Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Monday, June 2, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Brazen
by Katherine Longshore
to be published by Viking
on June 3, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?

My take: I love historical fiction, and these Tudor-era books by Katherine Longshore are some of my favorites in the YA age range. This is the third book if you read them in order of publication, but if you haven't started these, you might want to read them in historical order. Tarnish -- probably my favorite of the three -- takes place from 1523-1525 and features a teenaged Anne Boleyn and her introduction to court. Brazen takes place between 1533-1536 and is about Mary Howard, the young wife of Henry VIII's illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, but also features Anne Boleyn, now queen. Gilt takes place from 1539-1542 and is told from the perspective of Kitty Tylney, a childhood friend of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard (a cousin of Mary Howard.)

While it's hard for anyone -- real or fictional -- to compete with the fierce, wily intelligence of Anne Boleyn as portrayed in Tarnish, Mary Howard Fitzroy in Brazen is a character who breaks your heart in a completely different way. Mary is the child of an unhappy marriage and longs to love and be loved. When she's married to the king's bastard son at the age of fourteen or fifteen, she's shy and unsure. But -- fortunately or unfortunately -- the king has forbidden the two of them from consummating their marriage, so the couple is kept at a distance, both virtual and emotional. Both of them have psychological scars -- she from the competing machinations of her parents, he from the hot and cold affections of his father -- and it was sweet to watch them form a bond that's first tentative, then very close.

I love the way these books emphasize the way that most everyone in the Tudor court -- but especially the women -- served as pawns for the king's passing whims, desires, and schemes. If you've watched The Tudors on Showtime or read anything about this period, you know that intrigue abounds -- crossing and double-crossing, secret liaisons, and tragic endings. (If you've watched the show, just know that the writers took some liberties with Henry Fitzroy's story in season one.)  Speaking of that, I love that Katherine Longshore's books come with a detailed afterword in which she details which parts of her story are documented and which she had to imagine.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend these books. If you haven't read them, I say start with Tarnish -- both the book and the audiobook are fantastic. If you've read Tarnish, then you'll love the fact that Brazen is its own story while also continuing to follow Anne Boleyn ill-fated stint as queen.

15 comments:

  1. Great review. I love historical fiction and definitely want to try this series after reading your review. Sounds interesting.

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  2. I've not heard of these books, but I'm not really into historical fiction. I do want to give them a try and read at least one this year. Great review! The books sound pretty interesting :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  3. I love historical fiction books that focus on Tudor England, but I haven't read many outside of those that Philippa Gregory has written. Longshore's books sound like a fantastic new starting point in fiction about this era. And, you know, I actually don't think I've heard about Mary Howard. I'll take your advice and read them in chronological order. :)

    Wonderful review, Jen!

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  4. I'm not a hot to trot reader for historical fiction but I do believe this author lives near or in my city so hey...I should support the local authors right? And yes...sometimes I like my heart being broken so I'll be sure to grab the first one then. =)

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  5. I'm reading this one next and am so excited. I don't read much historical fiction, and haven't read Tarnish, so I hope I'll fall in love with the story and then have to read the other books by Longshore. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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  6. I am SO glad you liked this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover of this book. Reading about the Tudor era is interesting. The king was sooo messed up, and you are right the women were always his pawns.

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  7. Love the cover. It's not my kind of book though. Great review, Jen.

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  8. I was never particularly interested in this series, since historicals are a hit/miss for me, but I'm rethinking that now. This one sounds really interesting and you've gotten me curious. I might pick this series up next time when I'm in a historical fiction mood! :)

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  9. I'm glad you enjoyed this book as I am hoping to read it this month. I really loved Gilt and Tarnish, so I am excited to read about Mary Howard. There's always so much drama with the Tudor court…looking forward to reading it!

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  10. I don't read a lot of historical fiction books but this is one I've had my eye on for a while which is why I am so glad to see that you enjoyed this! I actually had no idea that there were books that came before this (although I am guessing this isn't actually part of a series) and I am really curious about Anne's character.

    Lovely review, Jen!!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  11. Sounds good if only I liked HF, lol. Great review though for real, jen

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  12. This looks awesome! I love historical fiction, especially when it's YA. It makes them so much more fun to read. The Tudor Era is so interesting too, especially since King Henry VIII was CRAZY!

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  13. Okay. I really, really have got to read this series! I love historical fiction and these all sound so good.

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  14. I stumbled upon this cover by accident on Facebook and I was totally taken in! I love historical fiction and love love love the Tudor era. I really need to get out and buy at least one of these...

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  15. This is my favorite series based on this time period, too. Oh, and I do love it on audio, too. I loved the liberties Longshore took with Henry Fitzroy and Mary Howard's story...it gives me hope that they had at least *some* semblance of happiness, ya know?

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