A few years ago I read – no – I devoured historical fiction. Actually it was all I ever read. And of course, the Tutor Era was one of my favorite ones to dive in. Sadly, I haven’t read lots of Young Adult historical fiction, so when I got the chance to read Brazen I was excited!
Today, I have lots of goodies to share with you! I do have Katherine Longshore here with an absolutely amazing post about romance *swoon* and a short snipped of Brazen that I love so so much! Then, I’ll also share my thoughts about Brazen with you and then finally there will be a Giveaway!
See? Lot’s of good things for you
BRAZEN-ly Romantic by Katherine Longshore
I consider myself a hopeless romantic. I have a huge soft spot for rom coms (especially British ones—Four Weddings, anyone?), believe in the power of love and consider my husband a soulmate. But what makes a romance? Sex? Love? Kissing?
I think it has a lot to do with generosity. Thoughtfulness. Truth.
When I was in college, my boyfriend sweet-talked my landlord into letting him into my apartment on Valentine’s Day. I came home from work to discover my kitchen completely transformed—streamers and paper hearts festooned with love letters hanging from the ceiling and a single red rose in the center of the table. Probably one of the most romantic gestures I’ve ever encountered.
But romantic gestures come in all forms, shapes and sizes. My husband will sometimes bring me home one of those super-expensive dark chocolate bars—just because. Or he’ll spend a precious hour in London searching for the exact spot a historical event occurred because he wants to support my obsessive research.
Because I write historical fiction with strong romantic elements, I think about romance a lot. What makes a gesture, a kiss, a scene unreservedly romantic?
In BRAZEN, my characters (Mary Howard and Henry FitzRoy) are married at the age of fourteen and then kept separate, not allowed to consummate—or even form—a relationship. Their romance is measured in stolen moments, single kisses and hope. I feel like this forces them to be unabashedly (even brazenly) romantic, in order to make the most of it.
“I just…want to do what’s expected.” I try not to move my lips. Turn my face to the side so I don’t look at him directly. Because if I do, everyone around us will see how much I want him.
“Expectations aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.”
“Oh?” I smile, still pretending to study the far wall of the garden. “And what are the alternatives?”
“I am the king’s son but not expected to be like him. I am expected to be a scholar, but I am a better athlete. In the end, it doesn’t matter. My intellect will not change the world, and I will never be king, no matter how badly your father wants it.”
He knows of my father’s desire to have a Howard heir on the throne. My son. I finally look up into the face of the man who would help me make that happen, and a deluge of ice flows through me followed by the ignition of a fireball, thinking of what needs to precede the arrival of said heir.
“At the end of the day, my accomplishments, my striving to do what everyone else wants, don’t matter,” Fitz continues. “So I might as well just do what I want.”
“What if you want to break the rules?”
He no longer blushes like a boy. He looks me right in the eye, one corner of his mouth turned up.
“I suppose it would depend on which rules I’m breaking.”
I take a step closer, the tips of our shoes almost touching, and raise my face to his. I can smell the leather of his riding breeches, still horsey and green from the road; the wet, woolen odor of his cloak; the bright, sunny warmth of his linen shirt.
I can almost taste him.
His gaze moves to my lips, his head bowed.
We are in a public place.
“We shouldn’t be here,” I whisper. But I don’t move.
“I am right where I want to be,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if there is anyone else around. It doesn’t matter if I can touch you or kiss you or”—he coughs—“put my hands in your hair or on your breast or just hold your hand in mine. It doesn’t matter if the space between us is an inch or the length of the room or nonexistent. I belong with you. Wherever you are, I’m complete.”
What’s the most brazenly romantic gesture you’ve ever experienced?
by Katherine Longshore
Pub. Date: June 12, 2014 by Viking Juvenile
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?
Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever. Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.
Where you can find Katherine
Danny’s Love Fest
Brazen was absolutely wonderful and perfectly genuine historical fiction, that didn’t try to embellish, but rather earnestly showed how living with the Tutors might have been especially for a woman.
Mary was an amazing young girl, grown up in a world where woman don’t count for much, where woman are not taken seriously and where her own mother was a rather cruel example of a woman. Being married to the kings bastard son when she’s only 14 years old, she must grow up quite fast.
But, being 14 in this era means definitely something else than being 14 today and Katherine wonderfully captured this voice and delivered a perfectly believable young girl living in Tutor Era.
We follow along with the downfall of Anne Boleyn’s quite closely from Mary’s POV, which I honestly found absolutely fascinating. Anne Boleyn is a rather alluring historical figure.
So here we have Mary, married with 14 alone at a court which will turn out to be a truly explosive and dangerous place to be, but still a girl who dreams of love and romance. Mary and Fitz are forbidden to be truly together, but Mary is determined to get to know the boy she’s married to and even hopes to fall in love for him.
The romance was wonderful, heart warming and adorable, yet it didn’t completely take over the story. It was a perfect driving force for Mary’s development.
The focus is more on the girl Mary who tries to find her own voice, and to he her own person and not being owned by the men in her life. I loved the subtle way she rebelled and found her own way, it showed her bravery and yes it also showed how brazen she could be if she must. I fell hard for this girl and I was rooting for her happiness.
As much as it hurts to say this, but the ending was just right, it made sense and there was no other way o deliver this story. It might not be my perfect ending, but it still was an ending that satisfied me.
This is a must read for all fans of historical fiction, and if you are a fan of the Tutor era, even more! Brazen left me again with a hunger for historical fiction, so I will definitely go and check the other books in this series from Katherine Longshore
- 6/2/2014- Literary Exploration– Review
- 6/2/2014- The Anne Boleyn Files– Guest Post
- 6/3/2014- Romantic Reads and Such– Interview
- 6/4/2014- Page Turners– Review
- 6/5/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Guest Post
- 6/6/2014- Parajunkee’s View– Interview
- 6/9/2014- Gone With The Words– Review
- 6/10/2014- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview
- 6/11/2014- Bewitched Bookworms– Guest Post and Review
- 6/12/2014- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post
- 6/13/2014- Mundie Moms– Review
- 6/13/2014- Fiktshun– Interview
- 1 winner will receive all 3 books signed International.
- 2 winners will receive signed copies of Brazen US Only
So with this, I want to repeat Katherine’s Question and I#m excited to read your answers!