Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Publisher provided for review
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After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper-class England in the 1820s, is shattered when her brother mysteriously drowns. Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident.Well. My cover lust got me again. Admittedly, The Gilded Cage wasn't completely cover lust, but, I mean, that's a pretty cover, yeah? I don't know what I was expecting from this... But it certainly wasn't what I got. Even had I known the type of story I was getting, I don't know that it would have saved the reading experience, though.
A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham. Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?
The Gilded Cage follows Katherine as she and her brother George are brought into the dazzling life of the rich and titled in England. But quickly, their new world loses its shine, for her brother is found dead. As Katherine questions the circumstances, she also begins to question her sanity...
And this sounds pretty good, yeah? Like a good old Gothic, where there are things that go bump in the night and a sense of foreboding surrounding the story. You can tell that's what The Gilded Cage is trying to evoke, but it misses the mark. Where the mood should be dark, it's...grey. Where the sense of doom should be heavy, it's there, but never feels imminent. Never did I feel like I got Katherine or her decisions, and I didn't find much to enjoy in any of the other characters.
Honestly, it's not often that I don't have, like, anything good to say about a book. I'm sure there's someone for it, but it left me feeling like I'd wasted my time--and I don't even have any strong feelings, good or bad, to account for that. If this sounds like something you'd like, I'd recommend reading Sharon Cameron's The Dark Unwinding instead (though it's got a touch of steampunk to it--which only makes it better in my book!)
About the author:
Lucinda Gray is the pseudonym of an American novelist who lives in New York.