Penguin: 416 pp., $17.99, ages 12 and up
King Henry the Eighth,
to six wives he was wedded.
One died, one survived,
two divorced, two beheaded.
If there's anyone in history who personifies the treacheries of marriage, it's King Henry VIII of England, who is best known for the beheadings he inflicted during a reign of nearly 38 years. What led to such a barbaric punishment for the sexual indiscretions of his betrothed is the central theme of "Gilt," which tells the fictionalized history of wife No. 5: Catherine Howard, "the...