Weekend Reads #73 – My Lady Jane (A Not-So-Historical Fiction)

Posted June 11, 2016 by Lillian in Reviews / 2 Comments

Weekend Reads

Happy Saturday everyone! I know I’m getting this post up a little late. It’s been one of those weeks ? This past week I read My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows and let me tell you it was not at all like I expected it to be. If you’re looking for a fun read for your week, I highly suggest this one!

I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Weekend Reads #73 – My Lady Jane (A Not-So-Historical Fiction)My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Published by HarperTEEN on 2016-06-07
Length: 512 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Initial Reaction

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows took me by surprise. I loved the quirky, dry humor of the narrators, the fantastical spin on history, and of course Jane. However it was super long, like 512 pages (that’s nothing for me) but it was long-winded and alternated between a slow and fast pace. There were times that I couldn’t turn the page fast enough and other times I caught myself falling asleep while reading. So to say my feelings about My Lady Jane are mixed is an understatement.

The Not-So Historical Fiction

The story of Lady Jane Grey is infamous in Great Britain’s history. She’s known as the “nine day queen” after she inherited the throne from her cousin Edward Tudor when he revised the line of succession, effectively cutting his older sisters out of the line. According to history, Mary (aka “Bloody Mary”) took back the throne and later beheaded the young Jane. This is the history. In My Lady Jane, the authors take great liberty in remaking the story. Essentially, part one of the book is historical in nature, following what we all know, then part two deviates from what we know and creates an alternative to what is in the history books.

To be honest, I like the spin the authors gave to the story. I liked the alternative history, where the characters who all died in history live different lives and how different those lives are. They took an extremely sad story and gave the characters a happily ever after. Now to do this they kind of spit the face of history, but as I’m not British I did not take offense. I’ve read a few negative reviews and can understand why some things were taking offensively. But I personally enjoyed it 😀

Taking a Fantastical Approach to the Historical Politics of the Time

Not only did the authors alter history in their retelling of the nine day queen’s life, they also took the liberty of adding a fantasy element to the story. During the time of Queen Jane’s rule, their was great religious upheaval. Edward Tudor was known for his work in the Protestant Reformation and made great strides despite the tension with the Catholics. When his sister Mary took the throne, she led a persecution of anyone who did not profess their faith to the Catholic church, hence her nickname “Bloody Mary.”

In this story, the authors have made it Verities (Catholics) and E∂ians (Protestants). The Verities are humans who are “pure” and cannot turn into animals. The E∂ians have a human form and an animal form. Personally this was really interesting. I found it neat to see the characters in animal form and why they became that particular animal.

Edward, Jane, and G

What really made this book great though were the main characters. Edward is 16, dying and the King of England. Throughout the book he laments the fact that he is 16, never been kissed, and will likely never kiss anyone. He is a sweet, naive character that I really felt for as you see what happens to him. Jane is a character that any book lover will like. She is described as always having her nose in a book and she treasures books more than anything else. G though is my favorite character. He is cursed, a horse by day and human by night. His plight is one I felt for and I fell in love with him as the story progressed.

My Conclusion

If you are looking for a true historical fiction, this isn’t it! If you are looking for a book that will make you laugh, reminds you of a cross between The Princess Bride and Monty Python than this is what you’re looking for! Quite simply put, I adored this book. While it was a bit long-winded (like my review), it was still good. I enjoyed the alternative history and the happily ever after for these characters.

Final Conclusion:

About Brodi Ashton

First-time author Brodi Ashton received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Utah and a master's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. Brodi has an active following on her blog, which can be found at www.brodisashton.blogspot.com. She lives in Utah with her family.

About Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series with HarperTeen: UNEARTHLY, HALLOWED, RADIANT (an enovella) and BOUNDLESS. Currently she lives in southern California with her husband and two small children. She teaches courses in creative writing at Pepperdine University. Her latest book, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, was released in February 2015. Her next novel, MY LADY JANE, (cowritten with Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows) will hit shelves on June 7, 2016.

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a cat, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.

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