The Gilded Cage
Katherine Randolph has received the news of a lifetime --- a grandfather who she didn’t know existed has passed away and she and her brother have inherited his estate as well as his title. Katherine is quickly swept up in her new high-society life in England, but everything isn’t what it seems to be. There are rumors that an animal prowls the grounds of their sprawling new home. When Katherine’s brother is found dead, everyone assumes it was a suicide --- but Katherine doesn’t believe it and is determined to find his killer.
THE GILDED CAGE is a gothic mystery that was highly engrossing. It was fast-paced and a quick read. Lucinda Gray clearly knows the genre she was writing. THE GILDED CAGE expertly utilizes a lot of the gothic tropes. It has a dark tone, a young girl moving to a new wealthy estate that has secrets, questionable love interests and hints at the paranormal. It had all of the well-known elements of the gothic genre, but Lucinda Gray never took any risks with it. It wasn’t very original. It needed something different to set apart from being the same story that you’ve read so many times.
"THE GILDED CAGE was an enjoyable gothic historical novel with an interesting mystery that needed a great deal more development."
The story was very predictable for me. It was a straightforward mystery that led to the expected suspects right away. The main character, Katherine, questioned the obvious people but as is typical, it was really the ones right under her nose. I know gothic novels tend to have a darker tone and only hint at the paranormal, but THE GILDED CAGE might have benefited immensely from actually having a paranormal element. There was the rumor of the Walthington beast and several “hallucinations” of signs of it being real. It would have added another layer to the story.
Which brings to light the biggest problems of the novel: it didn’t have enough depth. The storyline was very one-dimensional. The pacing was a severe issue as well. It ended way too quickly and resolved the murder without exploring or wrapping up Katherine’s narrative. The romances in the novel were poorly paced with Katherine having a romp with a servant and then falling in love with a man she met a handful of times. This novel would have benefited from being a hundred pages longer, so the author could develop relationships, plot and world building.
THE GILDED CAGE was an enjoyable gothic historical novel with an interesting mystery that needed a great deal more development. It could have been a great and original story, but fell flat for relying on the same old gothic tropes.
Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado on August 29, 2016