Bygone Days

Book Title: Gilded
Reviewed By: Kara Wolf [Gilded]
Written By: Catherine Karp
Genre: Historical/Romance
Publisher: Coachlight Press
ISBN: 0-9716790-0-2
Date: 2002
Price: $14.95
Publisher s Web Site: Coachlight Press

     Gilded is a book that will make you laugh and cry. It is an excellent tale of Emma Brandenberg, who becomes an unwitting advocate of women's liberation during a time when women are still simply homemakers and mothers. The book begins with Emma and her husband, Phillip, who is mayor of the small Massachusetts town they live in--Hollybrook. They stand on the cusp of a new century--the year is 1897. A hatmaker--milliner--opens a shop, and the man is soon revealed as a womanizer. Emma is repulsed by this, though several of her friends fall prey to his licentious ways. Her struggle to free herself from her husband's yoke, and her complex friendship with the milliner, Freddie Ash, are just one of the many plots the author explores in this ambitious novel.

     I was entranced by Emma, who is a strong, well-written and well-rounded character. Her struggle to be herself while still trying to please those around her endeared her to me quickly. The vivid descriptions of clothing, transportation, and the various 'new inventions' such as electricity, phones, and the 'new-fangled' horseless carriage, all underscored the period setting of this book. The author stays true to her characters, and the realism each is written with makes the book all the richer. It is a book that is easy to lose yourself in, and will definitely make you want to finish it in one sitting. I stayed up well past my bedtime, turning each page with both anticipation and dread, not wanting the story to end, but yet praying it would end happily. I'm glad to say, you won't be disappointed! I give this book 5 stars out of 5--and a rousing recommendation--go get a copy today!

Kara Wolf

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