I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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?
Main reason I picked this one up? That cover. It drew me in completely. Even the inside is gorgeously designed mimicking the outside cover with its whirls and whorls. Couldn’t help but click on it to request it. And I just love the historical genre so imagine my surprise when reading this synopsis that it ends up being a murder mystery.
I love the first half of this book. It had all the makings of a well-established setting and a mystery that you couldn’t help but try to decipher on your own. I was all up for some paranormal magical bit waiting to emerge but to my dismay I was incorrect with my assessment. And then I kept reading and my star rating ended up going down. The second part included unnecessary tolls and troubles that I didn’t really think was too important. Unless one believes that said secondary character deserved a better ending.
The one glaring aspect of The Gilded Cage is how women are portrayed and modeled in the book. What makes it more problematic is that it was probably the norm back then. Giving medicine to women who has emotional outbursts and probably carting them off to mental wards just because their family couldn’t deal with them. And then there’s the mere fact that it ends on such a depressing tone and context. I don’t want to read a book that will dampen my mood, but this one did. I was just so heartbroken for Katherine that even that ending barely gave me any hope for her at all. The writing was very fluid and being tucked away into her little world was a good reprieve even if it was tormenting for the main character. I was heavily invested in the story-line and wanted so much more for Katherine.
Pick this one up if you’re looking for a historical murder mystery but I do warn you, it can be a bit heavy at times. So glad I took a chance and read this one!