Author: Katherine Longshore
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 4.13
Published: June 12th, 2014
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?
I am so happy to be alive today. By today I mean in the 21st century where women have a right to vote, a chance at making something out of ourselves, a chance at freedom, a chance at love. Mary never stood a chance, and all she had was luck at her side. At least in this book she did. Katherine Longshore paints us an honest yet hopeful picture of 16th century England. To me it sounds like a horrible place to be at but it does give us a great setting for an enthralling tale.
Mary Howard is only a daughter until she marries a Duke, and not only just a Duke but the bastard son of the King of England. Suddenly she is thrown head on unto the King and Queen's court where secrets, lies, and treachery lie abundant. Mary faces it all at first with the heart and mind of a child. She is not ready to be a wife to a boy she barely knows, nor is she ready to be a Duchess. However Mary is just a pawn in a very elaborate game which only the high and mighty King might ever hope to win. Women are accessories, chips to be bargained away for the right price, you can only hope that fate is on your side.
To be completely honest the beginning of this novel is incredibly slow. But after you stick to it for a little bit... Yeap, it is still slow as hell. But then again if you are into historical fiction with a tint of romance then you would already be used to this. If you are not into these sorts of reads you have been warned. The thing that kept me going on was Mary for the most part, and the writing. Mary is this quiet girl who is very conflicted with the choices that were thrust upon her. She tries to do the right thing and honor the people who deserve it. In the grand scheme of the novel Mary was like a breath of fresh air. Plus the second half of the novel is ridiculously good and scandalous. People start getting killed left and right and Katherine Longshore starts pulling at your heart strings... really the second half of the novel is where it's at!
What makes it difficult as well is that Mary Fitzroy is not a very hyped character in history so she also doesn't have that going for her. But the Mary Fitzroy Katherine Longshore brought to life is a girl worth getting to know, a girl who believed in doing things right and in being herself, no matter how much fiction there is to her character it still brings this historical girl back to life.
Also there are SO many characters! Half of the time I would have to go back and figure out who the hell we were talking about. Half of them don't have much of a personality so they all start to blend together. All the characters that actually matter are very distinctive so the rest are just puppets that keep the plot moving along.
"I don't want to say yes, but I do. I don't want to like the way his hand feels in mine. But I do.
I want to fall in love with him.
But I don't."
The romance was very slow as well. Mary and Fitz married very young so I understand the author's intention of building on their romance and taking it slow but it took them a whole year to actually kiss. It is slow and painful, but when they actually fall in love it is beautiful... and painful. Ritz comes to grow on you but it takes at least 200 pages for this to happen.
So yes, Brazen is slow but after you get into the story and it's characters it will go by rather fast. It is interesting and I like learning about "history" in a fun sort of environment, you know as much as you CAN learn. Something not to be missed is the author's note at the end of the book. The author takes her time and tells you what happens to the characters after her tale (for the most part not good things, but come on it is England in the 1600s).
Brazen is one of my first historical romances. Usually I don't lean towards these kinds of reads but learning about Mary Fitzroy was worth the time you put into it. I think I might actually pick up another historical romance novel, but only if it is written by Katherine Longshore.