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The Gilder

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  243 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Art restorer Marina Nesmith's life seems flawless, but Marina is conscious of what she lacks--especially the courage to tell her teenage daughter, Zoe, the truth about her father. Then Marina is invited to return to Florence, where she learned her trade as a gilder years ago. Now, as past and present collide, Marina must find the life that she--and Zoe--have been looking f ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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Sue Seligman
Jan 23, 2012 Sue Seligman rated it did not like it
If I was able to I would have not given this book any stars. I was extremely disappointed with this novel because I had been hooked in by the author comments, particularly Luanne Rice, and the book jacket, both of which presented this as a novel of mother daughter relationships and of friendship among women against a background of the exotic setting of Italy and its artistic environment. The first chapter immediately piqued my interest, and I expected to immerse myself in the back and forth port ...more
Dec 06, 2011 Ariel rated it it was amazing
Make sure you clear your schedule before picking up this book, because you won't want to put it down. Kay's debut novel is a riveting trip through Florence, and so much more. As we follow Marina through her present-day life as a single mother in the Hudson Valley and her unforgettable experiences in Florence 15 years before, we see how a series of understandable decisions can result in almost unforgivable consequences. Kay gently rips the seams of the overlapping circles of women's lives: our re ...more
Laurie Treacy
Jan 05, 2012 Laurie Treacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
The author made Florence come alive in my eyes and I was floored by the intricate art of gilding. With the loving ways the town and the art is skillfully portrayed, it is so obvious the author must treasure these things since her fondness is evident in every passage. I liked how the book was split into two sections, the 'before' and 'after' as we witness a young girl become a woman. The Gilder is a thoroughly absorbing read and its characters, lush scenery and classic art will remain with you lo ...more
Hannah Chun
May 22, 2012 Hannah Chun rated it it was amazing
The journey of a young woman is chronicled, not just her travels to and from the richly illustrated city of Florence, but her evolution from wide-eyed ingenue to an older artisan carrying the weight of a secret, a mistake and a betrayal. What resonates clearly amidst the glory that is Florence is the truly human dilemmas facing the student gilder and the emerging woman, seeking to find her career as the direction of her identity unfolds. Kathryn Kay takes us on an artistic pilgrimage to the plac ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing
If you like Florence, Italy, this book will take you there. The characters are complicated and Marina the main character is back in Florence after 15 years to repair the damage created years ago as a young woman finding her way. This was presented to me as "woman's lit", friendship, seduction, betrayal etc, but I found it hard to put down. Its about relationships, but Kathryn Kay's descriptions of Florence are icing on the cake. Take the trip, I think you'll like it. M
Feb 09, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
ah florence.....firenze! meandering cobbled alleyways and at every turn a new story unfolds. the prose stays soft and elegant like a botticello and the character development is so gradual that it keeps the reader engaged. the layers of gold leaf and the layers of betrayal and youthful risk taking intermingle with the steady bistro dinners that keep the friends {headed for a collision} seemingly balanced. yet, all is not what it seems to be or ever is in life.....
Karen Van
Dec 07, 2011 Karen Van rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down -What a great read! I absolutely loved the story, the romantic setting in Florence, and the way the relatable characters walked a fine line between friendship and love. The author left me wanting more chapters!
Kristi Lewis
Apr 05, 2016 Kristi Lewis rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! I got hooked and it was hard to put down. I fell in love with Italy when I went there about 10 years ago and Florence was one our favorite places. It was fun to read about an American going there to live and learn her craft, the couple she became friends with and how their lives changed from events and 1 mistake that changed all their lives. The twists and turns that Marina's world takes and the lies she tells her daughter to keep from telling her of her father. There i ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Sara rated it it was ok
Light, Underdeveloped, contemporary

I would place this novella well into the light fiction category.

Marina is a Gilder; she learned her trade of gilding gold in Italy as an apprentice. The gilding process is interesting and young Marina is lucky to have attained an apprentice position. All is well and fine in Italy until Marina starts hanging out with Thomas and Sarah. Two is company and three’s a crowd, Sarah and Thomas are married. Marina loves Sarah, loves her friendship, and perhaps even has
Jasmine Marie {#thebookishmama}
For more reviews from the bookish mama, please click here.

