Laura's Reviews > Brazen

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
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it was amazing

Longshore has done it again! The writing was beautifully crafted, from start to finish. Everything that you would expect and more happened and that made reading this so much more exciting. It made me sad once I finished because I knew that this was the last one.

“Marriage is a word that tastes like metal- the steel of armor, the gold of commerce, the iron bite of blood and prison bars. But also bronze, a bell that rings clear and true and joyously. Like Hope.”

And she was right about that last part, although it didn’t look like a well suited match and for the majority of it, it wasn’t, Mary ended up falling for him. He was understated just like her and like Thomas Wyatt he encouraged her to embrace her words, even if it was written rather than spoken. He gave her the courage to become herself rather than hide and be forgotten. I think the exact moment they fell in love was probably that adorable scene where they dance and find a common thread between them, their own clumsiness.

“When grace meets rhythm, the effect is beautiful.”

“What about when gracelessness meets rhythmlessness? He asks. “Can the effect not be beautiful? Because we too are well matched. Equal.”

“At least I can dance.”

“A little.”

“With the right partner.”

I glare at him. “Obviously not.”

Talk about sparks!!! The whole moment was romantic and the hits kept on coming. Every time Fitz was in a scene you could see them getting to know each other and couldn’t help but watch as they fell in love. In my mind, Fitz was right. They were a perfect match. Mary Fitzroy never married again. As to say whether or not it was because she already found the love of her life can’t be said as true but for me I’m going to let it be.

“I will not haunt you as a ghost. But I will always be with you. I will take on your sadness, Mary. When you feel it lift, you’ll know it was me.”

The whole book felt so real. Brazen opens with 14-year-old Mary Howard moments away from her wedding to King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy who is also 14. Mary didn’t want this, she knew nothing about being someone’s wife and let’s be real, who does at 14? All of her thoughts and feelings of impending dread is exactly how I would think someone her age would be feeling. Her inexperience is pushed out by greater forces and locks her into a fate not of her own making.

“It’s so easy for him. He spends his days surrounded by friends. Sure of his position. At his father’s side. He doesn’t have to think every moment about the way he walks, the way he holds his head, the way people look at him. He doesn’t have to be a duke. He just is one. I wake up every day feeling like me and then I remember I’m not me, anymore. I’m a duchess. And I need to act like one. So I spend the entire day as if on stage. Always watched but never listened to.”

Although slightly understated compared to her cousin, Anne Boleyn, that fire was still there! She doesn’t like the fact that she is expected to do things on the whim of men. Mary respected and admired her cousin even when treason was thrown around and Anne was executed she still admired her and her spirit.

“There are some people who make an impact as soon as you meet them. Lodge themselves in your mind. Embed themselves in your soul. Anne Boleyn is one of those people.”

Finding out that Mary’s father is more manipulative than first shown was a shock to the system for me and Mary.

“As if by the single swing of an ax, I am separated from the one truth that always held me secure. My father’s name, my brother’s name.”

By the end of Brazen, everything was flipped. Mary grew into a strong, independent woman who wouldn’t let anyone, especially the men in her life from controlling her and changing her into something she’s not. Her father and his name was no longer a warming embrace. And the husband that she didn’t even want to marry broke her heart when he died, losing her chance at happiness.

“The Church tells you to honor and obey me. Me. Not some ghost of a child.”

“He wasn’t a child.”

“You are a Howard.”

“I am a Fitzroy. I am a duchess. I do not need a man to give me my identity, Father. I have my own.”

Absolutely outstanding! Mary standing up for herself and for Fitz was beautiful. Not only did she embrace, the late Queen Anne but she showed everyone who she is. She doesn’t allow anyone to be rude to those she loves and defends those who can’t.

What made these novels so strong and good was the women they were written about. Anne was strong in a time where women were nothing. Mary was thrown into a marriage she wanted nothing to do with at the hands of the very men she felt safe with. They never compromised who they were and got and stronger and stronger as their lives got more complicated. These women fought to be heard and although Anne didn’t end up with Thomas Wyatt or have the chance to raise her daughter, she was strong and never stopped using her words as her greatest weapon. And although Mary never had the chance to spend her life with Fitz, he showed her the strength that he always knew she had and when he died she finally embraced it and got out from under her father’s thumb to start living the way she wanted to live.

“I am a duchess. If I am going to survive, I will not be owned. I refuse to be a doll or a piece of furniture, moved around used and displayed but never cared for. I want to be me.”
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Reading Progress

April 29, 2015 – Shelved
April 29, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
May 9, 2018 – Started Reading
May 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

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