The Gilded Years by: Karin Tanabe

The Gilded YearsThe Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Floating between both worlds, to be treated as white. To know that it’s like to leave behind your identity as a Negro and be confused about whether you are doing so willingly or unwillingly. To understand the guilt that can come with securing a better life by passing. The shame. Do you lose your integrity to choose to life as white? To deny your race to pursue a career and education you work hard for?

Anita Hemmings is living her dream or her worst nightmare attending an all white women’s college of Vassar College in the turn of the century. In keeping her secret of her race, she is able to attend this prestigious college and to live her and her family’s dream of an higher education. It starts with excitement of the first day of college. Meeting new friends, forging your future, making a difference. All at a time where the world was changing. Anita is rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor. A young woman who comes from one of the most richest families during that time. Lottie is taken with Anita, her poise and beauty. In some ways, Lottie uses Anita. Beautiful and powerful love to surround themselves with beautiful and influential.

Their friendship grows during the years at Vassar. When Lottie discovers Anita’s secret, it changes everything.

After I read, I immediately googled Anita’s story on the internet. It is fascinating and to see her picture gives this Historical fiction more depth. It does a wonderful job in depicting the prejudices and even the fear of being found out. Was it honest of Anita to hide her identity? Did it matter? Is it a matter of integrity? It does cause you to ponder how fear plays a role in the integrity of the choices we make.

A Special Thank You to Atria Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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