Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bookanistas: GILT by Katherine Longshore

DISCLAIMER: Katherine Longshore and I share an editor, who sent me an arc of GILT.  Therefore it was with some trepidation that I turned to the first page.  Obviously, I hoped I would love it for so many reasons. Sometimes, you get lucky...

Plot without spoilers...When her best friend, Catherine Howard, catches the eye of King Henry VIII, Kitty Tylney's quiet life is upended and she finds herself at court. There, innocent Kitty begins to realize that wealth and power are not only glamorous but dangerous and that, in flirting with the king, her best friend is also playing with fire.

Of literary interest...Katherine Longshore is a great anglophile and the book is impeccably researched and full of fabulous details.  Luckily, she is also a terrific writer, able to make 16th century England accessible to the contemporary reader (even one like me who did not exactly study hard in my college European History class).  Longshore brings us into this spectacular foreign world (as richly described as any, er, wizard boarding school) and then connects us to characters so real they remind us of our friends (and some enemies).

Finally, just gotta say...I read this book in one sitting. Didn't even get up for a cuppa tea.  And it's 416 pages long, so that's saying something. I found myself so involved the life of Kitty--feeling for her, worrying for her, struggling along with her as life at court came unraveled--that I BECAME Kitty Tylney, awed by the gilt of the world into which I was thrown and terrified as I began to see hints of tarnish. The end of this story is a gut-wrenching blend of historical fact and astonishing drama. I closed the book thinking three words: I. WANT. MORE.  You will, too.

Where else will the Bookanistas take readers this week? Travel here...
Christine Fonseca revels in TO RIDE A PUCA
Katy Upperman adores UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Tracy Banghart delights in THE DISENCHANTMENTS
Gennifer Albin celebrates SHADOW AND BONE
Jessica Love is wowed by YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT
Shelli Johannes-Wells is crazy for CLOCKWISER

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