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The Reckless Oath We Made

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fiction (2019)
Zee is nobody's fairy tale princess. Almost six-foot, with a redhead's temper and a shattered hip, she has a long list of worries: never-ending bills, her beautiful, gullible sister, her five-year-old nephew, her housebound mother, and her drug-dealing boss.

Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and a code of honor. Two years ago the voices he hears called him to be Zee's champion. Both shy and autistic, he's barely spoken to her since, but he has kept watch, ready to come to her aid.

When an abduction tears Zee's family apart, she turns to the last person she ever imagined--Gentry--and sets in motion a chain of events that will not only change both of their lives, but bind them to one another forever.

A provocative love story between a tough Kansas woman on a crooked path to redemption and the unlikeliest of champions, from the New York Times bestselling author of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

436 pages, Hardcover

First published August 20, 2019

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About the author

Bryn Greenwood

5 books3,944 followers
BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the NYT bestselling author of The Reckless Oath We Made, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Lie Lay Lain, and Last Will. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,864 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
July 17, 2019
“My lady. If thou wilt allow me to help thee,” he said. When I didn’t answer, he got down on one knee, like he meant to propose to me. “’Tis my honor to carry thee whither thou desirest.”

It has taken me so long to organise my thoughts on this book. You know when you're just so sure you're going to love a book? When you start reading and it doesn't immediately grab you, but there's time, and you read some more, and it's just not everything you were hoping for, but you push on and finish it and look back and think: that was decent, but I expected so much more?

Thing is, I loved Greenwood's All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. I thought it was a raw, honest and horrible portrait of abuse. Maybe you will like The Reckless Oath We Made more if you viewed the author's previous book as some kind of taboo romance. It wasn't that for me. Which was why I felt surprised when this book turned out to be a romance. The other aspects of the plot felt like nothing more than trimmings around the romance.

One thing I didn't mind - but it is worth mentioning because many people won't like it - is the way Gentry speaks in Middle English and believes he is a knight. Look at the opening quote I used and note that a good portion of this book is all written like that. But I do think it makes sense. Gentry is autistic and very dedicated to his knightly code of honor. He spends a lot of his time (and a long slow chunk of this book) doing historical reenactments out in the woods.

The other half of this love story is Zhorzha, who Gentry is determined to save. When Zee's sister goes missing - possibly kidnapped - Gentry is the only person she feels she can turn to.

Their relationship is slow burn, natural, and heart-wrenching at times, but I wish I'd known I was heading into more of a straight-up romance before I started this one. I was expecting something more hard-hitting, different, and emotionally challenging, like the author's first book.

Maybe All the Ugly and Wonderful Things just set the bar too high.

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Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29.1k followers
August 11, 2019
Before I get started, I just want to say how fortunate I feel to have been contacted by Bryn Greenwood herself and offered an ARC for this book earlier in the year. I truly loved and adored All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

So much, in fact, that I recommended it to my grandmother...who had just recently started the switch to audio books after experiencing failing eyesight...and who scolded me like a child afterward for not warning her about some of the "racier" (her word) scenes she had to listen to. Out loud. With a nurse present.


But hey, payback's a bitch, Grandma. And that's what you get for trying to ruin my life by recommending A Dog's Purpose and The Art of Racing in the Rain. AKA, all those books I will NEVER read because I don't believe in forced suffering and grief.

But I digress.

I spent pretty much all afternoon and evening reading this yesterday...


...And I have a feeling this is going to be a very polarizing book in terms of how much people like it. How much people..."get it."

Now, I am not holding myself aloft and claiming to be one of those "get it" people, mind you. In fact, as I write this review, I still haven't quite decided how I completely feel about this book and what/how I want to rate it.

All I can say is this: Don't come into this book expecting another ATUAWT. Because this book is VERY different.

Like ATUAWT, this book is told from many different POVs (and I love how Greenwood writes this way) and does share several common themes, i.e., drugs and their impact (or assistance, depending on your viewpoint), childhood abuse/neglect, and an unconventional relationship (several of them, actually). But other than that, this book doesn't have the same vibe or "feeling" at all.

Which at first annoyed me. But as I reflect now, I think, well good. Cause if she had tried to replicate that previous work, people would talk shit...and let's be honest, people will probably talk shit about this book too.

It's slow-moving.
It deals with many polarizing issues.
And one of its main characters talks in Middle English and hears voices.

It's different.

A topic this book also touched on - which I was almost bouncing in my seat to read about - is hoarding.

I am fascinated by hoarding. FASCINATED.

I will basically inhale anything about the subject and I have probably seen almost every episode of Hoarding ever released. Probably because, 1) I think I am inherently scared of becoming a hoarder myself (legitimately) and, as a result, have basically become a minimalist (although I wouldn't really call myself a "minimalist" in the more recent, trendy sense), and 2) Because the psychology of it just GETS to me.


And 3)...I just really get off watching people clean and organize shit.

But anyway.

The effects of hoarding on Zee, her sister, her mother, and how it truly affected and influenced the trajectory of Zee (and her sister's) life was truly compelling, in my opinion.

Because this is an ARC, I don't want to get too much into the details. But this book will definitely make you think about certain things...

How our childhoods truly affect who we are.
How we treat/manipulate/use/judge/accept/reject other people.
How we can be blindly loyal to people whom don't deserve it.
How there is a thin line between being mentally ill and yet still mentally capable...and who decides where anyone falls, anyway...

At the end of the day, I will read anything Greenwood writes.
And oh, #TeamGentry.
All the way.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,204 reviews40.8k followers
February 27, 2022
Are you the junk of the unconventional love stories with irregular, different characters you’ve never seen at your regular romance novels?

