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?
You know I’ve been reading a lot of Historical Romances lately and thought hey a Historical Romance YA seems too good to be true, except….well, this one sucked.
The good news is that The Gilded Cage is a mercifully short book (under 250 pages) which means I finished it in under two hours. The bad news is that I really didn’t give a flip what happened in this book, really didn’t care what happened to the character because they were flat as could be.
Plus, I kept really wondering with all the other books I read in the period if Katherine would really be able to inherit. I don’t think she could inherit the tile and all that came with it even if she was the only heir. God knows, there have been plenty of HR books that deal with the issue of having no male heir. And it wasn’t until very, very, recently that the British monarchy changed a rule allowing for a first born female heir to inherit the title. So, I had some doubt whether or not Katherine could’ve inherited faux Downton Abbey.
But hey…what do I know. Maybe there could’ve been a way for Lady Mary to inherit the Abby after all without having to marry Matthew Crawley.
Anyway, that possibly big error aside I could never really get into this book. The characters are really sparsely drawn out. It appears at the beginning that the MC is pining after some guy named Conner or at least whining about him, but then it quickly shifts to her being introduced to British society then a half ass murder mystery of her brother whose death was so quick and swift after his introduction that I really couldn’t care much that the character died.
And then it was like the MC was having some sort of pining for her family solicitor and there’s some creepy relative whose into her and then there’s an insane asylum and some other shit.
Like I said, I read it really quick but the story just doesn’t work for me because it’s so quick and plot point after plot point that I can’t really couldn’t keep track enough to know where this one was going. There’s an inheritance, we really don’t get told how big or great the inheritance is and there’s someone who wants to steal it. The MC’s brother paints, this also has to deal with the mystery of his death. And somehow the MC gets thrown into an asylum…
Yeah…it’s about confusing as that paragraph sounds. On the bright side, I guess I can’t hate any of the characters since they were all sort of boring. So, plus there?
I think one of the reasons this book lacked anything was that it was packaged. To be blunt, I sort of snub my nose at packaged books because it really does annoy me the whole concept of them. It’s true that some of them are better (and more ethical) than others. While I know nothing about the packaging company that produced Gray’s book, I do know that this book felt very phoned in. There was nothing that invoked passion concerning the book or it’s subject matter to me. While the plot could’ve been interesting it was dull.
Which is a shame because Gothic novels, when done right can be pretty awesome. This one though seemed a little bit more than a skeleton outline than anything else. Usually, I complain about books in YA being too long, but this is one case where I think a hundred or so pages could’ve done the book good.
Overall Rating: A D. I finished it, which is something and there were some aspects and bits interesting. It was just more or less a skeleton of what could’e been a very good book but wasn’t.