Brazen by Katherine Longshore

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Married to the King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy (Fitz), at just fourteen, Mary Howard has long been used as a political pawn by her family. But, though it is a marriage of political advantage, Mary finds herself falling in love with her husband. While she should be happy that her arranged marriage resulted in love, the teenagers are not allowed to be alone together or to consummate the marriage. What’s more, Henry VIII’s court is constantly shifting, with nobles falling out of favor as quickly as they’d risen. If Mary wants to be with Fitz, she must navigate her way through the endless court turmoil, shifting alliances, and, above all, stay in the good graces of the king.

As I’ve mentioned many posts before, I love Tudor fiction. So I fully admit to being completely biased toward this book. It is, though, really awesome and a unique point of view on the Tudor drama. Normally, Tudor books are told from the point of view of one of Henry VIII’s wives, or Henry himself. Margaret Howard is merely a minor Boleyn cousin married to Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy (Fitz). Choosing this narrator gives the reader the advantage of seeing all the Henry wife drama play out from a distance, as well as spinning a new story in the Tudor court. Longshore also paints an interesting characterization of Anne Boleyn — one in which she definitely has stubborn qualities, but does not deserve her fate. I appreciate this rendering, as I don’t believe Anne to be the villain others portray her to be. If you’re a fan of romantic drama, court intrigue, or just historical fiction in general, definitely give this one a shot. Be sure to read Tarnish first, though, as it depicts Anne Boleyn’s rise to power and thus a more in-depth picture of the Tudor court.

Rating: 5/5 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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