Have you ever felt in love with a book and to express your feelings about it, have you written a song for it and sung it at the karaoke bar covering your ears not to hear boos!

I’ve done it after I’ve read “All the Beautiful and Ugly Things” and this time instead of writing a new song, I’ll sing “can’t take my eyes off you” till my throat hurts and my neighbors bribe me with brownies to stop because literally I couldn’t take my eyes off this book. IT’S SO FANTASTIC!

And last question: did you fan of multi POVed narration and dysfunctional family stories like me? (I had still exception for too much POVS when it comes to thrillers but at the fictions they are so welcomed by me.)

If all of your answers are BIG YES! Buy this book. Read this book. Have a great intellectual time of your life and sing it “Now I've had the time of my life! No, I never felt like this before” and then make the moves of the last dance part of Dirty Dancing movie!

Yes!!! I didn’t make my happy dance since I ate at In& Out burgers but this book made me wear my dance shoes again.

Let’s make a brief introduction of the story and its amazingly written, developed, created characters!

Zee a. k. a Lady Zhorza is drug mule. (Please read the rest of the story before getting judgmental!) She had a terrible accident, left a painful limp at her leg and she’s using some her pot to heal herself! (So far she’s looking more like a standard Californian people)

She doesn’t have a best time of her life because her sister has been kidnapped by the inmates from the prison she’s been doing a volunteer job. (Their father was an inmate once upon a time which may have affected her carrier decision!) But the police officers think she might have helped the inmates to escape. The worst of it, Zee is evicted from her house, sacked from her waitressing job and having a big fight with her hoarder mother who has no intention to leave her house and has real health issues with her body which is getting heavier each day. And she had to tale her of her nephew who is hysteric because of his mom’s ansence.

And her different version of literally KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR GENTRY steps out to keep her promise to make her safe no matter what happens to him. He’s SWEETEST, MOST ADORABLE, LIKABLE character that I’ve read so far.

What kind of attributes made him different and eccentric from the other characters were:
He is autistic. He thinks he is real knight to protect his lady. He talks perfect Middle English. He hears three different voices: Gaiwen, Hildegard and a witch who are having different kind of opinions about his lady.

This book contains a remarkable, beautiful love story and it is a great novel questioning the thin line between losing your marbles completely after suffering through big tragedy or gathering pieces of yourself and creating toughen up new version of you! It’s not about being strong or weak person. Everybody can lose themselves and restrict the borders of a normal mind. Sometimes it could be easier to trap your mind in a different happy place at you’ve created! I completely enjoyed the perspective of the writer.

If I could adore someone’s brain cells and wish to have at least half of them, it would be Bryn Greenwood’s remarkable grey cells and her extraordinary gifted writing skills. She can make the words bleed, bend, curve, and use them rip our hearts out, make us blurt out hysterical laughs with her evil genius and beautiful mind and put our hand on our throbbing hearts with the thrill about unknown future of your favorite characters

I was about to give four stars because Middle English parts of the book a little slowed me down and gave me hard times to fully perceive the meanings of each sentence correctly and also which gave me headaches like the days I’ve been reading long Shakespearean plays. But I enjoyed this slow pacing, incredible story so much.

The writer didn’t give us too many choices! You can wholeheartedly love this or you can hate everything about it. There is no midpoint here! So I luckily enjoyed every part of it, even it gave me some headaches, it’s worth it!

Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
November 14, 2019
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST FICTION 2019! what will happen?

i gave this one four stars because i didn’t like it quite as much as All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, but that’s a pretty hard book to top. my 1-5 ratings are starbitrary, but my words are all encouraging you to read this book.

this is literary fiction that has put one fist in the romance barrel and one fist in the crime fiction barrel, grabbed the most interesting bits and made a whole new thing outta them.

i do not like romance novels, but i do like this. like atuawt, it’s a paradox of a love story; a couple both unlikely, but also—in greenwood’s deft hands—perfectly matched. zhorzha is a tall brassy redhead; a waitress who dabbles in light drug-running to support her hoarder mother and to pay off her own medical bills after a motorcycle accident has left her with chronic pain. gentry is neurodivergent, with the motor tics associated with autism and auditory hallucinations that manifest as three discrete advisors: hildegard, gawen, and the witch. oh yeah, and he’s also a knight. he sees the world through a medieval filter; speaking in middle english, handy with a sword, and loyally serving the lady zhorzha as her devoted champion, bound to her by the witch's prophecy before they even meet-cute:

As I came down the sidewalk, he stepped away from his truck and bowed to me. I will never forget what he said: ”My lady. Thy servant.”

I stopped, because there was nobody else he could be talking to, but I had no idea what he meant. He straightened up, but kept his eyes down.

“My lady. If thou wilt allow me to help thee,” he said. When I didn’t answer, he got down on one knee, like he meant to propose to me. “’Tis my honor to carry thee whither thou desirest.”

”Is this your truck?” I said, because I didn’t speak whither thou desirest.

it is not your typical love story, and the romance of it is the chivalric capital-r romance of the high medieval era, all wrapped up in a code of honor and duty and the chaste rescue of fair maidens until, ya know, it isn’t.

i had concerns that gentry’s knightly lingo was going to get old real fast, but i got used to it, and it somehow became natural to be reading a grit lit novel with this slight fantasy overlay, to the extent that she had me talking like gentry in my head. it helps that the voice is used in moderation—the POV moves around a lot, and gentry has fewer POV chapters than zee, but his descriptive passages are��� memorable.