I didn't know what to expect coming into this book. I have always wanted to travel to Europe and Italy in particular so when I read the blurb, I was definitely interested as an armchair traveler. The author, Kathryn Kay, spent five years living in Florence, Italy post-college where she studied restoration and gilding. She fills this story with so many intricate details about Florence and gilding that sometimes it is very easy to think tha
Samantha Janning
Jul 12, 2012 Samantha Janning rated it really liked it
I received a copy of The Gilder in exchange for an honest review. I will be honest – at first glance, I wasn’t real excited to read this book. Both the cover and the title were a bit on the boring side for me, but that’s why we can’t judge on image, right? I ended up really enjoying this book. The main character is Marina Nesmith, an art restorer who on the outside seems to have a pretty terrific life. But Marina has been carrying around a secret for too many years – and one that is about to cat ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Lori rated it liked it
I am an armchair traveler and I am crazily attracted to books that take place in England, France and/or Italy. So I jumped up and down to accept The Gilder for review. And while I enjoyed The Gilder, I didn't love it the way I hoped I would.

Let's start with the good. First, the cover. It's just gorgeous. I love the vibrant red of the door and shutters, I love the flowers and vines draped across the building. It is just so European; it speaks to me and makes me want to pick up the book and delve
Jan 26, 2012 Nora-adrienne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
The Gilder
By Kathryn Kay
Copyright January 2012
Publisher Kensington Fiction

In Marina Nesmith's skilled hands, even the most tarnished picture frame or objet d'art can be made perfect once again. Her life, too, seems flawless, at least on the surface. But more and more, Marina is conscious of what she lacks--someone to share her joys and sorrows with, confidence in the decisions she's made, and the courage to tell her teenage daughter, Zoe, the truth about her father.
Then Marina is invited to ret
Dec 29, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it
As a young adult Marina goes to Florence to further her art of gilding, hoping to learn from a master in a place where the art was created and perfected. Living in Florence she meets and befriends Sarah and Thomas who become her foster family and yet she also fosters deeper feelings toward Sarah, feelings that are unsettling. Those feelings are abruptly forgotten about when Marina’s confusing actions and the results of those actions send her scurrying out of Florence and away from her newfound l ...more
Nancy Narma
Jan 19, 2012 Nancy Narma rated it really liked it
“A Golden Story You’ll Enjoy”

Marina had always been surrounded by the arts. Her Mother owns a gallery and was not surprised when young Marina showed great talent. Marina had dreamt about a trip to Florence, Italy for eight years, only to have her thirst for knowledge intensified when her Mother gave her a copy of Life Magazine featuring the devastating floods and the throngs of young people who came from all over the world to help retrieve and hopefully restore the masterpieces which suffered da
Book of Secrets ☕
Jan 10, 2012 Book of Secrets ☕ rated it it was amazing
As a young woman, Marina Nesmith traveled to Florence to study gilding. She immersed herself in the beauty of the city and its culture. It’s there that she meets a photographer named Thomas and his wife Sarah. The close relationship that forms between them is complex, and Marina is especially confused by her feeling toward Sarah. One day a rash mistake changes Marina’s life forever. Instead of hurting Sarah with the truth, Marina flies back to the United States, where she builds lie upon lie to ...more
Romancing the Book
Jan 17, 2013 Romancing the Book rated it really liked it
Reviewed by: Robin
Book provided by: Publisher
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

Ever have one of those moments when you think it would be easier on everyone to make up a story to glamorize your life. In this beautiful yet emotional story by Kathryn Kay about a Gilder we find that eventually the past does catch up with the present.

Marina Nesmith had a knack of taking picture frames and art and doing what is called gilding to take the tarnish away and making them shine and shimmer once
Donna Hatridge
Nov 26, 2011 Donna Hatridge rated it really liked it
I received this book free from Kensington publishers. The book is scheduled for release in January 2012.
The author Kathryn Kay spent five years living in Florence Italy and it shows in this book. She describes so clearly the streets, houses, churches and cemeteries that you feel as if you are actually there. In this book we are taken back to when Marina was 22, young impressionable and wanting more than anything to study and improve her gilding under master artist. We get to see how her time and
Jan 22, 2012 Pat rated it really liked it
I have been lucky enough to travel to Florence twice. The descriptions Marina gave of the streets, restaurants, shops and of course the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo were fascinating. As was her choice of career. How wonderful to bring old damaged articles back to life and then gild them!! A review I read said the characters we're complicated. Oh, were they ever! I vacillated between admiration for a young woman raised as an unwanted child, going across the world to seek out her dreams, and immedi ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jan 06, 2012 Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, europe, 2012
I was very torn about this book. It's a quick read and the story sounded really good from the blurb. I loved that the book took place in Italy. The setting was definitely intriguing. And I really liked the storyline about Marina trying to come to terms with what happened between her and Thomas even though he was no longer around to make ammends for his own mistakes. I think that struggle was really well written and is relatable for a lot of people.

