gilt by katherine longshore

Release Date: May 15th 2012
Source: Won (Thank you, Katherine Longshore!)
Rating: 6 (Above average. Recommended with reservations.)
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Indiebound, Amazon

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.

Court politics is practically synonymous with scandal, betrayal, and lies. Basically, it’s a gossip monger’s dream where everyone looks out for themselves. Gilt by Katherine Longshore excels in drawing you into the world of the Tudors. The court is like the providable holy land for every would-be aristocrat and social climbers.

Our main character, Kitty, wishes to go to court like the others and it’s granted when her best friend, Catherine, becomes queen. Be careful what you wish for, etc. Soon, she’s plunged into the world where everyone is a sycophant, schemer, and secrets are currency. Early on in Gilt, Kitty is described as Cat’s “shadow” and that pretty much defines her for the rest of the book. Everything she does is for the sake of Cat, no matter how vicious and toxic she is. Although I could see why Kitty is so loyal to Cat, it’s frustrating because she’s ridiculously self-sacrificing for her friend. Especially when Cat is not by any means a great friend, she’s clearly a manipulator and it’s stated several times in the book that she only cares for herself. The characters in this book weren’t likable but they were interesting. It was like reading a train wreck with bad decisions piled after another.

Overall, I enjoyed Katherine Longshore’s writing. Even though there were some anachronistic tendencies, I thought her language was readable without being stuffy. I really liked the way the world was crafted because I felt like I was watching from the sidelines of all the drama and intrigue. A solid historical fiction!

Sound: New Order – Ceremony
This is why events unnerve me,
They find it all, a different story,
Notice whom for wheels are turning,
Turn again and turn towards this time,
All she asks the strength to hold me,
Then again the same old story,
Word will travel, oh so quickly,
Travel first and lean towards this time.

I love New Order and this song was featured on the soundtrack of a film featuring another ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. I feel like this song captures how the court is built on the foundation of scandal and rumours. As this book demonstrates, it can definitely break you and every person in court has something to hide. That’s why their hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.

16 Responses to “(two can keep a secret if one is dead) review: gilt by katherine longshore”

  1. VeganYANerds says:

    I haven’t read much about Gilt and even though it’s historical fic, I think I’d like to read it. I like that even though the characters weren’t likeable, you were still interested in what was happening to them – great review!
    VeganYANerds recently posted..Spellbound Blog TourMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      It was an engrossing read, I’d recommend it if you were looking for a nice historical fiction. Thank you! :)

  2. Kitty and Cat — those have to be the BEST names ever!! x) (Kitty reminds me of my fave hero from X-Men, and Cat reminds me of one of my fave animals!) I’ve been hearing a lot of mixed things about this book lately, but I think I might enjoy this one — although I’d probably be a little frustrated with Kitty’s unfailing loyalty to her mean friend too! It sounds like an interesting dynamic, and I really want to know what happens between them in the end! :’)

    Thanks so much for the awesome honest review, Elena! Yay for solid historicals! :) <3
    Mimi Valentine recently posted..Showcase Sunday #1My Profile

    • Elena says:

      Ahaha, I’m glad you’re a cat lover too! I think you might enjoy this one too, it’s worth a shot. Interesting dynamic is the best way to describe it. Like I understood why Kitty liked Cat so much but I just wanted to shake her at times going THINK FOR YOURSELF!! Thanks, Mimi! ♥

  3. Sophia says:

    Oh, boy. I am so against the “best-friend-is-a-total-jerk” thing after reading The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott. It makes me want to pull my hair out! Friends should definitely be considerate of each other. Not conceited, like Catherine. I’ve heard similar things about this book. I’m not too into historical fiction or non-likable characters, so I think I’ll pass on this one. But I’m glad you enjoyed it, Elena! And congrats on winning it. :) I’d love to have the book on my shelf just because the cover is so gorgeous, aha! <3
    Sophia recently posted..Everneath by Brodi AshtonMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      If my copy didn’t have my name in it, I would have totally sent it to you, Sophia!! I mean, Catherine was a jerk but she reminded me of Regina George in her appeal? Like bitchy but you could sort of see why people were drawn to her.

  4. Great review!! :D With every review I read I become more and more interested in reading Cat and Kitty’s story. I need a good historical fiction with lots of intrigue and scandal, and this sounds like the perfect book for that!
    And I LOVE that song. And that movie. It’s one of my favorite movies. Soooo pretty! I also love the Adam & the Ants song, Kings of the Wild Frontier. ;)

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! :)
    Sierra @ Yearning to Read
    Sierra @ Yearning to Read recently posted..The Roar & The Whisper by Emma ClaytonMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      You should try it! It captures the secrets of court politics really well. I think the film is so pretty, I like Sofia Coppola’s directing and the soundtrack! Thank you, Sierra. :)

  5. Oh wow. I LOVE how you wrote this review! “Secrets are currency”, “It was like reading a train wreck”. Hehe. I’m definitely interested in this, I’ve seen some good reviews and just reading yours has me even more intrigued. Who doesn’t love reading about a fabulous train wreck?
    Cass (Words on Paper) recently posted..[Review] Born Wicked by Jessica SpotswoodMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      Thanks so much, especially since I feel like I was having problems with it and kept on editing! It really was frustrating at times, especially this one part, but it was a solid historical.

  6. I’m a historical fiction fan, so this one has been on my radar since I first heard of it! Good to know you enjoyed it, even if it didn’t completely blow you out of the water. I like how you said the characters in this book aren’t likable, but they’re interesting. That statement definitely caught my attention! :)
    Natalie @ Mindful Musings recently posted..BEA Panel-The Not-So-Secret Life of the American Teenager: Bridging the Gap between YA and Adult Fiction and Giveaway!My Profile

  7. Karen says:

    I’ve been on the fence with this one but I think I’ll probably eventually end up reading it. To be honest, I really have passed on it thus far because I hate the cover so much. Isn’t that dumb? That close-up of her nose with all that makeup on it just grosses me out.

    Love the Mean Girls reference at the end there!
    Karen recently posted..Tune In Tuesday: May 22, 2012My Profile

    • Elena says:

      I hate the cover too! I was trying to figure out how crop at the most flattering angle for this review and it was hard, haha. I’m not exactly sure why they decided to go with that cover…

      YAY, I’m glad you caught the reference. :)

  8. Thanks for this review! I got a review copy of this but haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet. i actually didn’t know that much about it, but I’m really looking forward to it after reading your review.
    Alison (AlisonCanRead) recently posted..The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny HanMy Profile

  9. Ah, court intrigue! Scandal! I always find a place in my heart for books like this, and I can’t wait to read this one. It sounds like a really fun historical fiction read.
    Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books recently posted..Book Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Profile