The Reckless Oath We Made: A Novel by Bryn Greenwood

 

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Let those who suffer an illness of the mind do so and prosper of it, but I do not and I will not.

If you told Zhorzha “Zee” that a knight was her destiny, she would smack you silly. Zee isn’t a delicate princess, and no one has ever saved her from anything. Her life has been a lesson in catastrophe, first in early childhood dealing with a criminal father and a mother devoted to him, now as a grown adult she is keeping her family afloat. Sharing an apartment with her sister LaReigne whose little boy Marcus depends on her, she spends her days hustling in any way she can to get money, for bills, for the roof over their head, for food. Her hip injury from an accident on her exes Harley is the least of her pains, nothing causes her more grief than discovering her sister has been taken hostage during a prison break where she volunteers.

Who knew her ‘stalker’ as she calls him isn’t a stalker at all, but a knight in shining armor. “I am her champion. I watch that I might her serve.” So okay, Gentry won’t look her in the eye, walking around speaking like a traveler from medieval times, but there is something chivalrous about him. Gentry brings both she and Marcus to his home, their only refuge, considering her mother doesn’t have an inch of space safe enough for them to stand let alone sleep. She occupies more than her share of space, along with all her junk. Mountains of it, hoarded like precious treasures! Her family is chaos personified. She surrenders to Gentry, why not? Her options have run out. Once surrounded by the kindness of his parents, she begins to see Gentry as more than just some weirdo, stalker and slowly begins to fall under the spell of his charm.

Her sister LeReigne’s abduction escalates into violence, and Zee isn’t going to wait on the cops to do anything, especially when they suspect her sister of aiding in the prison break considering their family’s criminal history, so it is on her shoulders (isn’t it always) to bring her nephew’s mommy home safe! Gentry will serve his Lady, more loyal than blood, even if it means breaking laws, maybe even risking his own life. The voices in his head have foretold of his mission, his life’s purpose, to serve this damsel in distress. Zee isn’t the most admirable, nor likable woman in any book but life has burdened her, made her sour, bitter, suspicious and cynical.  Some would say rightly so. One visit with her infuriating mother is enough to understand the bite that comes natural to Zee. This isn’t your typical warm family, they have more than a smattering of mental issues and poor judgement when it comes to their love life, controlling their impulses. They demand a lot of her, but don’t give much in return, certainly not a lot of affection. She is the sort of woman who rubs those who have mastered appearances the wrong way, because she makes you confront your own hypocrisy, imperfections. She doesn’t pretend her family or she herself is anything other than a wreck, she doesn’t make excuses for her ‘hustling’, no. She is more the ‘take me as I am or to hell with you’ sort of gal. It is a strange pair Gentry and Zee make, but there are similarities once she meets his biological mother. Not so different at all.

Love blossoms in the strangest of ways, and maybe we aren’t always worthy of the devotion Gentry shows Zee, who is to say? Maybe someone who hasn’t known tenderness has a hard time opening themselves to it?  I was frustrated by what many would call a quirk, Gentry’s medieval knights and castle obsession, his Middle English speech that feels like a riddle half the time, but then it became a natural part of his character that I couldn’t imagine him without it. Bryn Greenwood knows how to create relationships that make us scratch our heads, because in the real world, that’s often how love works. It doesn’t always make sense to outsiders why two people band together. There is a lot of blind devotion from the heart in this novel, and I am not just talking about Gentry. In fact, he may be the only character with logic on his side, no matter what psychiatrists think! “Let those who suffer an illness of the mind do so and prosper of it, but I do not and I will not.” Bless his heart!

This is a story about the madness of family loyalty and love. Yes, read it.

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

Penguin Group

Putnum

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