Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Review: The Gilded Age

The Gilded CageAuthor: Lucinda Gray
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. BYR

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. 

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?

John frowns, and I know he isn’t fooled. But, tapping his horse smartly with the reins, he does as I say. I am, after all, the lady of Walthingham Hall.

“You won’t catch me going outside after dark again,” one mutters. “Not now that the Beast of Walthingham has claimed another.”

The Beast of Walthingham preys on the wicked, they say…

Then I see the gaunt, dark figure watching me silently from the other side of the rise.

For the month of October, I am trying to read books that are either gothic themed or have a creepy storyline. This book had a very gothic feel, but in the end fell short for me. The main character Katherine, along with her brother, come into a huge fortune when a relative suddenly passes away. When they move to Walthingham Hall they are impressed by a lavish and grandiose lifestyle, far different from they have ever known, but their lives are soon changed because of the mysterious and even fatal occurrences that happen in and around the manor. The novel had all the necessary elements to be a spooky, haunting read, but it lacked something that I find very pivotal for a novel to be at the top of my shelf: characterization.

Katherine was not what I expected in a female heroine. She was a very flat character and was not characterized very well. The mystery fell flat for me as well. I had the “who-dun-it” figured out about halfway through, and I was pretty disappointed when I realized there were not going to be any more interesting twists and turns. The setting was absolutely magical; the estate was gothic, creepy, and everything you hope an 19th century manor would be. The story line sounds perfect for Halloween, but the plot left me wanting more and left me unsatisfied by the end of the book.

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