This book is the perfect “happy medium” choice for young adult historical fiction. If you don’t like mushy historical fiction romances like “The Queen’s Lady”, but don’t want something quite as grimly intense as J. Anderson Coats’ “The Wicked and the Just”... well, then, “Gilt” by Katherine Longshore is the book for you.
Gilt is full of gorgeous scenery, fancy dresses, passion, lies, betrayal and blooooooood. How can there not be blood when Henry VIII’s around? The book opens with Kitty and Cat, best friends, exploring the guardian’s rooms and trying on her things. The duchess has taken in many of the extended family’s unwanted daughters (most distant relations) and uses them as servants until she eventually marries them off. Throughout the story, we see Kitty grow from a quiet girl who would do anything for her friend Cat into a young woman who finally sees the world around her for what it really is. It just takes her awhile and we, as readers, are along for the ride and once she gets drawn into Henry’s court, we hold our breaths seeing if Kitty and her friends will survive the intrigue and deceit of courtly life.
Ms. Longshore’s writing is superb. It flows quickly and while she describes the court, castles, etc, it doesn’t get bogged down with description. It’s still a book you can devour, which says a lot for Ms. Longshore’s ability to write a tight, well-paced plot. That is no easy feat in a 398 page piece of historical fiction! There is some romance, but it is a device for Kitty’s self discovery and the intrigue at court. As her friend Cat says, there is no room for love in the court of Henry VIII. So those of you who are squeamish about mushy gushy romance will be safe reading this book.
Ms. Longshore’s “Gilt” is a well paced and exciting read that could open the door to readers who are hesitant about trying historical fiction. Henry the VIII’s court is not a safe place. Read “Gilt” and see if you can finish without losing your head! ;o)
I received an ARC of “Gilt” from the publisher, Viking Juvenile (Penguin). Ms. Longshore will be joining us on the Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast in the month of May. If you have any questions you’d like to ask her, please let me know!