Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 15, 2012
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Kitty's best friend, Cat, or Catherine Howard, is the type of girl that attracts attention, whereas Kitty is quite the opposite and remains Cat's loyal shadow. Kitty doesn't usually mind though as Cat is one of her only friends and pretty much her only family. While growing up, Cat doesn't follow the rules of the household. She throws wild midnight parties, disobeys her elders, spends time with boys, and is all around the "Queen of Misrule." As they get older, Cat is sent to the court of Henry VIII and starts to live a life very different than the one that Kitty and Cat are accustomed to. Finally, Cat sends for Kitty to come to court and as time goes by, it becomes very apparent that Cat, or Catherine Howard, will be the next Queen of England as she has stolen Henry's heart. Kitty and Catherine try to survive amongst a crazy court and deal with Henry's ups and downs, but Catherine never plays by the rules. There are major consequences for her choices, both good and bad. Put simply, Gilt by Katherine Longshore is one of the best young adult historical novels I've read in a long time.
Kitty is the type of character that is easily lead by others and that drove me nuts. One on hand, I felt badly for her as sometimes she had no choice in her decisions, because she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The problem with this is the fact that Catherine is a royal brat and I wanted to slap her across the face. One minute I liked her, the next minute she would do something so annoying and backstabbing that I loved to hate her. The dynamics between Kitty and Cat were interesting nonetheless as Gilt also examines friendship and popularity.
Just when I thought I was over novels about the Tudor Era, I get sucked into Gilt. I can confidently say now that I am NOT over this era and that Longshore has brought me back in. What is not to love? There's major drama, backstabbing, lies, intrigue, affairs, romance, gossips, etc. Half of what occurs is unbelievable, but what is even more captivating is the fact that most of these events actually occurred. Henry VIII is downright crazy and I loved being thrown back into his unpredictable court. Gilt reminded me not only of how much I love this time period, but how much I miss the show The Tudors and Gilt was a nice fix.
Even though we know how things end for Catherine Howard, I was still hopelessly addicted to Gilt. I devoured it book quickly and was totally invested in Kitty's story. I highly recommend Gilt to fans of historical fiction; you won't be disappointed. So, if you plan on reading any historical fiction this summer, it quite simply has to be Gilt. Katherine Longshore is one debut author that I definitely have my eye on.
*Read a Q&A about Gilt