March 17, 2013

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Gilt (The Royal Circle, #1)Gilt

Author: Katherine Longshore
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Pages: 398
Review by: Tessa

       WARNING: This is a historical fiction book. You might want to Google King Henry VIII before you read this book.       Kitty and her best friend, Catherine Howard, live with the nuns, but that doesn't mean they are innocent. Every night, Catherine, other known as Cat, has "company". Kitty never tells anyone, because she is "loyal until death." It is not a surprise when Cat is called into court, but no one can believe it when she brings Kitty. The English Court is teeming with betrayal, love, and danger. The stakes get even higher when Cat becomes queen. She cannot let anything go wrong, or the price is worse than death.

Medieval times and the Renaissance are my favorite time periods and pretty much the only time I will read historical fiction. This era has an elegant, and lethal, grace that Longshore artfully explores. Many books are written about Henry VIII, but Longshore took the story from someone else's perspective, a blindly loyal friend who ends up in the spider web of the court.

It amazes me that people would risk everything just to have the favor of a fat, old king. If you know anything about King Henry VIII you know that he had six wives. This is the story of his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. Cat is a young woman with a ton of potential, but she decides to marry a king who is way past his prime. So, she begins an affair (or several) and risks not only her neck, but that of the whole court. And if you are having trouble picturing the court, just imagine a bunch of people wearing white makeup and white wigs.

As I was saying, Cat is a jerk, especially to her best, and only, friend. She expects her friend to commit treason just so she can have a little fun. Her unrelenting search for power finally caught up with her, but she ended up bringing Kitty with her. She had complete control over Kitty. Even their nicknames showed that Cat was the superior over Kitty.

On the other hand, I do love Kitty. It takes real loyalty and cunning to survive in the Royal Court even though her naivety was painful at times. Her romance was more realistic and relatable. Honestly, I cared more about Kitty than Cat, which I believed was Longshore's intent.

I liked this book and the reality behind it. Longshore artfully provided a new and fresh perspective on the story of an old British king and his multitude of wives. This book is part of a series, The Royal Circle. The next one is Tarnish and it is about the infamous Anne Boleyn, another one of Henry's wives and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. Look for it on June 18th, 2013.


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