I liked parts of it definitely but didn't like t
Mar 27, 2013 Linda rated it it was ok
Shelves: italy
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 kn ...more
Julie Barrett
Feb 21, 2012 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing

The Gilder by Kathryn Kay
craftsman who works with gold and silver to artistically cover an object as in the gold leaf process.
This book is about such a gilder in Florence. She left the US to go study abroad and sinks herself in deep in Florence. She has studied the museums, cathedrals, etc and runs into a photographer and his wife and meets up with them often. They help her not only get an apartment but a job in the field so she can learn. She does a lot of different jobs also and loves where sh
Jan 06, 2016 Alice rated it really liked it
For anyone who has ever loved Florence, Kathryn Kay's novel The Gilder will take you back again, to streets and places you will remember through her protagonist's eye. A story that you think you know, will surprise you with Kay's skillful writing--the twists and turns of characters and plot.
The most fascinating part of this book for me is the conflict that arises--the secrets and lies, the confusion and boundaries of friendship.
Elizabeth Behrens
Apr 23, 2016 Elizabeth Behrens rated it liked it
I wasn't terribly impressed with this book. While I enjoyed the details about gilding and art history, that wasn't touched on enough throughout the book. Also, the main event that occurs in the middle of the story was quite predictable and was never defined as what it truly was. Instead there was a suggestion as that was what the event could have been, but it is simply dismissed. Not enough seriousness was placed on the main event. In addition, the ending was abrupt and could have been completed ...more
Ann Woodbury Moore
Nov 15, 2012 Ann Woodbury Moore rated it liked it
Single mother and craftswoman Marina Nesmith reluctantly returns to Florence, Italy, where she lived years before while learning her trade. It was a time of love and joy but also of lies and mistakes, largely due to Marina’s intense friendship with an American photographer and his wife. Marina must belatedly repair—and forgive—herself in order to make her life whole and help her teenage daughter. Florence is so evocatively portrayed, you’ll want to visit! Kay spent five years there, studying ant ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Cabuya rated it it was amazing
The characters of the Gilder stay with you after the book has been finished. Kay observes the vulnerability of her characters with sensitivity and intuition. They seem real and unresolved as most people are when choices are made, or made for them, while navigating and interacting with the world. This book should be recommended for discussion; it provides the opportunity for all of us to observe our own behavior and, of course, question what we would have done in a similar situation. One ends up ...more
Robyn Gibson
Jan 17, 2016 Robyn Gibson rated it it was amazing
I especially love books that are set in foreign countries. Florence is a beautiful place and I could just picture it by the way Kathryn Kay describes it. Loved the characters. Loved the story. I would give it more than five stars. Loved it!
Dec 05, 2011 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone, but particularly mothers, women & people who love to travel or who love the arts.
Kathryn Kay’s fascinating book, The Gilder, somehow manages to take its readers into a mother’s heart even as it transports us across cultural and gender boundaries. The Gilder’s main character, Marina, wanting to fulfill a lifelong desire to see Florence, Italy, finds herself caught up in a web of deceits and trickery, even as she begins a quest for love and self-discovery, and ultimately forgiveness. Kay begins by capturing her reader’s wanderlust right along with Marina's, and soon enough the ...more
Kathleen Kelly
Jan 05, 2012 Kathleen Kelly rated it really liked it
The Gilder tells the story of Marina Nesmith, an art restorer, and her adventures when she was younger when she lived in Florence Italy to learn the art of gilding. She became involved with a photographer and his wife. They all became good friends until one fateful day that changed Marina's life forever. Told in two different time frames, the younger Marina and the Marina who has a teenage daughter. Filled with romance, illicit passions and the colorful world of Italy. The author tells the story ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
A TRIUMPH! Witty and inspiring, The Gilder is a not-to-be-put-down novel of quandaries, complexities, and courage. Author Kathryn Kay kept me riveted from the first image to the last sentence with her frank look at how our choices surprisingly spiral into milestones. Florence is its own character without ever upstaging the suspense and romance of Marina, the protagonist. It’s a fresh perspective on ex-pats, artists, family, and the complexity of love. Kay keenly captures daily routines and naggi ...more
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I was born in 1953 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the third of six children and eldest daughter of an international businessman, and homemaker. Just before my fourth birthday we moved to England where I became a proper little British girl in my gray Macintosh and black Wellington boots. Although we moved a number of times in those early years between England, Germany, and the States, I have always consid ...more
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