review: Gilt by Katherine Longshore
from goodreads - 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.
my take - The best way for me to describe this book is like a modernized telling of life in the court of King Henry VIII. That’s not to say it’s set in modern times, it’s set in the 1540s – the time of King Henry’s reign. It just has a modern feel, think sentence structure, vernacular.
The stars of the show are Kitty and Cat. Kitty is passive and lonely and dependent on Cat, but don’t think weak. She has a mind of her own. She is also a faithful and loyal friend, to the very end. BFF Cat (Catherine Howard) is Kitty’s complete opposite. She is selfish, mean, narcissistic and totally self-serving. The two together provide good fodder for unhealthy relationships. Don’t get me wrong, they have poignant moments together, but overall Cat is using Kitty for a confident and Kitty using Cat for a secure place to live.
Once Cat marries Henry VIII, she is still vile, but now everyone is required to succumb to her orders. Those orders grow harder and harder for Kitty to follow. At this point court life is in full force and one must watch what they say, whom they’re seen with for court gossip is vicious and anything can be turned into treason.
As for the two men after Kitty’s affection, William and Edmund, each offer something completely different. By the end of the story I have respect for both (I forgive easily). However, don’t think love triangle.
The ending is filled with hope, a chance for new beginnings (no cliff hanger).
Overall, it’s a good entertaining story and perfect for those who love historical reads.
side note – As I understand, Longshore is planning a three-novel series, though not direct sequels. She plans on writing more about court life and mentions we might see some of our favorites again. I’m hoping we get to see how Kitty’s life turned out.