This is a post I've been waiting to write for two years.  In May 2010, I sent out a tweet that said "This YA Historical is rocking my world!"  That was all I could say, because it was, at the time, an early, unsold draft of the manuscript that would become GILT.  But I wanted to shout from the rooftops how good this book was, and how everyone, historical fiction fan or not, should pick it up.

How do I love GILT?  Let's count the ways, shall we?

1.  Amazing pacing:  This is not something I can say about a lot of books, let alone historical fiction, but this book was a fast, fun read.  It was the kind of book that I couldn't put down.  I was kicking myself for starting it on a Sunday evening when I didn't have time to read the whole thing.  The next day, I took my laptop with me to an off site meeting, and flipping it open at breaks, just to read a few pages.  I thought I knew how the story must end, but then I didn't.  Because while I was fairly certain that Catherine Howard wouldn't survive Henry VIII, I had no idea if Kitty Tylney would survive Catherine Howard. 

2.  Beautiful prose:  The language in this book is spare, artful and gorgeous.  Scenes move along at a brisk pace (see above) yet, I found myself wanting to slow down and admire a perfect image or layers of meaning behind even the smallest exchange between characters.  No word is wasted in this novel.  Each one is precise and perfectly evokes the mood of the scene.  Once and a while I came across an unfamiliar word. Invariably, when I looked up the definition, the word was exactly right.

3.  Incredible history:  Before reading GILT, I didn't know that much Henry VIII and his court beyond the fact that there was a lot of bloodshed.  There was a lot of bloodshed, but there much more than that.  There was love and loyalty, politics and betrayal, survival and sin.  These were people, not so different from us, driven by their base desires, and influenced by the people and events around them.  Talk about a dystopian society, Henry VIII was the epitome of corrupted power.  I was fascinated by the characters that populated GILT, and even more so when I learned that nearly all of them were based on real people.

4.  Painstaking accuracy:  I have seen Katherine revise a huge portion of her manuscript after uncovering some minor historical fact that makes it impossible for her characters to have been at the location she has them in at that time of year.  Katherine has visited most of the places where the novel takes place (if they still exist) and she brings you there with her.  So much of GILT is based on real, documented events, actual places and people, that I felt like I had stepped back in time with them.

5.  Hot guys:  I'm just saying.

6.  A great story:  Forget the history.  This is Kitty's story.  Kitty is an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances.  Her journey from family outcast to the queen's court is the heart and soul of this book.  Kitty's loyalty to a friend is tested under the most extreme circumstances imaginable.  Every choice has a price, and everyone pays. It's the kind of story that is fascinating in any era.

GILT is the kind of book I encourage everyone I know to read.  Like the Tudor court, it is glamorous, fun and exciting.  But it is also deep, moving and utterly unforgettable. 

Plus, I KNOW her.  How cool is that?


So excited for Katherine! You guys are the epitome of what a great writing group can accomplish!

I'm in an amazing writing group- we're currently mixed--agented and non, Published and not yet.
But one by one our members are crossing that threshold--and it is 100% because of the group.

I told them about YAMuses- and we look to your group for inspiration.

GREAT job!

Thanks Janet! I'm so glad you have an amazing writing group. I know it made all the difference for me in how I approach my writing. Having other writers to share the journey makes it so much more rewarding. Please keep us posted on your group's successes.

I can't help mentioning that I saw an advertisement for GILT on Goodreads and I got all excited. It's been nice seeing each YA Muse author burst on the scene :-)

My copy of Gilt has shipped! My sister said, "But don't you have a Kindle Fire? You don't have to wait." I replied, "This book is waaaay beyond Kindle, baby. It needs to be held, pages turned physically, propped before self in bathtub, etc.!" I think she got it.

Thank you, ladies!

Janet - there's nothing like a supportive environment while nurturing a novel. The Muses - and all of you readers - have been invaluable!

Angela - I finally saw the ad, too! Gave me chills.

PB - I LOVE that you want to hold the real deal - I don't even mind if it gets in the bathwater.

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