Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review of The Gilder by Kathryn Kay

The Gilder
Katherine Kay
Kensington Release date 1-1-2012

As a young adult Marina goes to Florence to further her art of gilding, hoping to learn from a master in a place where the art was created and perfected. Living in Florence she meets and befriends Sarah and Thomas who become her foster family and yet she also fosters deeper feelings toward Sarah, feelings that are unsettling. Those feelings are abruptly forgotten about when Marina’s confusing actions and the results of those actions send her scurrying out of Florence and away from her newfound life and friends as fast as a plane will carry her. Sixteen years later, her life built on lies, deceit and denials is starting to unravel when her daughter Zoe starts asking questions and the lies start sticking in her throat. She’s returning to Florence to speak at a conference and while she’s there she vows to make right what had become so wrong. In an act of life mimicking art she sees that the hurt to relationships is just as deep as the damage to a piece of artwork that needs repairing and the fix is just as fragile as the gilt she uses to finish the process. In confessing to past wrongs she is learning more about her self and perhaps opening feelings that were once locked deeply away and perhaps resolution will result in reparations.
Kathryn Kay brings us a poignant and beautiful look at Florence through the eyes of someone innocent and fresh who slowly becomes cynical as a result of life. Her plot is imaginative and unique. Her narrative is a mix of the prose spoke in Italy to the slang spoke in the US with dialogue that will let you see the Arno flowing and the flowers growing on the banks, that will let you smell the cafés wares and feel the salt spray on your face and imagine the thinness of the gold gilt and the fluidity of applying it. Her characters are all memorable and some are confusing. Her protagonist Marina grows throughout the novel and yet never really matures until the end where the author literally gives her readers a front row seat of Marina learning to trust, hope and live again without the debilitating fear it used to cause. This is definitely  an adult read although the adult scenes are masked enough to allow a younger audience admittance.
This is more than women’s fiction, but that’s the best genre to place it in, it’s a journey to Europe it’s of life and of loss and it’s about putting the important things up front and deal with them.
Buy the book here.


  1. This is a terrific book with very real characters and wonderful descriptions of Florence. There were times I wanted to cheer Marina on, and times I wanted to smack her - keeping me totally engaged. A must-read for those who like complex characters.

  2. A good read from page one to the end. You can get caught up in the story, the place and the characters. What else can you want from a book?