Anne so I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series about her!

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    1. I think it's okay. It's better than the old design.

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  4. Annoying character decisions and under developed characters are a pet peeve for me in writing. I'm not a huge historical fiction readers so it has to be really good to hook me. Sorry this wasn't quite as good as you hoped, Mel. Great review! :)

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  5. Characters like Kitty really don't work very well for me. I might have been less put off if I knew there was improvement over the course of the book, but no character development? That's really frustrating! I never really considered this one, and I doubt that I will now. I trust your opinion, so thank you for the helpful review! I'm glad that you're still willing to read the next one though. :)

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    1. Yeah, I was disappointed at the end. I'd really hoped for more development.

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  6. I'm not a big fan of historical fiction at all but I remember being pretty excited when this one was coming out because it sounded like it was more drama filled than most historical titles. Sounds like that is what annoyed you, so I'm happy I stayed away from it. I hate when characters spend so much time doing stupid stuff, and a double facepalm means it gets really bad. Great review!

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  7. I don't think I'd like this book any more than you did, either! Cat and Kitty (ha, their names are related) would annoy the hell out of me, and while Gilt does sound pretty interesting, I don't think I'll be giving this one a go anytime soon. Annoying characters just don't get well with me. That double facepalm picture always cracks me up!

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    1. Haha, I just had to include that picture! It was perfect.

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  8. I thought I might like this one but based on this review it is a pass!

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  9. Hmm. I'm sorry you didn't like this more! I'm a historical nut, and I sucked it up, even though there were a few issues I had. I loved getting a more gritty look at the time. Although I do get some of the character things you were talking about. But in all, I think I liked it more for the historical accuracy and feel of the book. I'm actually very excited for Tarnish.

    Hopefully you can find another Tudor book that suits you better!
    <333 Inky

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    1. I thought I was going to love it, so it's a shame. Tarnish sounds great though :D

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  10. Great review sweetie :D Thank you for sharing. <3 Not sure I would ever read this book. The characters sounds awful, to be honest. Don't think I could stand that at all :) But ohh. Writing sounds awesome! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  11. oh man, I am not a fan of naive and face palm inducing characters! Cat sounds like a crappy friend but I think I would be even more annoyed at Kitty for putting up with it. I love the historical setting and timeline so I definitely am interested in reading it.. I haven't watched the show you mentioned so I would enjoy it even more, at least I hope.

    Great review Mel!
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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