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Gilded: The St. Croix Chronicles [Kindle Edition]

Karina Cooper
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $6.99
You Save: $1.00 (13%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
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Book Description

In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary . . .

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family's legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born from the genetic mash-up of lesser royalty, storytellers, wanderers and dreamers, Karina Cooper was destined to be a creative genius. As a child, she moved all over the country like some kind of waifish blonde gypsy and learned how to adapt to the new cultures her family settled in. When she (finally) grew up, she skipped the whole genius part and fell in love with writing Paranormal Romance because, really, who doesn't love hot men and a happy ending?

When she isn't writing about things that go bump in the night, Karina designs Steampunk and neo-Victorian couture for gentleman hobbyists and ladies of questionable reputation. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, three cats, one rabbit and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2621 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (December 26, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,550 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Baffled and Bemused, even more so than Cherry March 8, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Reviewer AsYouWIsh hit it on the nail. Karina Cooper is a talented author and has devised a colorful interesting world. That said, I completely agree with the other readers that the main character is a drug addled nitwit who makes horrible decisions and has no true regard for her life and the lives of the people she is ultimately responsible for. The book is well written; the ending is horrible and disturbing. I love it when authors challenge my intelligence and emotional perceptions; I don't have so much love when they disregard the investment they encourage you to build in their dreamscapes and then douse you in cold weather. I've been reading urban fantasy for 20 years, starting with Cheri Scotch and Laurell K. Hamilton (who I also refuse to read any longer); and despite having some delightful accents this is by far the most disappointing book I've read. To the point where, I have to wonder what was the publisher thinking.


The main character marries an earl, who is killed minutes before their honeymoon is due to begin, due to her affiliations and "collector" activities. This happens as the character is purposely drawn away from the crime, on her honeymoon, to follow the person she thinks is responsible for a series of murders; needless to say, she was running in the wrong direction. Then the earl's family's legal representation comes to her home, which now belongs to his heir, to dismiss her staff and kick her out of her home. Yes, that's the kind of story we all want to read in our free time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great atmospherics, frustrating plot January 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For me, this book was a combination of really good and incredibly frustrating.

The best part was the steampunk atmospherics. The world was fascinating, with lots of eerie scenes with fog and dark, mysterious killers and curious contraptions. There was an interesting contrast between the seedy, lower part of London and the "Regency" type London with balls and afternoon teas.

The writing was good, with lots of colorful description and interesting characters (though most of the secondary characters were somewhat flat). However, I didn't find Cherry likable, and ended up with a strong resistance to even identifying with her. She's an unabashed drug addict (part of the "dark" part of the story), and I got tired of her constant yearning after another "fix" of opium. I like to have a character arc in my stories, where the character learns, grows or changes. In a positive direction, it's necessary to say. Cherry is in much worse shape, character-wise, at the end of this book than she was in the beginning, and she didn't appear to have learned anything.

When the Regency-type hero character, the earl, was introduced, I started feeling a sense of dread, because clearly it wasn't going to work out, and as a romance reader I like a little bit of a happily-ever-after at least. But the horrible resolution to that arc exceeded even what I feared. So I guess she succeeded in arousing emotions - but I can't say that I *enjoyed* it.

I like an arc to my story, with at least some part of the plot resolved at the end, and a feeling of at least partial completion - since clearly in an ongoing story not everything will be tied up. This story was very episodic, and the book ended on an incredibly low point.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The main character is not particularly likeable December 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read, and for the most part, enjoyed Tarnished, I bought Gilded wanting to see what would become of Cherry. The author does a wonderful job describing the setting of the book and descriptions of the time period. Ms Cooper includes enough characters to make it interesting and make the reader feel what life would have been like for the various characters. I wasn't sure if the author didn't go more in depth with the other characters, specifically her mysterious guardian Mr Ashmore and her maid, because they will serve larger parts in the subsequent book, or if the hints dropped about them were never meant to be relevant to the storyline. I won't find out, as i am not buying the next book in the series.
The biggest problem I had with the story was Cherry. I dont think I've ever started a series and by book two disliked the main character. The character reminds us endlessly how clever she is. She describes numerous times what fantastic skills she has (learned in a circus as a child) that allow her to work as the only woman collector, however, her actions depict her as a bumbling drug addicted fool who runs around blind in the fog and has clearly only stayed alive as long as she has through sheer dumb luck and other people saving her. She is woefully inadequate dealing with Society and she repeatedly gets people killed. It is too much to overlook her considerable inability to get out of her own way and yet believe that she has managed to snag an Earl and uncover a murderer. By the end I couldn't muster any feelings of sympathy for the greater mess her life had become.
I expect to suspend reality in books so that the story can progress with twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end, but this story is lead by an inept drug addict gilded to appear a brillant strong woman. I couldn't suspend reality enough to make her a believable, or likeable, character.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Cannot wait to see where this goes.
It took me awhile to get to this book, but I knew that I needed to finally read it so I can move on in the series. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paris Hansen
1.0 out of 5 stars My intuition about this book unfortunately proved to be true despite...
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: Woman on a mission to discover more about her father and circumvent the rules and regulations of her place in... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dark Faerie Tales
1.0 out of 5 stars poor work
i thought the first book had a possible story line going but i haven't been this disappointed in a series in a long time. Read more
Published 19 months ago by donna
4.0 out of 5 stars alternative Victorian World with an interestingly flawed protagonist
I like that the main character isn't all sweetness and light. She is badly flawed and she knows it. The world that Ms. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mike Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Ride
I've already spoken of my love for Karina Cooper's writing, and the world she's built for Cherry St. Croix.

Gilded was an amazing ride, and I loved every moment of it. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Main character is a twit!
It's hard to like a book when the main character is such a twit! I read the first book in the series--Tarnished--because it seemed atmospheric, true to the concept of Steampunk... Read more
Published on March 5, 2013 by Anl
4.0 out of 5 stars A diffferent heroine makes for some dark reading
Much of the early part of Karina Cooper's latest moves slowly and can be tough to follow without reading the first book in the "St. Croix Chronicles" Tarnished. Read more
Published on March 3, 2013 by Affaire de Coeur
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fiesty but Flawed Heroine
This was a unique steam punk novel. The heroine is a complicated girl, almost woman. I love the romance interest that is slowly building!
Published on February 8, 2013 by The Common Bibliophile
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read.
I enjoy steam punk and strong female main characters, so this was an enjoyable novel to read. At times, a little to strong with the incidents of women being the weaker sex, in a... Read more
Published on February 6, 2013 by John Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
I had a lot of fun reading Tarnished and Gilded. I bought both and read them back to back. Periodically I wanted to "smack" the heroine a good one. Read more
Published on January 23, 2013 by Dawn Swan
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More About the Author

After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romances, steampunk adventures, crossover urban fantasy, and continues to write across multiple genres with mad glee. Her award winning steampunk series, The St. Croix Chronicles, is the RT Reviewers Choice Awards recipient for Best Steampunk Novel 2012.

One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an avid reader, a borderline hermit and an activist. She co-exists with a husband, a menagerie and a severe coffee habit. Visit her at, because she says so.

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