Title: My Lady Jane Series: The Lady Janies (#1) Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows Release Date: June 7, 2016 Publisher: HarperTeen Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy My Rating: 5 / 5
“Poor King Edward, now under the ground.
Hacked his lungs out. They’ve yet to be found.”
First things first: this book is a trip! Seriously, My Lady Jane is a story filled with elements that should not work together at all, but somehow do! I started reading the book not knowing exactly what to expect. I knew it was a humorous retelling of the infamous tale of the real-life Lady Jane Grey and her rapid rise and fall from glory. I even had a some knowledge of the events surrounding her nine-day reign as the Queen of England… and I knew things did NOT end well. As I started this book, I wondered exactly how the authors would turn such a dark, violent story into something… funny.
But guess what? They totally did, and nailed it!
“Put down the book.” She wanted to look away, as he seemed distracted from holding the trousers in place, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the book. What if he hurt it? What if he followed through with his threat?
“No horse jokes,”he said.
“My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book—unharmed!—I will give you a carrot.”
As I said, this book takes a bloody and chaotic time in English history and turns it into a romantic comedy. I’m not sure why the authors thought this would be a good idea, but I’m incredibly glad they did. There wasn’t one moment where I wasn’t entertained or invested completely in the fates of each character. There was just enough reality to make it familiar, but with the added element of magic and tweaking of the story made it feel fresh and new.
This story follows the historical plot somewhat, but it also veers off into its own direction; it never takes itself too seriously, which is a key element to all the fun. I don’t want to talk about what happens, because it’s better to discover it as you read. I enjoyed finding out how the plot veered away from the original account, though it doesn’t matter if you know that or not. What this book has in abundance is scheming, attempted murder, and characters turning into animals. Also, humor. I laughed and giggled my way through the whole thing.
There are two romances at play and no love triangles. Jane and Dudley are one one, obviously. But I won’t tell you who’s involved in the other one. I liked both of these romances a lot, though I would have gone for more kissing. A few things did get a little crazy in the second half. I couldn’t figure out why the white bear plot was in there, for instance. And though the asides amused me, they slowed down the story in places. But those are minor things in a book that I enjoyed wholeheartedly.
My Lady Jane has three authors, and along with that, three narrators: We have Lady Jane Grey, for whom the story is named. Her favorite pastime is reading, but whose isn’t? There’s young King Edward, who’s not been feeling so well lately. (You don’t want to know how that ends in real life). And finally, we have Jane’s future husband, Lord Gifford Dudley, who would rather be a horse most days, which is good, because he is a horse every day. I’m not sure that I could pick a favorite narrator of the three. They each have their own distinct voices and personalities, but their narratives blend together seamlessly.
My Lady Jane is fresh, fun and fantastically delightful in every way. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.