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THE RECKLESS OATH WE MADE by Bryn Greenwood Kirkus Star


by Bryn Greenwood

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-54184-4
Publisher: Putnam

A hot-tempered, gritty Kansas woman living on the edge and an autistic man obsessed with medieval chivalry team up in an unforgettable heroic quest to rescue her abducted sister.

Zhorzha Trego’s hardscrabble life takes a turn for the worse when older sister LaReigne, a volunteer at a local prison, is taken hostage with another woman by two escaped inmates. She learns the news while on a late-night train heading home to Wichita with her 5-year-old nephew, Marcus, after making a weed-smuggling run to Colorado. With a father who died in prison and a grieving mother who has become a 600-pound hoarder, the burden of supporting the family has fallen on redheaded Zee’s tall shoulders, and waitressing can't even begin to cover her medical bills from a motorcycle accident that left her with chronic hip pain. The attention from the police and press causes Zee to lose her apartment, her job, and her car in short order. To the rescue arrives her eccentric knight, whom she had met at a physical therapy clinic two years earlier. Gentry Frank is on the spectrum; his inner voices convince him that he’s Zee's champion. When he invites her and Marcus to stay with his loving, multiracial adoptive family, the unromantic Zee begins to connect with her odd suitor. After the second female hostage is found murdered, Zee realizes she must save LaReigne on her own. Together, she and the loyal Gentry embark on a dangerous journey. As in All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (2016), Greenwood depicts an unconventional romance with honesty and tenderness. Her short, briskly paced chapters keep the pages flying, and she expertly juggles nine different narrators with their own distinctive voices. The Middle English that Gentry speaks reveals his honorable nature and leavens the suspenseful storyline with fresh humor.

Greenwood's upside-down contemporary fairy tale captivates with its wonderfully inventive storytelling and its compassionately drawn, flawed characters.