For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.
My Lady JaneFeatured
We have a different story to tell...."
So that was the beginning of this AMAZING book and after reading just that first paragraph...I was HOOKED. I literally devoured this fascinating, amazing, un-put-down-able book and didn't want it to end.
So not only was the book amazing but how about that cover? Seriously? The cover is one of my most favorite covers ever. How can you not love it? "Off with her head" "Sometimes history gets it all wrong" "it's not easy being queen" ...Can you say obsessed? Because I AM!!!
My Lady Jane is a "not so accurate" retelling of The Lady Jane Grey's story in history. Lady Jane's dear friend is the King of England, Edward. Edward begins to get sick and the doctors say he has no hope and so therefore he must announce a successor because he is so young and yet to have an heir. Edward is nudged by his advisor, Lord Dudley, to name Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Little does Edward know but Lord Dudley has a sinister plan in mind and intends to marry his son, Gifford to Lady Jane in order to control the kingdom. But King Edward is not as dumb as Lord Dudley may think and he has some plans that will counteract Lord Dudley's and then begins the amazing story that is My Lady Jane.......
My Lady Jane has it all....comedy, drama, romance, action, fantasy, and even some really interesting magical aspects added in the mix! The historical details of My Lady Jane are expertly crafted to resemble the real story and yet create a much more entertaining fictional story.
The story is told from the three main character's point of views. Those characters being (of course) Lady Jane Grey, Gifford (Call him G), and King Edward. There are several other characters that deserve mentioning because their roles in this book are what makes this book the amazing book that it is. These characters are Bess, Mary, Gran and Gracie and each of these characters are memorable and some are even ....absolutely...unmistakably ....hilarious.
Lady Jane is my favorite character in the entire book simply because she loves...no she is OBSESSED with books and I simply adore that. She is a book lover and expresses her love for books all throughout the book and I found myself smiling every time she mentioned her love of books because it was like she was describing me and that this book was written JUST FOR ME!!!!
"Jane, as we mentioned earlier, loved books. There was nothing she relished more than the weight of a hefty tome in her hands, each beautiful volume of knowledge as rare and wonderful and fascinating a the last. She delighted in the smell of the ink, the rough feel of the paper between her fingers, the rustle of sweet pages, the shapes of the letters before her eyes. And most of all, she loved the way that books could transport her from her otherwise mundane and stifling life and offer the experiences of a hundred other lives. Through books she could see the world."
Probably one of my favorite things about this book is that nothing is as it seems.....and I mean NOTHING.... The story and the characters all have secrets and I was fascinated at each turn of the page when a new secret was revealed. When I say I was completely mesmerized with this story....I WAS COMPLETELY MESMERIZED. The story was so engaging and the reader will find themselves completely absorbed in every aspect of this thrilling story. The entire story was so full of humor and so entertaining and then at the perfect moment the story would turn serious and fascinating. My Lady Jane is ....literally....perfectly written.
The fantasy aspect that the authors intertwined into this historical fiction only added to the book to make it phenomenal. I'm trying not to give away any secrets that will spoil the book for anyone but let me say that the "Edians" or "animals" that are introduced in the story are incredible and make the story what it is. I am a huge fan of animals and was cheering for each and every one of them!!
Another favorite part of My Lady Jane was where the authors would add commentary and would "explain what was going on"..I seriously loved this and the humor that it added to the story. I felt like the authors were reading my mind. I mean...can you tell that I absolutely LOVED this book??????
My Lady Jane is full of laugh out loud humor, fascinating historical fiction, thrilling magic, swoon-worthy romances and characters that will pull at your heart and bring you into the story so much that you will be turning pages late into the night and you will not want this book to end!!
KUDOS to all of you Lady Janies!!!! WOW! What a book!!!
2. Fascinating Historical Fiction
3. Thrilling Magic
4. Swoon-worthy Romances
Lady Jane Grey is sixteen years old and about to be married off to a total stranger, thanks to her cousin King Edward VI. What Edward doesn’t know is that he has unwittingly put his closest advisor’s plans in motion to rob Edward of his own throne. Jane is about to become Queen of England and has to contend with ruling a kingdom on the brink of war, prevent her evil father-in-law from seeking more power, and somehow care for her new husband – who is a horse. Yeah.
Badass co-authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows have rewritten the tragic tale of Lady Jane Grey and given it a vibrant twist, which only vaguely resembles actual history. This is the happy ending that Lady Jane Grey truly deserves … with a hint of magic along the way.
I did not mean to read this book.
What I mean by that is that when I had borrowed it from the library, I had no idea what the book was about. As I am a MASSIVE fan of British history, I had simply glanced at the title, ascertained it was about Lady Jane Grey, and promptly borrowed it. When I began reading the novel, to say I was confused would be a drastic understatement. Jane’s husband Gifford is a … horse? Um…?
