Pages: 528 pages
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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?
Historical fiction can make the past come alive in a way that a textbook never could. When I first heard that there was a series about the Tudor era, and specifically, books focusing on the women in Henry VIII’s life, I was pretty intrigued. We all know how his wives fared, so to pull that off for a young adult audience is no easy feat!
We’re pleased to welcome author Katherine Longshore to The Midnight Garden today as part of the Midsummer Romance Blog Tour. She’s here to talk about Brazen, a hefty book focusing on Mary Howard, Henry VIII’s only daughter-in-law. At the center of it is Henry Fitzroy, the king’s illegitimate son–and in the author’s eyes, he’s no dusty figurehead, but an attractive, vital young man. I bet a lot of young ladies (and men) would have paid more attention in history class if they’d imagined him this way, too.
Historical Hotties: Henry Fitzroy
by Katherine Longshore
Some historians believe that Henry Fitzroy was a sickly child and therefore a sickly young man. They cite his only surviving portrait as evidence–a pale boy with a weak chin, wearing what some have described as a sickroom cap. Certainly, this portrait does not make him appear attractive.
In Brazen, Mary remembers a little boy with no chin and an air of superiority. But on the day she marries him, she describes him this way:
His eyebrows arc high into the fringe of hair ready to fall into his eyes at any moment. Eyes the color of a clear winter dawn. His nose is perhaps a little too big for the mouth below it, the full lower lip complementing the now well-defined chin.
By digging into the relatively few biographical details of Henry FitzRoy’s life, we discover a boy who was raised in great privilege, but also with great responsibility. By the age of eight, he had his own household and lands as the Duke of Richmond and Somerset. He was taught not only reading and writing, jousting and swordplay, but also how to manage finances, tenants, and disputes. Quite a lot for your average third-grader.
Accounts tell us that Fitz was more fond of physical pursuits that he was of his schoolwork. His tutor had trouble keeping his mind on facts and figures, but his riding master had no trouble teaching him to keep his seat during a hunt.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the kind of man Fitz would have grown up to be. We know that Henry VIII trusted him enough to consider him as leader of an invasion to Ireland, and as an envoy to Scotland. But we don’t know if Fitz would have succeeded at either.
While writing Brazen, I imagined a young (Titanic-era) Leonardo DiCaprio. That lively expression, those gorgeous eyes, that flop of hair. While writing this article, I considered comparing Fitz to Heath Ledger, who burned brightly and died tragically young. But I’d like for you readers to think of Fitz as young and happy and healthy, so picture Alex Pettyfer—voted in British women’s magazines as one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors and one of Britain’s sexiest men. They probably would have voted Fitz the same.
*If you’d like a little historical man candy, we’ve posted a few photos of the candidates for Katherine’s Fitz on Tumblr. Enjoy!
Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour for interviews with Katherine Longshore and more historical hotties!
Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine
Thursday, July 10 –Perpetual Page Turner
Tuesday, July 15 –Alice Marvels
Thursday, July 17 – Confessions of a Book Addict
Tuesday, July 22 – Novel Sounds
Thursday, July 24 – Starry-Eyed Revue
Tuesday, July 29 – The Midnight Garden
Thursday, July 31 – Novel Thoughts
Win a paperback copy of Courted!
Thanks to our friends at Viking, we have a copy of Courted to give away to our readers. This new edition includes the first two books in Katherine Longshore’s historical series, Gilt (Catherine Howard’s story) and Tarnish (Ann Boleyn).
Open to U.S. residents aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!
Giveaway and review copies are provided by the publisher. Our thanks to Katherine Longshore for stopping by the blog!
So, are you fan of historical fiction? Have you tried Katherine Longshore’s books before, or would you like to?