Gilt (The Royal Circle #1)
May 15, 2012
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Kitty knows she has no real prospects, but Catherine is a Howard and that gives her possibility.
When Cat gets works her way into court - and possibly King Henry's heart, as well - she follows through on a promise and brings Kitty along. It's filled with jewels, beautiful dresses, and fancy parties, yes, but court life isn't perfect or easy.
Kitty finds herself somewhere she never thought she'd be - torn between two men.
And Cat may have more than her heart in danger if she keeps up her flirting ways. Kitty will have to learn how to be Cat's friend but also keep herself safe in a place where gossip no longer just gets your in trouble - in could get you killed.
I'm kind of a sucker for historical fiction - well, good historical fiction - and Tudor period ones, specifically.
When you read a good - completely fictitious - novel, you're often left wishing there was more. Another book, another chapter, some sort of epilogue, something. You can imagine things all you want but it never quite reaches the level of awesome that the book did because those characters were created in the author's head. With really good historical fiction, it's interestingly the same way. You finish a book wishing there were more about those characters, that you could keep reading about them . . . Then you remember there is because they're real (well save for any characters created for the novel). The only problem is, they're never quite the same as they were in whichever book you've just read because in a sense, the author created these characters as well - or at least brought them (back) to life.
Katherine Longshore does that in Gilt. I've read other novels set during the same time period with some of the same historical figures involved but this novel goes around the main players to and gives readers a bit of an outsiders (though not that outside) perspective. It's told through Kitty, Cat's best friend, confidante and surrogate sister. While we don't have the perspectives on King Henry that a novel told from Cat(herine)'s view might give, we do get a great view on who Cat, later Queen Catherine, is.
Not who she sees herself as, but who someone who's almost always known her sees her as.
Kitty also has a great view on the different men and women at court. From the way they're perceived to how they act to little secrets about them. It's likely that she, not being that high up in the court's hierarchy sees things that even one of the other ladies might not be privy to - or might not care to notice.
Gilt is not only a great historical fiction novel, it's a great character study that brought up a lot of things I hadn't thought about before in my other readings on the same time period. Even if you care nothing (or very little) about the time period, it's a tremendous read for the friendship between Cat and Kitty and the struggles they face - both with each other and that life puts on their bond.
This may be a young adult historical fiction but I think it easily stands up to the adult historical fiction novels - like those by Carolly Erickson and Alison Weir.
thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my e-galley of this title for review