Kitty Tylney and Catherine Howard have grown up in the household of the Duchess of Norfolk, surrounding themselves with games, mischief and boys. When Catherine captures the attention of King Henry VIII, their girlish dreams of going to court are realized. Among the glitz and glamour of court life, Kitty soon realizes that she may be in over her head with the secrets, scandals and lies that are around every corner. Her feelings and loyalty are conflicted, forcing Kitty to put herself before her best friend for once.
I love historical fiction, especially surrounding the reign of King Henry VIII. Perhaps it’s the familiar names and characters that are prevalent throughout these types of books, across different authors penning them. Gilt was the first YA historical fiction in this time period I had read and I absolutely loved it. It worked so well with the setting that many of us know so well from TV shows like The Tudors to movies/books like The Other Boleyn Girl.
Longshore is exceptional at painting a picture of the dark & light sides of courtly life; from the opulence to the backstabbing. And the characters – oh the characters. They were so vivid and had so much personality that it stirred up a lot of emotions within me. Catherine was so ridiculously outrageous and selfish that I often wanted to toss the book at her. How Kitty could have been friends with that girl is beyond me. And Kitty… young, impressionable Kitty with her flirtations of such bad timing with William, were just gut-wrenching to witness. Those swoon-worthy scenes also made me want to throw the book at the two of them to get their act together already and stop fooling themselves!
Overall a really enjoyable & fantastic read. I would have wanted a bit more resolution to certain storylines and perhaps that might be in the cards for future installments, although the second book in The Royal Circle series, Tarnish, will focus on Anne Boleyn instead. Highly recommend for those that love a good romance, a bit of debauchery and the court of Henry VIII.