My lady spake in a great dragon voice, all damped smoke and fury, and I feared for her. She wore her anger like a cloak of fire that burned none but herself.

it's a chimera of a book—hard to predict and hard to pin down, but bryn greenwood has A WAY and all you need to do is show up.

read this book the day it comes out, wait three days, and then wish me a happy birthday!

i loved All the Ugly and Wonderful Things so much that when i was asked to choose the store’s book club book for june, i said “HOW ‘BOUT WE DO THIS?” so we are.

and bryn sent us amazing bookplates and tattoos.

come to the book club, local booknerds!

i'm gonna write a review for this SOON, but for now, enjoy these photos of an amazing gift from bryn 'i make my own book schwag' greenwood:


me, singing a song about how excited i was to find this book in my mailbox.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Bryn Greenwood.
Author 5 books3,944 followers
August 25, 2020
The paperback edition is here! (8/25/20). To celebrate it, I'm sharing a bunch of notes and highlights, if you'd like to know more about how my brain works when I'm creating characters and stories.

(8/20/19) Here it is at last. My book is out in the world. It's a terrifying day, because something I spent so much time alone with is out of my hands. It's also an exciting day, because this is a book I want people to read. I want it to find the people who connect with it--my people.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,028 reviews2,539 followers
July 29, 2019
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was an amazing book. While I forget most books just weeks after I read them, that one really stuck with me. So I was thrilled to get an early look at Brynwood’s latest work.
Brynwood doesn’t pick easy topics or easy characters. Among other jobs, Zee is a drug mule. As the story opens, she’s bringing two suitcases of weed to her drug dealing boss. She’s traveling with her six year old nephew, because her sister is missing. Turns out, her sister, a prison volunteer has been taken hostage by two escapees. She’s also got a hoarder mom. Not much good in her life, except she’s got a knight in shining armor looking after her. Gentry is autistic and things of her as Lady Zhorza and he her knight. He speaks in Middle English and hears voices of Gaiwen, Hildegard and a witch. “Lady, I am thy daughter’s champion”, he tells her mother.
These are folks you care about so much it hurts. Everything is going wrong in Zee’s life, dominoes falling one after another. Her interactions with her mom really resonated with me. And Gentry is just so sweet. I’m not a fan of romance stories, but this is not a typical romance. It’s not a typical anything. It went places o just didn’t see coming. I was anxious the entire second half of the book, worried about what would happen to the characters. And sad to see it end, as I wanted to see further into the future of the characters. This is one I highly recommend.
My thanks to netgalley and G. P. Putnams’ Sons for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,286 reviews2,204 followers
August 25, 2019
2.5 stars.
A little too quirky, way over the top and a bit convoluted. The fairy tale nature of the story with an autistic man who thinks he’s a knight, mixed with drugs, a prison breakouts, the KKK, a plan gone wrong to free a character believed to be kidnapped, and a slew of other real life issues had me struggling to get through it, even with a bit of skimming which I freely admit to. Gentry’s Middle English drove me crazy after while, but I have to say he was one of my favorite characters, along with six year old Markus. Bottom line is that this was just not for me , even though so many readers loved it. You should read the reviews of those who loved it for a better understanding of what the book might be about.

I read this with my two book buddies, Esil and Diane . It was a rare occurrence that we differed so much, but I loved reading their perspectives.

I received an advanced copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
May 10, 2019
After reading All the Ugly and Wonderful Things I knew when I heard that Bryn Greenwood was about to release another book my face started doing this right here.........

I loved that book. Hard.
But now? I'm having a hard time choosing a favorite between that book and this one.

I have a problem though. I can rant for hours when I hate a book...but when I love it? I turn into a big old hot mess and can't word for nothing.

Here goes my rambling though. (And it's not really a synopsis of the book. You can read that yourself.)

I'm going to just tell you all the ways I'm in love with this book.
1. Bryn Greenwood's writing. This woman is one of the very few authors I read that just comes up with completely fresh new ideas. She has this gift of not falling for the usual tropes and I LOVE that. She writes real world to me...the endings aren't cookie cutter. Shit happens. You deal. You learn or you don't.
She also doesn't write perfect, gorgeous characters either. Her characters have flaws. They are not the typical book characters with wonderfully perfect bodies and easy lives.
Which leads me to number 2.

2. The female main character in this book. Zee aka my favorite female character in a book in years. This character is so real. She comes from a childhood where her dad spent almost a lifetime in prison and her mom is a hoarder who finally filled the house to the point to where Zee was left no option but to make it on her own. She isn't beautiful in the traditional sense. She even sells and partakes of few drugs. Her choices are not always the best. She does love her family though. I could be this girl. In fact I am in so many ways that we won't discuss on this review because I blab too much anyways.
The fact that I connected so well with this character totally brought this book to life in my head.

3. The main male character. I'm gonna admit..the first chapter from Gentry's viewpoint had me wondering how this book was going to vibe with me. He speaks old king's English...has voices that talks to him and thinks he is a k-night.
I should learn to just shut the fuck up and read because I loved this guy.

4. The whole storyline. I saw every single bit of this book inside my head. Does that make me crazy? Probably. Do I care? Not. It's rare when I can completely lose myself in a book and it happened here. I'm just so mad that I'm done reading it and I don't have any more pages in which to spend with these people.

Now for the wrap up. Is everyone going to love this book? Probably not. It's alright though...I love it enough for 342 people.

Booksource: Received a copy from the publisher. I would have and will buy a copy.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,818 reviews32.4k followers
November 13, 2019
4.25 stars

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I am so thankful I gave this book a second chance! Earlier this year, I was graciously contacted by the author and was provided a paperback arc. I couldn’t contain my excitement in getting to read The Reckless Oath We Made early, as her other book (ATUAWT) is one of my top favorite reads. When the time came to sit down and read the book, I couldn’t get into it. I tried really hard, but I wasn’t enjoying it, so I put it down for a few months.

