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Gilded Dreams*

Odd, Unsatisfying Book

This is an odd book that I’m not quite sure what to make of. I don’t read many historical romance novels set in the United States or during the Gilded Age, so this book intrigued me. Now having finished it, I can say I just found it odd. I didn’t quite buy the setup, that this relatively inexperienced young woman would seek out her friend for training on how to become a courtesan because she no longer wanted to be dependent on the largesse of her brother (who had attempted to sell her off in marriage to a despicable man). Why would such a young woman want to go from depending on one man to depending on several? She is definitely naive to many of the ways of the word, though not innocent. Her friend, Gabrielle, nearly turns the request down but agrees to educate her on the ways of becoming a high-class call girl. After this decision, the book just seems to wander somewhat aimlessly for the bulk of it, without much point. Yes, the young woman meets a friend of Gabrielle’s, Declan, and they hit it off, enjoying each other’s company even though he has somewhat of a reputation himself. That relationship between the heroine and Declan had strange fits and starts, and I never quite bought that they developed an affection for each other. Just a strange book that in the end was quite unsatisfying.