BOOK REPORT for The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

Cover Story: Historical Turn Arrrrroooooound

BFF Charm: Yay

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

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Talky Talk: Gothic Lite 

Bonus Factor: Unexpected Inheritance

Relationship Status: Better As Friends

Cover Story: Historical Turn Arrrrroooooound

Winter weather + ornate gates + only seeing the back of the woman on the cover = a very ominous feeling.

The Deal:

Katherine Randolph grew up the daughter of farmers in rural Virginia, and never expected—nor really wanted—to become an heiress of a wealthy English family. Until she became exactly that, due to the death of a grandfather she’d never met.

Katherine and her brother George travel to England to take over guardianship of Walthingham Hall. There, they meet their cousins, Grace and Henry Campion, who seem to only have their best interests in mind. But then George dies, and everyone but Katherine believes it to have been an accident. Katherine must work to unravel the mystery behind George’s untimely death before anyone else meets the same unfortunate fate.

BFF Charm: Yay

Having grown up on a farm, Katherine’s not your typical society girl; she knows what it’s like to work hard—physically—for what you have. So when she’s thrown into a life of luxury, she’s understandably out of her element. With her cousin Grace’s help, she tries to fit in the best she can, but she’s not always able to keep the farm girl from popping up (often at inopportune times). The fact that Katherine isn’t perfect makes her that much more appealing and approachable. I feel like, had I been put in a similar situation, I would have been much the same.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Katherine is an eligible and attractive young woman, so there’s no surprise that she catches the eye of more than one suitor throughout The Gilded Cage. One’s an inappropriate match, another a budget Mr. Darcy type, and another still even more inappropriate for wholly different reasons. Katherine struggles with matching her feelings (or lack thereof) with the dictates of society, but sometimes feelings need to be acted upon, “rules” be damned.

Talky Talk: Gothic Lite

The Gilded Cage has many elements of a traditional gothic novel—an ominous English setting, a suspicious death, an insane asylum, a mysterious “creature” that stalks the countryside—but none of the elements really pack as much of a punch as one might expect. Lucinda Gray has written a decently engrossing mystery that isn’t, thankfully, too easy to solve, but I still felt like the story would have been richer and more suspenseful had the tropes of the genre been played up more.

Bonus Factor: Unexpected Inheritance

This is a pretty familiar trope, but I appreciate how Gray doesn’t let a sudden windfall change her characters into unfamiliar caricatures of themselves. Although they’re asked to join society, Katherine and George want to do good with their money rather than just hoarding it for their own social benefit.

Casting Call:

Sophie Cookson as Katherine

Relationship Status: Better As Friends

I had a nice time together, Book, and really enjoyed your characters. I’m a little disappointed that you weren’t willing (or able) to go all out with your gothic crazy, however. I wouldn’t have judged you for it, and I think we might have made a better connection had you done so. (I’m totally cool with letting one’s freak flag fly.)

The Gilded Cage is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.