Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows (The Lady Janies)
Release Date: 7th June 2016
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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 Jane is witty retelling. There are distinct differences of the three main characters and the twists the authors played on history are clever. Despite some of the flaws I found, I enjoyed it a lot and it did not bore me.
This book is about Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-Day Queen who was beheaded by Bloody Mary (Mary I of England). The story starts off with the narrator telling us a bit of the background of this historical retelling. The country is in conflict of two tropes—E∂ians, people who can turn into animals, and Verities, people who want to eradicate E∂ians. Sixteen-year-old King Edward VI of England is dying and he is advised by Lord Dudley to settle his will. With Dudley’s persuasion, Edward decided to give the throne to Jane and arranges a marriage between her and Gifford (call him G), Dudley’s son and an E∂ian.
The plot flows smoothly and there are a few plot twists. I like the shapeshifting idea and the authors did a good job blending it with history. But, I do think there is an overuse of the E∂ian element. A lot of the times, the troubles are solved by E∂ian, whether it is the help of one or it is some characters turning into animals. If they would make the shapeshifting ability a bit more precious, I think the plot would be even more interesting.
I like the writing of the three authors. The dialogues, description of the characters and what they would do remind me of The Princess Bride (I love the movie). I like Edward’s chapters best (I would like to know which author wrote them). The portrayal of his character is very real. I can feel how desperate he is as a 16-year-old boy who wants to experience everything he can before he dies. His chapters are also the funniest. As for Jane, I guess a lot of readers can relate to her because she loves reading, and for a woman in the 16th century, she does have the nerve to speak sarcastically and stand up for herself. I also think they interpreted the personality of the real Lady Jane Grey quite well.
“Little Jane, be reasonable.” Mary pressed her hands together. “What purpose will your death serve?”
“It will serve to prove that you do not control this kingdom. It will serve to prove that not everyone will bow down to you. You think to rule us with fear, but you cannot. I will never renounce my beliefs, or my husband.”
Yet, I found flaws in G’s character development. *spoilers* So it is revealed that he loves poetry and would go to poetry reading nights. However, after his marriage with Jane, it’s like he does not care if he can write poems or not. There’s no mention of him missing reading his poetry. It bugs me a lot. *end of spoilers* Flaws aside, I think G is the wisest of the three and I admire him for that.
I always avoid historical fiction because they are usually slow-paced and I lose interest in it fast, especially when I don’t know much about the history it is referring to. But, My Lady Jane is a spectacular historical retelling that is not boring at all. I didn’t know much about Lady Jane Grey before reading this book but it never made me unwilling to turn another page. If you love retellings and humour, it’s the book for you.