Seeing as I couldn’t get into reading my physical copy, I picked up the audiobook and holy wow- it made ALL the difference for me. It has a full cast and is so well done. I can’t recommend the audio book enough, it was such an enjoyable listening experience. Now to the actual story…

The Reckless Oath We Made follows our main character Zee. Zee is not your typical heroine. None of the main characters are quite typical and I love that. Zee is a tall, red headed girl who has a lot of family issues. She’s going through a lot, and she has a real life knight in shining armor to save the day. Gentry.

Gentry has been called to protect Zee. He’ll do anything for her. Gentry talks like a knight and his voices tell him that Lady Zhorzha is his to protect and serve, for he is her champion. Gentry is autistic and chilverous. He’s not your typical hero but he’s pretty amazing. His chapters are voiced in medieval speak, and it took a second to get used to, but once I did, it was just him and it was perfect.

This book is different. It’s completely unconventional and unique and I loved it. Truly, I completely adored Gentry, Zee was amazing, and Marcus was the most adorable. There were so many great characters and it had a lot of different pov’s, which is helpful. Getting many different perspectives gives us a true look at the situation happening in this story.

This is not the kind of book I would normally pick up, but I will read anything this author writes. I love her voice and her compelling and original stories. This was unputdownable and an incredible read. Once again, I’ve got to recommend the audiobook for this because it was amazing!
Profile Image for *TUDOR^QUEEN* .
436 reviews445 followers
September 26, 2019
The main character of this book is Zhorzha "Zee" Trego. She's had a troubled family life due to her father having gone to prison for murder when she was a child. This tragedy had a negative rippling effect on the family, because Zee's mother weighs about 600 pounds and never leaves the house. Mom is also a hoarder, and there is barely room to even walk around. Zhorzha doesn't live there anymore, but she works as a waitress and sells pot to subsidize her Mom's living expenses. In fact, Zee will even sink to performing sexual favors, if necessary. Life has not been kind to the Trego family, but Zee has a strong survival instinct. Zee's sister LaReigne has a young son named Marcus, and Zee is forced to take him on a drug run as the book begins. LaReigne has been unreachable because she was taken hostage during a prison breakout where she volunteers.

The one person Zee can always depend upon is Gentry Frank. They met each other in the waiting room of a physical therapy office following an injury Zee suffered on a motorcycle. To say that Gentry is eccentric would be a major understatement. He avoids meeting eyes, only speaks in Middle English (like a gallant medieval knight), and hears three different voices (who also speak in native Middle English). One of the voices told Gentry that it was his destiny to always watch over "Lady Zhorzha", and as if he took an oath to do so, he shadows Zee protectively throughout the book. He is actually my favorite character in this story. Clinically Gentry is autistic, but he has a job, drives, and lives in a loving adoptive home with other adopted special needs siblings. The parents tolerate Gentry's medieval passions by allowing him to have swords, chain mail and other medieval warrior trappings. He even goes on getaways with like-minded friends to joust and have medieval style battles. However, he's very respectful, gallant and loyal to Zee, and I truly enjoyed reading those passages. The one thing Gentry had a bit of a hard time with was being touched, but that was a hurdle that Zee and Gentry would climb.

The storyline of LaReigne's hostage situation provides yet another crisis for the Trego family to navigate. Zee has so much hardship and heartbreak to deal with, that I was glad for the positive influence of Gentry's character to uplift the atmosphere. With all the upheaval and uncertainties in her life, she often finds herself with no regular place to stay. She's become an expert at being a transitory guest in people's houses. She's also become very street smart and cunning as a result of her dicey circumstances. As hard a life as she's had, she still has compassion, generosity and family loyalty. Her relationship with Gentry was the crowning glory of the book, for I loved the softness and emotions laid bare by these two unlikely souls bound together.

Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons / Penguin Publishing Group for providing an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
August 26, 2019
Since I've been reading so many non fiction books I've had a hard time with fiction. Except for my mysteries, which I seem to be doing okay with. You're both going to be surprised but i loved this. Yes, it was over the top, unrealistic but to me it's a modern day adult fairy tale. Z. Coming from a family of crime, relatives and friends with the KKK has as a defender,Sir Gentry. I fell hard for Gentry. Anyway, I think this is a clever book, and i didn't read her first, not my type of subject matter. P!us, I found it entertaining. I think its all reading perspective, if you take it seriously and expect realism you're going to dislike it, if you read it for fun one might feel differently.

Don't know if it is possible for a young man on the autism spectrum, though obviously on the higher end, could act like Gentry. He speaks soley in Middle English and behaves and believes in the chivalric knight of old. He provides a sharp contest to Z, who often uses foul language and normal English. I found this clever, original and humorous at times, though there is plenty of modern day violence. To me the morall of the story, and this is just my interpretation, is that anyone, no matter their life challenges can behave as a knight and even a young woman dealing with many of life's tragedies can find one.

So, with that in mind, I'm asking Santa to send me my very own Knight for Christmas.

This was my monthly read with Angela and Esil, and the first book our ratings and thoughts have differed so widely. That was interesting reading in itself.

