Gilt Katherine Longshore Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gilt Katherine Longshore Book ReviewGilt by Katherine Longshore
Also by this author: Brazen
Published by Penguin on May 7, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Europe, Love & Romance, Royalty
Pages: 406
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free-- and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

Not gonna lie, I will read the shit out of most young adult historical fiction books about the Tudors. Seriously, that noise with King Henry VIII is like a reality show with how many wives he goes through. YOU GUYS Gilt by Katherine Longshore fulfilled all my wildest historical fiction dreams AND MORE. I love historical fiction but have been burned with some bad ones lately, and y’all I am here to let you know Gilt is one of the GOOD ones.

Gilt is told from the first person perspective of Katherine ‘Kitty’ Tylney, BFF and chambermaid of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII.  The story moves from Norfolk House and Catherine Howard’s affair with Francis Dereham all the way up to Catherine Howard’s death. Y’all there is SO much scandal and thus AWESOME all up in the plot. Catherine Howard is the original Regina George. Like seriously, she’s so catty and mean to her friends. I though that Kitty Tylney was the perfect vehicle for the story and plot because she’s close to Catherine Howard, yet she’s a sympathetic character unlike Catherine.

Friends, I LOVED reading about Catherine Howard’s court through Kitty’s critical eye. Her observances on the position of women as arm pieces are GOLD. We get legit character growth as we read about Kitty’s hero-worship of Cat, Kitty’s mistakes and her painful realizations about friendship. I could help but think – girl, your BFF is toxic, WAKE UP. Yet, Kitty’s imperfections go a long way in making her human. I think everyone makes mistakes and sometimes we idolize the wrong sort of people and so, while I was sort of judging Kitty, I also rooted for her.

Plus? You know how with historical fiction the writing can be either really annoying and too authentic OR really annoying and too modern? Well, Katherine Longshore’s Gilt was neither. I mean, never once was I like ‘did people really talk like that’ or ‘is there a google translator for this?’ Instead, I felt that Longshore nailed the sense of place and time WHILE keeping me riveted. Straight up, this book, Gilt, is very well written. I found myself wanting to walk across the room to grab sticky flags for certain pages, or wanting to read out loud just to see how certain phrases, like “Alice collected secrets the way the rest of us collected ribbons” roll off the tongue.

Oh, and peeps, this book, I cannot even begin to mention ALL THE SCANDALS! Illicit love-making, yo! Midnight parties! Lies! And okay, it is basically rated PG-13, for those who do not love the XXX. AHHH! And f’realz I wanted to hop on Netflix after reading Gilt by Katherine Longshore and watch The Tudors and read Margaret George’s The Autobiography Of Henry VIII because I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH.

Frankly, I am not sure how anyone can say history is boring once they move beyond dates and treaties. Gilt by Katherine Longshore shows that history has all the makings of the best soap opera or movie once we get to its heart – the motivations and maneuverings of the people who lived it.

Other reviews of Gilt by Katherine Longshore:

Rebecca’s Book Blog
Addicted 2 Novels
Girls In The Stacks

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. SO excited for this one! I was obsessed with The Other Boleyn Girl when I was in my teens. I’ll add it to the pile after Insurgent and Second Chance Summer.

  2. I’ve only read a couple of historical fiction books, but I think I will definitely need to check this one out! It has been added to my wishlist 🙂

  3. I keep seeing this cover everywhere, but this is the first time I’ve read a review about it. I’m not a big Tudor fan, but I think I might check this out anyway.

  4. So excited to see your review of this! I love the Tudors too and I am hoping this book will be an epic win for me when I read it later this month!

    • I hope it is an epic win for you as well. And since you are likely already familiar with the story and what happens with Catherine Howard, it will just add to your enjoyment, I think.

  5. I really enjoyed this one too! But Catherine made me mad. Although I think she’s not supposed to be sympathetic, since you didn’t think she was either!

  6. You just crack me up with this post – I was jut going to comment on how I liked the cover but after your thoughts here, sounds like I am missing out. 🙂

  7. I can tell you really, really loved Gilt! And I’m glad I read this because the cover doesn’t stand out to me so I had no plans to read this but you’ve made it sound fun and interesting, great work!

