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The Gilder Paperback – January 1, 2012

47 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758263228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758263223
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in 1953 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the third of six children and eldest daughter of an international businessman, and homemaker. Just before my fourth birthday we moved to England where I became a proper little British girl in my grey Macintosh and black Wellington boots. Although we moved a number of times in those early years between England, Germany, and the States, I have always considered England (where my family still resides) to be my childhood home. While the frequent moves nurtured a sense of adventure and independence, the social and educational ramifications were often challenging, and to this day I'm a little wistful when I meet people who've had the experience of spending their childhood in one place.
When I was a freshman in high school, my family returned to the U.S. and settled in Wisconsin where I enjoyed the typical high school experience of academics, sports, and a little misbehaving. Following three, somewhat aimless, years at the University of Wisconsin and many courses in history and literature, I returned to Europe and settled in Florence, Italy. There, I enrolled in a course of study in antiques restoration, ultimately specializing in 15th Century inlay, and enjoyed an expat, bohemian life style. I remained in Florence for five years during which time I made an unexpected visit to a little island off Cape Cod called, Nantucket... I was captivated.
Following the birth of my daughter in Florence, my then husband and I moved to Nantucket and made it our home. Over the ensuing fifteen years I became a single parent, woodworker, basket maker, caterer, decorative painter, and antiques dealer.
At the age of forty, I resumed my studies, which is by far the best thing I've done in my adult life, and received a BA in liberal arts from Lesley College in 1996. Encouraged to pursue my writing, I eventually went on to a graduate program at Vermont College where I completed my MFA in writing in 2004. During this time I founded the Nantucket Writers Studio, where it gives me immense pleasure to lead creative writing workshops for women.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Penny on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Kathryn Kay has given us a very complex main character who is sometimes sympathetic and sometimes naive and obtuse. At times I wanted to cheer Marina on, and at times I wanted to scold her and set her straight. And that makes for a terrific read! The Florence setting and descriptions of scenery and food are incredibly evocative for those who have visited and those who have not, and one easily gets a true sense of place. There are other characters that are well drawn and fully realized - not one seems designed to be a device to move the plot forward. The journey Marina takes to understand her past for her daughter's benefit is going to be real for every mother who reads the story, but the story is by no means limited in its reach in that way. The themes of hiding, forgiveness, mistakes, compassion, and finding truth are universal. The aspect of mystery makes it a page turner, but the language, the depth of the story, and the beauty of Florence as a backdrop make one want to linger.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By VRWC on July 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, obviously in the minority, this book did not resonate with me. I am becoming more and more skeptical about the reviews I find on Amazon. So many 5 star reviews by people who have over 20 pages of reviews (thank you Harriet Klausner) or one-time reviews only. The story centers on a woman artist (Marina) who was raised by parents more interested in their own lives than their daughter's. She travels to Florence Italy, fulfilling a broken promise made by her mom, meeting an American ex-pat husband and wife. Emotionally, Marina wants someone to love and love her and falls in love with the wife, but has a one-time fling with the photographer husband. She gets pregnant, moves home and raises her daughter by herself, not telling the father. She is be-friended by a lesbian couple who help her sort through her feelings, encouraging her to be honest with her daughter about her father (who has since died) and the best friend she feels she betrayed. I purchased this book as a fan of historical fiction and did appreciate the flavor of Florence the author provided. However, I didn't not feel connected to the characters. They were not un-likeable but I really found myself not caring towards the end of the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bezelef on December 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love a good book, and The Gilder fits the bill perfectly. Marina, the main character, is caught in the web of lies she has gradually created since she betrayed her best friend Sarah in Florence 16 years ago. The story moves between the past and the present, neatly intertwining the stories of Marina as a twenty-two-year-old, newly arrived in Florence to study the art of gilding, and Marina today, a successful art restorer and gilder - and mother to a 15-year-old daughter. This story of love and betrayal, and the lies people tell and the mistakes that they make, will draw you in and not let you go until you turn the last page. May this be the first of many wonderful books to come!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Romancing the Book on January 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Reviewed by: Robin
Book provided by: Publisher
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

Ever have one of those moments when you think it would be easier on everyone to make up a story to glamorize your life. In this beautiful yet emotional story by Kathryn Kay about a Gilder we find that eventually the past does catch up with the present.

Marina Nesmith had a knack of taking picture frames and art and doing what is called gilding to take the tarnish away and making them shine and shimmer once again.

In Florence, Marina learned the craft of a gilder. It was in the 70's and life was different. She met some Americans that had been living the bohemian lifestyle. They became friends and forged a relationship of sorts. Marina had a small fling with Thomas but really found her attracted to Sarah, which to Marina was a rather scary thing. Because of the infidelity with a married man Marina found herself pregnant.

Zoe, Marina's daughter is now 15 and wants to know about her father. What is Marina to do? All these years she has been living a lie. Marina has been telling lies to cover up the past which has now caught up to her. Marina has to make a choice now to give up the façade she has been living so that she is able to give her daughter the one thing she wants; the truth. And in order to do that Marina must face the past.

So we travel back to where it all began Italy. Facing the past is never easy.

I liked the concept of the story. How the secrets, lies, friendships, betrayals and choices we make always have a way of coming back to force us to be truthful with ourselves. We all know that with the choices that we make, they have a way of affecting not only our lives but those around us also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samantha J on July 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
I received a copy of The Gilder in exchange for an honest review. I will be honest - at first glance, I wasn't real excited to read this book. Both the cover and the title were a bit on the boring side for me, but that's why we can't judge on image, right? I ended up really enjoying this book. The main character is Marina Nesmith, an art restorer who on the outside seems to have a pretty terrific life. But Marina has been carrying around a secret for too many years - and one that is about to catch up to her when she heads to Florence. Marina visited Florence years ago, and that is where she met Thomas and his wife Sarah. She learned her trade as a gilder, formed friendships, and was awakened to a whole new world. But her time in Florence wasn't all good. Now Marina must decide whether she will face the past and finally start revealing the truths, or continue to cower in her lies.

I daydream about visiting Florence at least twice a month, so I had a really fabulous time reading all the beautiful descriptions Kathryn Kay offered up. There was a lot of a mystery aspect which I am always a fan of, and I had a great time going on Marina's journey with her. It was a lot deeper, more complex, and simply just...different from what I was expecting - but in a good way! Sometimes the writing was a bit heavy for me, and it seemed everyone Marina met had a "cherubic" face, but otherwise I thought this was a very interesting read and one that I would recommend.
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