Book Talk: Brazen by Katherine Longshore


Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

Brazen is set in England during Henry VIII’s reign during the time when Anne Boleyn was Queen. It follows Lady Mary Howard, wife of King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, through her marriage to Fitzroy and her time at court as she navigates friendships, romances, the scandals of the court and more.

a2Must get my hands on Gilt and Tarnish. ALSO, historical fiction how I have missed THEE.


1. It’s a perfect blend of history and fun: SERIOUSLY it reminded me of one of my current obsessions — The CW’s Reign. There’s the historical facts there but some great fictional speculation and storytelling that just brings it to life. I loved seeing the lives of characters like Anne Boleyn and more obscure characters, like the main character Mary Howard, just feel like people rather than these names on paper. It was definitely more of a “fun” historical fiction kind of novel rather than something more serious set in that time period or something that makes you feel like OH HISTORY CLASS. It has that vibe of all my favorite CW shows (a la Gossip Girl) in the way the drama and the romance and the scandal is so addictive but the research and the history is THERE. I knew the story of Anne Boleyn and what happened to her as a wife of Henry but Katherine Longshore made me see it in a new way and really FEEL it.

2. Being in King Henry VIII’s court is SO ADDICTIVE: Henry VIII’s history is one I remember decently from history classes and I know there is tons of drama and, well, Katherine Longshore definitely makes use of the history there to weave her story of Mary Howard, who is married to Henry’s bastard son Henry Fitzroy, and show all the happenings in the court during the time in which she is there. I mean, Henry VIII’s court is just so scandalous and crazy that it just has a lot of story to be told. PAGE TURNING I TELL YOU.

3. It was so engaging it had me wanting to find out more: I found myself looking up things to see if it really happened or if this person existed or what happened to so and so. I just wanted to learn MORE about this slice of history. I love a historical fiction book that makes me want to LEARN just because it was so engaging.

4. I loved the romance: Mary Howard and Henry Fitzroy’s marriage was arranged and with that comes much more about responsibility and duty than romance but Mary wants to LOVE him — even though sometimes he’s distant, that court life takes him away a lot and that Henry VIII won’t let them consummate her marriage which makes her feel like a pawn. I loved the slow-burn longing and questioning to figure out if there is something there over the years. The awkwardness at times. The way they explore their relationship. It captivated me the whole time!


factors+ fun, addictive, perfect blend of fact and fictional liberties, loved the time period
little slow/dragging at times

Re-readability: Probably not but I would definitely pick up the other two books in the “series” which are also set in King Henry VIII’s court in Tudor England.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I already own it! It’s so pretty!

a5fans of the CW show Reign or even The Tudors though I’d say it’s more like Reign to me, readers who maybe aren’t SUPER into historical fiction because it’s a little bit more accessible than other historical fiction I’ve read (not super daunting), historical fiction readers who like books set in Tudor England,

a8Brazen was an addictive romp through King Henry VIII’s court that re-acquainted me with historical figures I’m familiar with and introduced me to new ones I’d never heard about. As someone who loves history, I found it to be the perfect balance of fun while using the historical facts to weave together a story that makes it all just come alive. Can’t wait to read Gilt and Tarnish to get my scandalous and drama-filled historical fix — especially while my current tv obsession, Reign, is on break!


review-on-post-itBrazen Katherine Longshore review - for fans of Reign


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* What are some other books you’ve read and recommend set during this time period?

The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. This one sounds great! I’ve been loving historical fiction lately. My oldest is obsessed with the show Reign and has been wanting to pick this one up as well as trying to get me to watch the show. It sounds like this would be a worthwhile read. Thanks for sharing!

    • I used to read so much historical fiction and then I just kind of stopped so I was really excited to get back into it with this one! Reign is SO addictive. I’m sitting there like OH THESE COSTUMES ARE SO INACCURATE and this and that and suddenly I’m like glued to it. Pretty dresses though haha. I definitely suggest picking this up for your oldest then!

  2. I hadn’t heard anything about this book, and then suddenly, everyone was talking about it. I’ve seen so many good things, and I’m a huge lover of that time period anyway. I love some good historical fiction, especially if there’s some Gossip Girl-style stuff going down.
    Super excited to check this one out!

    • I had vaguely heard of the other two books that are in this “series” (say that very loosely) but I didn’t know what they were about so I just kind of ignored them and then I got a pitch for this one and checked it out and I was like OH YES THIS IS SO FOR ME. I guess maybe with the popularity of Reign and The Tudors they are pushing it? But yeah this one seems to have gotten a lot more exposure!

      This time period is so great because there is just so much natural drama there with Henry VIII! I have an interview with Katherine going up soon and her answers are so great and I am almost jealous of all the cool research she did! I feel like I really want to research it now haha

  3. I am a fan of both Reign and anything Tudor’s related so this book is a definite MUST HAVE for me! Plus…all you really had to say was romance, scandal and drama, and I am TOTALLY there! Thanks for another wonderful review! You’re the best!

    • YES!! You need this! *pushes book in hands* Also OMG I NEED REIGN BACK.

      And NAH..YOUUUU are the best!!

  4. I love historical fiction, and fun ones are the best! I’m adding this to my TBR – thanks for the awesome review!

    • You are welcome! I hope you enjoy!! I was hoping that my description of it being “fun” made sense. Because like there are historical fiction books that feel more serious and then ones that feel more FUN and this is that. Even though there is serious stuff that happens. (Is my brain working??)

  5. I HAVE read this!

    Pretty much it was everything to me. Like, I was a huge huge huge fan of the romance. AND THE TRAVELING JOURNAL! That was actually a huge plus, the friendships and such.

    Also, you should totally read Gilt and Tarnish, they are both really, really good.

    • DEFINITELY reading Gilt and Tarnish now if you thumbs up them! Also, YES the traveling journal. I loved that. I have an interview with Katherine going up soon and I think you’ll like something she said about the journal and what it is based on.

  6. As soon as you compared it to Reign, I was in! I love that show and I really like historical fiction, so I think I would like this!

  7. Most of the time I’m a bit of a silent follower (sorry, is that creepy? ><) here, but I saw you write this review, and I just HAVE to tell youm Jamie, you HAVE to read TARNISH!! 😀 I've not read Brazen yet, but Tarnish is just so fangirl-worthy!! It really explores Anne's growth as a lady, and though I didn't like Henry VIII, there's another man in there you'll grow to love! 🙂 I'm a total History buff and I'm always looking for new historical novels to read, and Tarnish, for me was a perfect interpretation! 🙂 You're right that Katherine Longshore definitely makes her Historical novels very enticing, not like some of the boring History lessons you sometimes go through! 😛 Though I was a little disappointed with her Manor Of Secrets, I felt there was a little too little substance, but I just think you should really read Tarnish; I hope it'll sweep you off your feet! 😀
    Lovely review, Jamie! 😀 <3

  8. I’m soooo glad you liked this one! Katherine Longshore has been a favorite author of mine since I read Gilt and if you liked this you should definitely read that as well as Tarnish. 🙂