After a few moments of confusion, I read the blurb in the front cover and could not stop laughing. What on earth had these authors done to my favourite period of history? In the end, I just shrugged and decided to read the book anyway, perhaps for a laugh. It never occurred to me that I might actually like this book and it certainly never occurred to me that I would love it.
My Lady Jane is the best book I have read so far, this year. For a while, that honour went to Peter Darling by Austin Chant, but, I’m sorry Peter, you’ll have to move over and make room for Jane.
The plot of My Lady Jane was such a distinct and exciting tale. This eccentric book had rewritten history to include a system of magic that featured shapeshifters. These shapeshifters were called the Eðians (don’t ask me how to pronounce that, I forgot), who, I believe, were symbolic of the Protestant faith. It did not escape my notice that this book completely disregarded and removed the violent struggle between the Protestants and the Catholics, which was a significant reason as to why Lady Jane Grey became Queen – over Mary, Edward’s sister – in the first place. Edward, a Protestant himself, needed a Protestant successor and could not chose his sister Mary, who was a volatile Catholic. Another reason as to why Jane became Queen was due to Edward’s advisor, John Dudley, who desired more power and took advantage of the failing health of Edward VI by marrying his youngest son to Jane, and convinced Edward to change the line of succession to accede Jane (Edward’s cousin) over Mary, who was next-in-line to the throne.
For those who don’t know their history, Jane ruled for just nine days before the Privy Council turned against her and proclaimed Mary the true Queen of England. Several months later, Jane and her husband Guildford where executed, under Mary’s order. She was 16, he was 19. This novel works as an alternate version of history, where the co-authors attempt to correct the tragic end to Lady Jane Grey’s life by giving her the Happily Ever After she deserved.
In My Lady Jane, Princess Mary abhorred all Eðians and wanted to burn them at the stake, as opposed to the Protestants she actually had burnt at the stake. John Dudley convinced Edward to name Jane his successor because she was a supporter of the Eðian race and would protect them. Edward did as he was told and so and accidently brought about his own doom.
The novels shifted between the perspectives of Jane, Edward and Gifford – also called G – who became Jane’s husband (yes, the noble steed). The POVs all felt very distinctive and individual, which must be attributed to the admirable writing. I could not pick up on any difference in writing styles between the three authors, and the writing flourished as a result.
I simply adored Jane’s character. The co-authors were very accurate in their representation of Jane in that she was a proficient reader, but they also kept in mind the societal expectations for women during the Tudor period. In the novel, and in real life, Jane could always be found behind a book, scandalous for that era; she was considered a humanist and an incredibly learned young lady, but she was still expected to know her place and rely on men to make the decisions that affected her.
I connected with Jane on such an emotional level, in part due to what I know about her from history, but mainly through her excellent characterisation. When the tense struggle scenes occurred, I only wanted to bundle her in my arms and protect her from the world (I know for a fact she would not have appreciated that). As the novel drew closer to July 19 – the day Jane was de-throned in real history – the faster my panic had set in. I could not have predicted how much I would come to care for Jane and I sorely wanted that happy ending for her, the one she was unable to receive in real life.
Jane’s husband, G, was an absolute delight, and such a poetic soul. He was very protective, loving, and hilarious. I looked forward to his comical chapters because I knew they would not disappoint. It has been a long time since I shipped a couple so hard and with all my heart, but I wanted G and Jane to get together from the very beginning. Their enemies-to-lovers romance (not true enemies, more antagonists) flowed naturally and realistically. I simply adore books that develop the romance element so well.
G struggled with accepting Jane as his queen and ruler. For those like me who are powerful feminists, this continual issue could get a little dry, but we have to remember the period in which this book is set. G’s anger to Jane refusing to name him king is understandable; it also doesn’t hurt that all of the male characters go through a significant change in attitude regarding women; an awakening of sorts. Don’t let the issues surrounding gender roles get to you too much. The women of this novel, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Edward’s grandmother and Gracie, were the true heroes of the story.
At the beginning of the novel, I didn’t care much for Edward, but that was not his fault. After all, he was the King and had been raised to expect the world to fall in line for him. He could come across as quite sexist, a little rude and very naïve, but, by the half-way point of the book, I fell in love with him. It is almost impossible not to pity his circumstances and get angry on his behalf. I genuinely wondered how the co-authors would alter Edward’s storyline, and I have to say, it was the perfect end to his story. I don’t think any other happy ending would have worked as well.
To fully enjoy and appreciate My Lady Jane, you should not take it seriously. The novel is very self-aware and knows how ridiculous it is, but that is what makes it fantastic. Take it from a me, a hardcore British history buff. If I can enjoy this book, anyone can.
For those still on the fence, just look at the dedication:
“For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door.
And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history.”