Modern Fiction: The Gilder, by Kathryn Kay

The Gilder

Young Marina Nesmith, fresh out of college, moves from NY to Florence, determined to acquire the best possible training as a gilding and restoration specialist. Sarah and her husband Thomas, a noted photographer, take her under their wing, and although Marina views herself as heterosexual, some of her feelings for Sarah make her wonder. As she’s establishing herself in her new career, Sarah becomes pregnant, and abruptly returns to the states. Now, fifteen years later, her daughter demands to know who her father is, and Marina has some difficult choices to make.

What I liked about The Gilder: Marina is an independent woman who makes her own way in the world. As she traverses Florence and its environs, her impressions capture some of the essence of the city and its art. This author’s prose style is competent.

What I didn’t like about The Gilder: Coming of age novels tend to be very similar, and this one seems more suitable for young adult audience than for mature readers. Too many questions about motivations remain unanswered, and, except for Marina, characters are shallow. For the most part, I breezed through the pages, never fully, or even partially, captivated by any of the situations.

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