  8. TUDORS FTW! I love reading about Henry VIII, and I’ve loved that time period ever since I started reading Philippa Gregory’s books. I devoured The Tudors on TV also. The scandals and the betrayals and the backstabbing and the DRAMZ!!! It’s all so awesome.
    I’m so glad that Gilt lives up to this legacy of crazy shizz! But I’m also glad to hear that there’s a great, sympathetic but real character who grows and changes as the story moves forward. HOLLA!

    • I need to devour The Tudors on TV, like yesterday. I try to only do one show at a time so as to balance TV and reading and right now it’s FNL, but after I bet there’s a place for the Tudors.

      Kitty legit feels real, in the best possible root for her sort of way.

  9. I LOVED this book too–and I usually don’t gravitate to historical fiction. You summed up my feelings perfectly–so excited that you liked it as much as I did. <3

  10. Scandalous behavior is the BEST part of history! I think the only historical YA I have read is The Luxe. I liked it but this one sounds like I will like it even more! Have you ever listened to the “Stuff You Missed in History Class” Podcasts from How Stuff Works? I love listening to them. One of my favorites they did was on Lucrezia Borgia. It made me want to learn everything about her! I will have to go see if they have done one about Catherine or King Henry VIII. Then I am going to have to add Gilt to my Must Buy list!

    • I have not, but that sounds really interesting, like the sort of podcast I would like to listen to while having a slow day/filing organizing day at work.

      Oh man, YES, Gilt is SOOOO worth buying!

  11. Liesel Hill says

    I too have been burned by bad historical fiction novels before. It seems to me that they’re either awesome or terrible, and far too many fall on the wrong end of that continuum. Glad to hear that there’s still awesome stuff being produced! I’ll definitely check this one out! 😉

    • Right? Sometimes I enter historical fiction with trepidation because you never know how it will turn out. And yes! Gilt totally affirms that indeed, awesome historical fiction is still being written.

      Hope you love it, Liesel.

  12. Oh WOW Okay I do not read much historical fiction. I’ve read, like two of these books. (Sad, I know) but MAN OH MAN I will watch the hell out of The Tudors on TV. Not the same, but I’m just giving you my background.

    You’ve hit on something when you mention the language thing. It’s typically awful when I flip thru the books at the library. I just don’t like the reading to be too much work for me in a genre that I’m not all in love with. I’m all for reading outside the box (hello, contemps?), but I don’t want to make it hard on myself. But you’ve made me interested in this one. Why, you ask?

    I love a daggum scandal. Betrayal? Yes. And sure, the sexytimes are super nice too. So while I do not like this cover AT ALL and I’ve been not-lucky in the historical fiction department, I would certainly consider reading this one if it crossed my path. Especially if it was like The Tudors TV show. Cause MAN OH MAN that show is RAWRRRR.

    • Yes! I will read outside of my box (science fiction) if the book is not exactly hard on myself.

      I have to admit that I haven’t watched the Tudors yet, but I really want to after reading Gilt.

      Also? The general consensus seems to be that people hate the cover, but I love it.

  13. I’m actually not a huge fan of the Tudors, or at least of the fiction that I’ve tried to read about them, but this sounds awesome. I love scandals. And illicit sex. And parties.

    This one’s coming up soon. YES!

  14. I really feel like they missed the mark on this cover because it made me immediately write off this book that I now think I will LOVE. Nothing about that cover said to me ‘this is historical fic that’s Tudor scandalicious!’, but your review does, and I am there! I totally know what you mean about the language in some historical fiction not really sounding right, glad to hear this one’s a hit.

    • For REAL I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT LOVES THIS COVER. Like I see those giant painted lips and think there will be XXX and get pumped.

      The language is definitely a huge hit with me, like being able to understand WTF is going on, without thinking, hmmm that sounds out of place.

  15. Amy @ Turn the Page says

    I love historical fiction (so many people don’t!) so I’m really glad I know I can come here and fine some great recommendations! I haven’t heard anything about this book before. It is hard to find historical YA that does it right. One I enjoyed quite a bit recently was Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb it’s a mixture of fictional characters and witchcraft but set in 1554 while Elizabeth was under guard at Woodstock. Elizabeth is a character in it as well as a few historical figures.

    • It does surprise me how many people dislike historical fiction!

      Amy, I hope you totally check out Gilt.

      Also? I am going to add Witchstruck to my TBR, it sounds really good.

      • I have Witchstruck ARC in my TBR – it looks awesome! I need to get to reading it soon… and I love historical fic too! I don’t get why some people don’t.


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