ARC from Edelweiss.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
November 24, 2019
this is one of the most unconventional books ive ever read. from the characters to the plot, this is quite unlike anything ive come across in a story.

i LOVE greenwoods ‘all the ugly and wonderful things’ and, because of it, i know she has a talent for capturing the raw and emotional and overlooked. she does exactly that with this story, but it doesnt feel quite as effortless to me. and im not sure if its because of the storys inherent nature, but everything that makes this different is blatantly thrown in the readers face. i also had issues with zee as a character and her actions pretty much throughout the entire book.

so why, then, am i rating this so high? its because those complaints are just little shadows in what is otherwise a very radiant story, with gentry as its knight in shining armour. he is the redeeming grace, the beacon of light, in this story. i cant even begin to explain how much i was/am moved by his manner, his oath, his life. i love what he stands for as representation and as a character.

i think any fan of greenwoods other novels will appreciate this story and her writing. its a shame there are a couple of things that annoyed me about this but, overall, its a terrific story with a really great message.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,808 followers
September 30, 2019
The Reckless Oath We Made is a winner for me. And, as I read the book, I was picturing the author as Zee. Pictures I've seen of the author are of a no nonsense woman, strong, good looking in the not Hollywood fake way, and that is how I see Zee, the woman with frizzy red hair, tall, big, and maintaining a loyalty to her family that keeps them upright even if they aren't aware that she is holding them up. I realized that she's beautiful, but she doesn't know it. She's not the typical petite beauty of her former cheerleading sister, whose life has always revolved around boys and men. Instead she is the beautiful that Gentry sees and I trust Gentry, the short, stout, strong, autistic man who is loyal to those he cares about and loves and who doesn't see the world through a shallow, "what's popular today" filter. 

When the book started, I didn't care for Zee. She was working as a drug mule, sometimes sold her body for sex because she needed the money, was way past ever thinking about being in love, and was from an extremely dysfunctional family, which was still "dysfunctioning" all over the place, even as the book begins. Zee is hauling her young nephew Marcus on a drug run, in the middle of the night, because her sister is MIA and she'll be in big trouble if she doesn't finish the job. It's only as the book continues that we learn just what a crummy life Zee had growing up with a mom who binged up to 600 lbs after her dad went to prison for murdering a bank guard, a mother who turned into such a hoarder that Zee was forced out of their home at 16, because there was not a single space for her to place her body. Zee was homeless as she tried to finish high school and then lived on the couch of her sister for a few years, working several jobs at a time. 

Really Zee was looking after her tiny nephew during those years, because her sister and her worthless husband were too busy fighting to take care of him. Once the husband is out of the picture, Zee is more of a mom to Marcus than his own mom has ever been. Zee doesn't want Marcus to have a neglected upbringing like she had and it is her life goal to make sure he grows up better than she grew up. Zee also has a strong sense of responsibility to take care of her mentally ill mother, despite any recognition for what she is doing for her mom. Enter Gentry, a 24 year old autistic man who knows how worthy Zee is in life and knows that his life's purpose is to be her champion. One of the voices told him so. Gentry hears voices and they guide him on his knightly mission to watch over Zee. 

Gentry works at a job, riveting wings on airplanes, drives a truck, and lives with his adoptive family. But also Gentry is a knight, spends weekends wearing armor and living the life of a knight, while building his own castle and jousting with his like minded friends. His life revolves around the code of honor of a knight and he will give his all to keep Zee safe. I did struggle with Gentry's Middle English speech and never did get to a point that I could read it without being stopped in my tracks. It was a part of Gentry but I wasn't very good at understanding what he was saying without a lot of effort on my part. Still, I liked Gentry enough that I was willing to keep on reading...I really liked this story so very much, once I knew the people in the story, that I just kept on reading. 

Turns out the reason Marcus's mom is AWOL is because two of the KKK prisoners she volunteers to spend time with, have taken her and another woman hostage. Zee's life is thrown into more of a mess than it already is, with having to care for Marcus, deal with her mom's house being searched by law enforcement, having her car impounded to be searched, having to try to make her shift at the bar, and getting kicked out of her sister's apartment because her name isn't on the lease.

Gentry, who has been watching her from a distance for the last two years comes to her rescue and that is when I fell in love with Gentry and later on, Zee. I liked so many of the characters in this book, whether they appear for a brief time or longer. The author gives them such life, makes them seem so real, with their faults and everydayness. It helps that we get to read the book from many viewpoints and that's how I began to know how attractive Zee really is, in ways that really matter. 

I love characters studies and I love these characters and this book made me happy in the end, when the beginning didn't give me the least bit of reason to think I'd feel the way I did at the end. I like when I get hit with these kinds of feelings and will be reading more work by this author. Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for this ARC. 
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,450 reviews7,564 followers
August 20, 2019
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/


4.5 Stars

Waaaaaaaaay back in 2016 I scored a NetGalley ARC of a little book by an unknown author. (Basically, the mere mention of the word “meth” gets me all grabby hands.) To say All the Ugly and Wonderful Things blew my socks off is probably the understatement of the decade. I barfed my feelings out all over the intertubes about the sleeper that would become one of my favorite stories of all time. In turn, I was handsomely rewarded by the author when a copy of my shitty little gif-fest of a review was forwarded to her . . . .

Due to our proximity, Greenwood even (unknowingly) persuaded me to do something I never do – leave my house – for this to occur . . . .

I was lucky enough to be present for her book launch while my family shoveled as many tacos in their faces as they could within an hour courtesy of . . . .

I officially became a superfan and stalker (luckily of the slothlike, social media looking only variety rather than the Annie Wilkes sort). Last November I was asked if I would like an ARC of Greenwood’s upcoming release to which I responded . . . .

And immediately went and downloaded a copy of Last Will to tide me over (and to kind of make sure Greenwood wasn’t a one hit wonder). I didn’t bother reading the blurb for The Reckless Oath We Made until my copy arrived. When I saw “Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and a code of honor” I was like . . . . .

Oh lort, so scurrrrrrrrrrred. Plus this had like A LOT of pages so if I hated it, I would really be suffering through. I put it on the backburner for a week or so and got myself mentally prepared to be a turtle sucking wrongreader. When I finally did open the book on a quiet Saturday morning, I saw the following note from the author . . . . .

“I ask readers to suspend their judgment, hold their breath, and trust me to get them safely to the other side.”

So I did. What did I find on that other side? Well, to begin with, our fair damsel is a bit . . . . .

