Title: The Gilded Cage
Author: Lucinda Gray
Genre: Young Adult, Adult
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Date published: August 2, 2016
Page Count: 188
E-copy of the book kindly provided through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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 she discovers the corpse of her brother George in a lake on the estate-the tragic accidental drowning of a young man, the coroner reports, despite the wound to George’s head.
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?
I selected this book on NetGalley because I really like books set in the Victorian era, and I also really like mysteries. The Gilded Cage contains both of those things, so I was very intrigued. I also really liked the book’s cover.
My first impression was that I liked how Lucinda Gray’s writing fits the setting, and I was impressed by the accuracy of the dialogue, also. The characters were also vivid, and easy for me to tell apart. They resonated off of the page really well, and I could easily see them as people who may have lived in that time.
The plot was interesting, and kept me hooked until the end, as I wanted to know what would happen and how it would all wrap up. One of the things which didn’t impress me, however, was the pacing. Although there were things happening throughout the novel, I felt as if some parts dragged a little. This is strange for me, because I like long books, and I did consider this book (at 188 pages) to be shorter than what I normally read. Yet, it felt a bit longer than that page count, and I do not think that this may be a good thing.
Also, although I found that the language used in the dialogue was fitting for the time frame, some of the dialogue was a little too dramatic at times. It made some parts of this novel feel a little theatrical to me, and therefore a little less enjoyable.
While I said that the plot was interesting, I also found that parts of it felt forced—almost as if certain portions didn’t fit with the rest of the story. And I cannot help but mention that I am also a bit disappointed in the romantic aspects of this novel (which is all I can say on that subject without spoiling anything). I also found that the main character’s naiveté was also a little forced, mainly in order to make the plot work.
Overall, I wish that I could give this novel a 4 out of 5 rating, but when weighing the pros and cons, I find that a 3.5 out of 5 is more suitable, and feels more honest.
I do recommend this book to those who enjoy books set in the Victorian era, as well as the added bonus of a dangerous mystery.
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