Review: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Series: Stand-Alone
Published by Viking
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Tudors
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? 
This book was so good! I flew through it!

Here we have the the story of Mary Howard who finds herself married to Henry Fitzroy at the young age of fourteen. They barely even know each other and haven't even seen each other since they were (even younger) children. Even after the marriage ceremony, they barely come into contact with each other and Mary is left wondering what it's like to be in love and even what it is like to be kissed.

Eventually, however, these two do get to have various encounters. These meetings are very important in that they do get the opportunity to get to know each other and eventually, truly, fall in love.

I really liked Mary from the very beginning and I really wanted her to be happy. I had no prior knowledge of her or Fitz so I had no idea what to expect from their story. I was nervous, however, that Fitz would be too much like his father and that this wouldn't be much of the love story that I was hoping for Mary. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. Fitz was a great guy and totally sweet and loyal to Mary, just as she deserved.

So I totally love this period in history. I am enthralled by the Tudors, the Boelyns, the Howards, all of it. I completely at this story up and it was very satisfying. Longshore does a wonderful job in giving details of court-life and letting us feel as though we are right in the midst of it. We actually get to see a lot of the Henry/Anne drama which I enjoyed, but it didn't revolve around them, so if your tired of their story, you can still easily enjoy this one.

The length of this book worried me at first, but I like I said before, I flew through it. The story is broken up into pretty short and quick chapters that all tell a different scene and different days which keeps the pace going quickly and leaving no dull moments. Longshore also does a excellent job in helping the reader keep the many characters and events straight, which I appreciated.

The first half of the novel focuses on Mary and her friendship with Marge and Margaret, which was interesting, but I was really anticipating some Fitz scenes, which finally came in the second half. I liked all of the characters though and their little group of the three girls, Fitz, and Hal. We truly get to know all of these friends and its fun to read the scenes with all of them together.  My favorite part of the novel was watching Mary go from a young girl who thinks she is "just a Howard" to a young woman who knows that she is her own person and can't be defined by her parents, her title, or the king.

The only thing holding me back from giving Brazen a full five stars is that it didn't quite produce full emotions in me. There were scenes that should have had me crying, or at least choked up and reallyfeeling but I didn't quite get to that point. I wasn't 100% invested in the love story or the characters like usually am with my five star books.

This book definitely satisfied my craving for some Tudor fiction and I will be eagerly awaiting some time to read Gilt and Tarnish. 

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