But with a lil’ extra summin summin right up Kelly and Mitchell’s alley . . . . .

And while Gentry was a “knight,” he certainly wasn’t what most of my fellow smutseekers would picture such as . . . .

Or . . . .

But instead a more realistic flyover country version . . . . .

Who most certainly spoke in Middle English, but did so . . . .

I know you’re not supposed to put quotes in a review of an ARC, so just keep this on the downlow, ‘kay?

“Weren we elsewhere, somewhere safe, I would grind thee as a millstone grindeth grain to flour, but not here.”

Oh my.

You don’t get anything else. I’m simply going to reiterate Greenwood’s words. Hold on tight and rest assured she will get you to the other side. If you are the judgey, offended by everything, looks for something to piss you off type – realize her books probably aren’t for you. The rest of you, enjoy.

ARC provided by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
994 reviews2,782 followers
June 13, 2019
DNF at 40%

No, no, no I can't take another sentence of Middle English that I have to translate in my brain before I can continue the story. This is a DNF for me at 40% Example: “My lady. If thou wilt allow me to help thee,” he said. When I didn’t answer, he got down on one knee, like he meant to propose to me. “’Tis my honor to carry thee whither thou desirest.”and on and on an on.

This is such a disappointment for me. I know that there is a great story here but I gave it two evenings and only made it to 40%. The Middle English is just too distracting from the story and it stops the flow making it read choppy and slow.

The characters were very interesting and unique and I wished I could have finished to see how it all ended.

Read other reviews and see if this might be a fit for you!

i received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,272 followers
October 27, 2021

Zhorzha Trego’s life has never been easy - not as long as she remembers, anyway. Her father Marcus went to prison when she was just a child, and died there, leaving her mother to fill the holes in her heart with objects and food. Her mother’s grief affected both her and her older sister, LaReigne, who volunteers at the local prison, leaving her with the burden of financial support for the family - on a waitress income. To add to her personal issues, an accident left her with chronic pain in her hip along with a stack of mounting medical bills. When Zhorzha, Zee, learns that LaReigne, along with another woman, has been taken hostage by two escaped convicts, she is riding the train with her nephew, five-year-old Marcus, carrying weed that she intends to sell to help pay the bills – not exactly how she had planned things would be.

The news of LaReigne’s abduction brings with it, of course, additional interest by the press and the attention of the police, which ends up with Zee losing her job, her apartment and her car one after another.

Leaving physical therapy two months after her accident, still on crutches, when Zee’s ride doesn’t show up after she’s waited hours, she leaves the lobby for the parking lot, she sees a man waiting by his truck who bows to her, and says: “My lady. Thy servant.” From then on, Gentry would become her champion – he believes he has been tasked with this mission by voices only he can hear. Gentry Frank is on the spectrum, but he is also a knight who speaks only in early modern English, and who works as “a vassal of the Duke of Bombardier,” riveting wings on Learjets.

There are nine narrators in this story, but the main one is Zee, with 37 of the 63 brief chapters being narrated by her, Gentry has eleven, with the remainder including Marcus, and a Deputy. Rather than being confusing, each character seemed to bring more light to this tale.

I loved this story, which has so much more to it beyond this brief review. There’s an element of a somewhat unconventional romance, but in a gritty-fairy-tale-ish way that takes many twists and turns - some of them dark, but not gruesome- and, like the best of stories, leaves you wanting to share your joy with everyone you know.

Published: 20 Aug 2019

Many thanks for the ARC provided by PENGUIN GROUP Putnam
Profile Image for Karen.
574 reviews1,120 followers
August 3, 2019
DNF at 20%
Not interested in the characters or story line at all! I’m quite disappointed because I loved this author’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things! Too many books waiting for me to waste my time on this one.. but... I am in the minority here so don’t go by me😅
Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,340 followers
August 25, 2019
I think I get what Bryn Greenwood is doing in This Reckless Oath We Made, but it was a bit too over the top for me. Zee is 26 years old, and her life is a mess. Her father died in jail as a convicted murderer, her mother is a shut-in hoarder and her sister has recently disappeared, leaving her to care for her 5 year old nephew and to try to find her sister. Initially, the best way she comes up with to help herself, her sister and her nephew is by selling weed and getting what she can from creepy guys. That is, until her knight in shining armour, Gentry, comes to the rescue. Actually, Gentry is a 24 year old autistic young man, who only speaks in Middle English, has a few obstinate invisible friends and is obsessed with swords and chivalry. Gentry believes that he is Zee’s “champion”, which means that he is obliged to protect her. The collision of Zee’s world with Gentry’s world leads to pretty dramatic and — in my humble opinion — over the top results. I won’t say more about the plot to avoid spoilers.

This feels like a mash up of a very dark fairy tale with what some have described as “Appalachian noir”. In theory, I don’t have a problem with the concept. After all, I loved Patrick deWitt’s Undermajordomo Minor — a dark fairy tale if there ever was one — and have really enjoyed Brian Panowich’s books — a true writer of Appalachian noir. But some of the key plot twists went way too far for me — especially what Gentry ends up doing for Zee, and what ends up happening to him as a consequence. I wasn’t shocked — I just fell out of my suspension of disbelief bubble and thought “no way”. That said, there were things I liked about the story — I liked Gentry’s character for the most part, I liked Zee’s transformation throughout the story and I quite liked the end — so I’m comfortable with a 3 star rating. I think my disappointment with this one is that I would have liked it so much more if Garwood had held back on some of the more over the top aspects of the plot.

