The Gilded years is a compelling, fictional story based on a true and fascinating African-American woman, Anita Hemmings, who posed as a white student in order to enroll in Vassar, a prestigious women’s college, during the late 1800’s.
Anita Hemmings succeeded in her goal, of blending in with the college crowd, until her senior year when Lottie Taylor, the richest and most popular girl in school became her roommate. Lottie Taylor drew people to herself like a magnet. Anita knew that her days of being invisible were numbered, and that staying vigilant was crucial in order to keep her secret. But life with Lottie was infectious and exciting, that not even Anita could resist stepping into the limelight with her until pieces of Anita’s background were unearthed, and she found herself backpedaling.
The Gilded Years tore at my heart as I walked with Anita through her trials, feeling her guilt, shame, and humiliation. Life can be unfair, and people terribly judgmental. In 1897, Anita Hemmings felt the sting of that cruelty first hand.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I love it when a writer can make history come alive; Karin Tanabe is such an author. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Gilded Years and would highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. The author’s characters are well-drawn, their dialogue realistic and the story captivating.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 stars ~Review by Peg Glover