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Gilt Hardcover – May 15, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In modern times, Cat would most likely be a cheerleader; the king, captain of the football team. But the royal backdrop with historical underpinnings makes a far more interesting story…Readers can practically feel the embroidered ball gowns and hand-stitched lace.” –The Los Angeles Times

"I believe I found my new favorite series"- MTV.com

“Longshore, who's clearly done her historical homework, takes full advantage of the Tudor standards. . . and surroundings. . .  but Cat is a completely contemporary American teenager.”—BCCB

“Longshore writes a believable novel of historical fiction with well-developed characters and entertaining . . . plot twists.”—VOYA

“A good, juicy story . . . royally riveting for the reader.”—Booklist

“A substantive, sobering historical read, with just a few heaving bodices.”—Kirkus Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Kitty Tylney has always lived in the shadow of her best friend, Cat.  Then Cat worms her way into the court of King Henry VIII - and into the King's heart.  When Cat brings her best friend into her inner circle at court, Kitty is thrust into a glittering new life of fabulous gowns, opulent parties, and dashing men vying for her attention.  But Kitty soon discovers that beneath the golden veneer lies a world of secrets and lies, trysts and back-door deals, where the price of gossip could literally be her head.
Once you've clawed your way to the top, there's nowhere to go but down...and it's a long fall from the Queen of England's throne.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670013994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670013999
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,022,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Angie on September 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I really liked the beginning and ending of Gilt, but for much of the middle portion I was bored and annoyed. It all starts out with Catherine Howard and Katherine "Kitty" Tylney as teenagers pretending to be courtiers. Catherine wants to be queen, and Kitty just wants to be happy and with her friend. Of course, Catherine gets her wish, but it's not at all how she dreamed it would be. Life at court is messy and full of deception and manipulation, but Kitty is beyond loyal to her dearest friend. Although at times it seems like Catherine only keeps her close to make sure her secrets stay just that.

I liked how Gilt was from the perspective of Kitty rather than Catherine. I'm sure most of us are familiar with King Henry's string of wives, but what about the people closest to them? Sure, it's dramatize for the sake of fiction, but it's still interesting to learn more about the lesser known people of the time. Despite being best friends all their lives, Catherine does treat Kitty quite poorly and takes advantage of her loyalty. Then when she's queen, she's even worse, since it's now Kitty's duty as her chamberer to do her bidding. I felt awful for Kitty a lot of the time, because she's forced to keep so many secrets which will eventually be her downfall, because she has knowledge of treason. Catherine is definitely one of those love to hate kind of characters.

However, I found myself annoyed with both of them in the middle of Gilt. Catherine could best be described as self-centered and boy crazy at the start, but once she's married to Henry, she becomes incessantly whiny. I could not stand her most of the time! On the other hand, Kitty was too goody-goody and perfect. She always does as she's told and goes along with everything, not really forming opinions of her own.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The youngest daughter of a family of little fortune and less consequence, as a child Katherine “Kitty” Tylney was sent to live off the largess of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, until such a time as she should be fortunate enough to make a marriage – should her family deign to expend any such effort on her behalf. Alone and unwanted, the friendless girl was adopted by her more charismatic, and marginally less impoverished peer in the Duchess’s household – Catherine “Cat” Howard. Years pass, and Kitty comes of age in Cat’s shadow, ever loyal to her friend who has become increasingly determined to make her mark on the world, with an eye to escaping Norfolk for the treacherous, powerful court of Henry VIII. When Kitty finally gets her chance to follow Cat into the spotlight of court life, will the price of power prove demand too great a price for their friendship to survive?

I was in the mood for a soap opera, and as absolutely nothing beats the Tudor court for juicy scandal and drama – something Gilt’s lushly appointed cover promised in spades. This novel marks Katherine Longshore’s first young adult foray into Henry VIII’s glittering world, and she couldn’t have picked a more perfect subject than Henry’s infamous teenage bride, the ill-fated Catherine Howard. I’ve always rather thought Catherine must have been rather silly and immature, an opinion that seems to be supported by the historical record. She was certainly far out of depth as her end proves, her rise and ruin complete in just eighteen short months, her fate sealed by the confidence that consequences were for other people – an assumption that as undone many a person, teenage or not, throughout history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So, I'm struggling a bit with whether I think this is a 3 or 4. I could go 3.5.

I absolutely love the concept behind this book. Catherine Howard's story told via her best friend? Yes, please.

What knocked off a star or maybe 2 was that I found the book to be a bit... slow.

There was some really great detail, and then there was a bit too much detail. And I think that "too much" slowed down the pace for me too many times. There were also a few chapters where nothing really happened.

What really kept me going during the slow times, was my anticipation to see how Longshore handled Catherine's demise (I hope that's not a spoiler, since this mirrors real life). It's not that it was bad, but I think I was expecting a bit more from these scenes -- although I did enjoy the 'practicing' part.

I was expecting a bit more with the ending in general -- the one relating to Kitty. I think the story could have gone further and wrapped things up a bit more.

But overall, I enjoyed the story and the look into King Henry and Cat's life via an 'outsider'. I think I may stick with the historical fiction genre for a bit, and make even seek out some more Henry VIII books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the record, I am not a historical fiction reader. I mean, I've read a little historical fiction, like THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and some of the OUTLANDER series, but it's not my shtick. So I was very curious when I came across GILT by Katherine Longshore, if it would really have the power to hold my attention. And I wanted to know how the author proposed to make a subgenre like historical fiction work in a YA novel. But what truly drew me to this mesmerizing read was the period and the characters. If there is a time in history that captures me, it's Tudor England. If there is a figure in history who can captivate me, it's King Henry VIII and/or one of his ill-fated wives.

Let me assure you, Longshore does not disappoint. While we all know about the infamous Anne Boleyn, the equally juicy character of Catherine Howard may be a little in her predecessor's shadow. But Longshore does a masterful job of bringing this notorious queen to the forefront through the voice of her best friend, a mysterious Kitty Tylney. Caught up in Catherine's rush and rise to the throne and then the subsequent plummet to the chopping block, Kitty finds herself torn between loyalty to her friend, loyalty to the throne, and loyalty to her heart. As Kitty weaves the tale of Catherine for us and her maddening, meteoric dash to the top, where absolute power corrupts absolutely, we watch her navigate her own sordid love triangle. All while trying to circumvent the web of allegiances at court and save her own skin.

You know how scary movies based on a true story seem that much scarier? Well, in the same way, because GILT is based on actual history, the winding plot, troubled characters, and complex setting are just that much richer. But the bottom line here is, Longshore is an excellent writer and this is simply one of the best reads of the year, YA or otherwise.
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