I suspect many people with love this book. But it didn’t quite work for me. This was a buddy read with Angela and Diane, and this was a rare occasion when we each had different reactions. So make sure to read a bunch of reviews before deciding whether to give this one a chance or to write it off. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,130 followers
September 5, 2019
The story not only covers topics like hoarding, which honestly fascinates but also creeps me out, mental illness, and complicated family dynamics. Surprisingly it also was about living during the Renaissance period. Which really caught me unprepared but is something I rather enjoy reading about.

I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant about picking up this book. After so many years of adoring ATUAWT I didn’t know what to expect, nor what I actually hoped for, and I was definitely worried to be disappointed.

Fortunately it all was unfounded. I was enthralled from the very minute I opened the book.


Gentry is one of the most unique characters I ever read about. Like Eleanor and Don, he struggles with society and has to carve out his own special place. It’s bittersweet to see the love and support Gentry gets, but also that in private most people don’t always accept him 100% like Zee did.

Family can suck!! The saying ‘blood is thicker than water’ stands, but it’s also noteworthy that blood can bring families down. Both Zee and Gentry had some bad apples to live with. And in Zee’s case, it would have been better to just let them be.

I loved the combination of Zee and Gentry. They clicked in an interesting way. I also loved how the author portrayed Zee. Unapologetically real, authentic and flawed. Zee, as Gentry, were the highlights in this book. Although I didn’t approve every decision Zee took, in the end she was exactly the person she was supposed to be. True to herself.

I really enjoyed the Renaissance aspect of the story, not only Gentry in all his knightly glory, but also all the other characters, and the way they were enjoying this particular period of time. The depth of the story and also its direction was rather unexpected. In a good way – I love anything unique.


So, if you want to read something unique, different, captivating, and thought provoking – this is your book!!!

ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.

For more book recommendations, follow me on Instagram

Profile Image for Barbara White.
Author 6 books1,114 followers
January 15, 2019
I finished this late last night--or rather, early this morning--and THE RECKLESS OATH WE MADE is, without doubt, one of the best books I've ever read. A glorious epic with unforgettable characters who live outside the lines, it's about pain and poverty, mental illness and medieval chivalry, love and redemption.

Zee and Sir Gentry are mismatched in every way except for their sense of loyalty. She’s a wise-ass, hot-tempered, drug-dealing waitress with a shattered hip who kept her family together--and solvent--after her father was incarcerated. He’s a wise, sweet guy on the spectrum, who hears voices, believes he’s her champion, and speaks only in Middle English. After her sister is kidnapped by escaped convicts, Zee and Sir Gentry embark on a quest like no other.

I will be raving about this book long after its pub. date.
Profile Image for CC.
1,060 reviews630 followers
December 29, 2019

Zhorzha “Zee” Trego hasn’t had an easy life, but she’s learned to adapt considering the circumstances. After her sister is taken hostage during a prison break, Zhorzha is burdened with added responsibility. Yet, there is one person who seems to be watching over her.

“She wore her anger like a cloak of fire that burned none but herself.”

Gentry Frank is a unique man of many talents and enigmatic layers. With his chivalrous nature, Gentry offers his noble service to Lady Zhorzha. As he proves his honor, the situation escalates leading to irrevocable circumstances.

“Tis not for thee to be worthy. ‘Twas for me to become worthy.”

Told from multiple character perspectives, the story moves at a steady pace with building tension. As the friendship between Zee and Gentry strengthens, there seems to be a question of imbalance and whether there are ulterior motives. However, as more is revealed about Gentry, it appears that there’s more under the surface.

“This is how a tower be built. Lay first the foundation stone. Then upon it, lay the next stone. Up and up, one stone, then another, til thou hast built a tower to keep thee and thine safe.”

In starting this book, I was excited because this author is new to me and her storytelling is compelling. These characters are quite diverse, posing challenges, and some are not necessarily likeable or redeemable. The standout character for me is Gentry. Though he appears to have certain affectations, there is also clarity to his process.

While it seems like it’s the author’s intent to stir the pot, I had difficulty with Zee from the beginning. Though there were times when her situation seemed to be out of her control, she also made harmful choices that were hard to ultimately reconcile.

The Reckless Oath We Made is a thought provoking story about redemption, loyalty and friendship.

*An ARC was provided by in exchange for an honest review.*

*This was a (F)BR with Twinsie Hawkey and Loyda!*

For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,575 followers
August 27, 2019
❤️4 STARS❤️

This was a unique story, I did't loved it as much as All The Ugly and wonderfull things but still it was captivating and original.It started really well, but I find myself struggling a little bit at some points, but while I continue reading it I loved it even more!


Gentry is mostly the reason I loved this one!Zee and Gentry were intresting and unique!It was a little bit difficult to used to Gentry's POV because he use Middle English.The writing was flawless and the story was sad.

If you are looking for a refreshing story and unforgettable this is definitely one!


Profile Image for Book of the Month.
229 reviews12.6k followers
August 6, 2019
Why I love it
by Liberty Hardy

Get ready to call in sick so you can devour one of the most imaginative novels of the year! Its wildly original story full of achingly real characters will have you turning the pages like you’re competing in an Olympic reading event.

Zhorzha Trego has a world of problems. She lives with her gullible older sister and five-year-old nephew in Kansas. She waits tables (and sells pot) to try and make ends meet; she is in chronic pain; her mother is a recluse who has filled their family home with junk; her father died in prison; and now there has been an abduction that hits close to home. Enter Gentry, a neurodiverse young man who thinks he is a knight—he literally speaks in Medieval English—whose voices have told him to save Zhorzha. Together, like the characters in Greenwood’s last novel, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things , they will change each other’s lives forever.

Three words: What a book! I loved these characters in all their sweet, damaged glory. And you can tell Greenwood does, too. As soon as I started reading this book, I couldn’t wait to see where she was taking them. I will be 100% honest with you—it took me a page to get used to Gentry’s way of speaking, but then I found it added so much more to the story. This is an unusual, beautiful novel, and I was sad to see it end.

Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-reckle...
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,414 reviews971 followers
January 12, 2022
THE RECKLESS OATH WE MADE is an unlikely love story about a woman whose family has a criminal background and an autistic man who speaks only in Middle English and believes himself to be a knight.

”People talk about having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I had a pair of imaginary bill collectors, so no matter which way I turned, there was somebody to remind me I needed money. That’s how I ended up on a train at four o’clock in the morning with my nephew and a hundred pounds of weed.

Zee is downright poor. From childhood on up until adulthood, she has felt the hard knocks of life. From couch surfing to going from job to job just to try and make a few dollars.

Gentry, on the hand, comes from a supportive family. They understand and accept that he has 3 voices which he communicates with. ”Gawen, who was like an overgrown playmate, but a bit of a bully. Hildegard, who was pious but awfully judgmental. And the Witch, who is sort of Gentry’s spiritual adviser.” The witch is the voice who has told him to be the Champion of the lady he has seen at his physical therapy sessions.

Zee is unsure why this stranger has shown up at her side to offer her a hand up when all else seems to be going by the wayside. Not only is this guy seem strange but she finds his matter of speech odd too.

“The Witch has been telling him for years that he has a special duty. It turns out you’re his special duty.”
“I don’t understand,” Zee said.
“The Witch told him he was supposed to protect you, so that’s what he’s been trying to do. He didn’t mention that to you?”

Gentry is always a gentleman and ready to be of service to Zee. Unfortunately for Zee, her life keeps taking a downturn. It hits rock bottom when her sister who volunteers at the prison is kidnapped and taken hostage by a couple of white supremacist inmates.

Zee decides the police aren’t getting the job done on bringing her sister home to her young son. So, she takes matters into her own hands which ultimately will involve Gentry since he’s her Champion. This is where the story really picked up for me. The adventure of how she was going to pull off this rescue mission off was exciting.

The story is moved forward by being told from several different points of view. The majority of the story is told by Zee along with Gentry being the next most used narrator. The story does have some side characters who contribute to the telling of what is happening. When Gentry speaks and/or it’s his chapter to move the story forward it is done in Middle English. It takes a little getting used to the language. It reminds of when you meet a person with an accent and you really have to pay attention to what they’re saying until you get used to their accent.

THE RECKLESS OATH WE TOOK is a standalone book. It’s about overcoming your past and finding a path that follows the straight and narrow.

RELEASE DATE: August 20, 2019


**Complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.**

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Profile Image for Brandi.
633 reviews1,278 followers
September 13, 2019
Super excited to get the chance to read this one early! :)

This captivating and utterly unique story had me glued to my kindle. Honestly, I have struggled to put my thoughts into words. This story is different, and the way Gentry speaks certainly took some getting use too, but, I felt this story. These characters have earned a special place in my heart. When I hit The End, I found it hard to say goodbye to them. Bryn is two for two with me and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

*ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Laura.
69 reviews38 followers
July 7, 2022
This book was like a train wreck but in the best possible way.
Profile Image for warhawke.
1,299 reviews1,958 followers
September 6, 2019
Genre: General Fiction
Type: Standalone
POV: First Person – Multiple

Life had never been easy for Zhorzha (Zee) Trego. When a crisis hit her already barely hanging family, salvation came in the form of Gentry Frank - a literal knight in shining armor. Together, they embarked on a dangerous task that would challenge their freedom and loyalty and consequently changed the course of their lives.

Gentry was one of the most unique heroes I’ve read. I absolutely loved him for his mind and his heart. Zee, on the other hand, I had problems with. I was rooting for her in the beginning, but the choices she made and her supposed redemption were not worthy in my eyes.

“Girls like you, it’s how you operate. Take a nice guy like Gentry and use him. But if something happens to him, you’ll have to live with that.”

I liked the story but I had a problem with the writing where most of the book is in Middle English. It definitely captured attention but it also meant I had to spend extra time trying to decipher what a sentence actually meant. It somewhat distracted me from the story to a certain degree.

If I let myself think too much about what I’d done, I might go insane. He hated himself above all else, the book said, and that was how I felt.

What I loved the most about this book is how the author wrote about real-life people. It was raw and unembellished. I felt the characters’ pain and anger, and I understood their motivations.

The Reckless Oath We Made is a story of family and friendship allegiance. It would appeal to readers who enjoy general fiction with elements of romance.

🌾💠🌾. . . (F)BR With Twinsie CC & Loyda . . . 🌾💠🌾

For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

Profile Image for Aga Durka.
199 reviews60 followers
January 21, 2020
The Reckless Oath We Made is a quirky and an over the top story of friendships, family ties, and love connections. I have tried to decide if this is a romance, suspense, or family drama read, and in the end, I finally concluded that this is simply a mix of all of the above. A mix that was not necessarily a good combination.

I found this book a little confusing at times due to the choice of the characters the author decided to use to tell the story. As much as I loved Gentry’s uniqueness, being an autistic young man who sees himself as a knight with a mission to protect and serve his lady, Zee, he did not quite fit the story of Zee’s dysfunctional family and her quest to save her sister from the criminals/kidnappers. These two main characters, Gentry and Zee, felt so disconnected and improbable that I felt like there were two different worlds crashing together with a very undesirable effect. In addition, I could not get over the love connection between the two of them, it just did not feel natural, and it felt quite forced and implausible.

As much as I loved All The Ugly and Wonderful Things written by the same author, The Reckless Oath That We Made was quite a letdown. I really wanted to love this book, and I was super excited to read it, but in the end, it was just an over the top story with some very weird character choices.
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