Title: The Gilded Cage
Author: Lucinda Gray
Synopsis: 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?
This book is about Katherine who used to live in a farm in Virginia with her brother. One day they get informed that they are the heirs to this fortune and house in London. So with that, they up and move to Walthingham Hall in London where there, they will stay with their cousins, Henry and Grace. Grace and Henry are there to help them intricate into London society and to help them get used to the customs that come with. Sadly, one morning, Katherine’s brother is found dead. Now everyone believes that it was an accident, except for Katherine. With the odds stacked against her, Katherine sets out to find her brothers killer, before they get to her.
This was a book that I didn’t totally love, but didn’t totally hate. There were some aspects that I really liked about this book and there were some that I didn’t like so much. Overall this story just kind of fell flat for me. The whole story revolves around Katherine trying to find out what happened to her brother and who did it. It felt like the book promised one thing but another was delivered. I was able to guess who did it a while before it was revealed. The ending was rushed. For everything that happened in the time frame it did, it was too much. And because of that it became kind of just a blur and I’m not all to certain of what exactly happened, I just remember the basics and the premise of it.
I liked Katherine. I liked how persistent she was and how she never gave up in trying to find justice, even when the odds were stacked against her. Although she isn’t the most memorable character and I’ll probably forget about her in the future, it was fun to read through her perspective.
The background characters felt meh. They didn’t feel well-developed and felt like the author didn’t spend much time in creating them. I wasn’t a fan of them either as characters and I really could care less about them. Grace I absolutely hated, along with Henry. They didn’t even care about the Katherine’s brother’s murder and just swept it under the rug as fast as they could. And it was just so frustrating to read. John is a servant at the Hall and Jane is Katherine’s friends. I liked them but they just didn’t have any dimensions to them and they fell flat for me as characters.
What I did like about this book was how well the setting of London was set up. The author did such a good job of making it seem believable. Gray does a good job at getting the outfits right and the customs held in high society right. Gray also does a good job of making the actions appropriate to that time period. For instance, those in the higher class are supposed to pay no attention to servants and if you do, it is frown upon. Grace follows this while Katherine does not and often times Grace’s disapproving look will be acknowledged in the story. Another example would be that often times in the book Katherine is ushered off to bed and that was common during the 1800s. Katherine was also not given much attention since she is a 16-year-old girl and she is just kind of brushed off.
I also liked how romance didn’t take a forefront of the book. I could tell it was brewing during the course of the book but I liked how it didn’t overshadow the mystery. I feel like so many books these days have the romance at the front and center and it was nice to not have that while reading this book.
Overall I didn’t entirely love this book. Would I recommend it to someone, probably not. But it was still a nice and quick read and some parts of this were enjoyable to read about.