Can three authors collectively re-write history? If the authors are Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows, the answer is a resounding YES! My Lady Jane is a smart, clever, humorous MUST for your summer reading list. Find out why:
From the book flap:
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.
Like that could go wrong.
Overall: Let me start by saying for the record that My Lady Jane is (loosely) based on true events, but there are some elements to this story that are pure fiction. For instance, there were no humans who could turn into animals during the reign of King Edward VI. But there was a real Lady Jane Grey, who was known to be an extremely learned young lady who preferred books to parties. The real Lady Jane, also known as the Nine-Day Queen, unexpectedly went from cousin to young King Edward, to Queen, to DEAD, in quick succession. Not exactly the Sweet Sixteen a girl dreams of. It’s no wonder Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows decided that Lady Jane’s history deserved a revised third act.
The Lady Jane Grey of our story is faced with similar circumstances as the real Nine-Day Queen. She’s married off at age 16, her cousin the King is dying and she finds herself very suddenly shoved onto the throne. But what happens next is completely up to Ashton, Hand and Meadows. The England they create has magic, a quick witted narrator and more than a little romance. I adored Lady Jane. There is hardly a scene in this book where Jane doesn’t have a book in hand- she’a girl after my own heart! Jane is smart and isn’t afraid to speak her mind which is just as important now as it was in the 16th century when most women’s life goals were marriage and a male heir before age 18. Jane is still limited by the circumstances of her birth, but she uses her brains to work within these confines.
The authors (who call them Lady Janies) manage to blend humor, fantasy and romance into a historical novel and not have it feel like a history lesson. My Lady Jane is a fun romp that’s the perfect cure for a stale summer reading list. After reading My Lady Jane guaranteed you’ll want to learn more about the real Lady Jane AND the three real women who re-wrote her story.
Judge a Book by its Cover: The US cover pictures our Lady Jane in all her 16th century finery, slyly looking over her shoulder likes she knows something we don’t. It’s the handwritten asides around Jane’s image that let us know that this isn’t a history text. (And don’t miss the Easter Egg on the spine!)
The UK cover features Lady Jane with a clever smirk on her face next to a man with a horse head, which is kinda perfect. Trust me, this all makes sense after you read the book.
Me Talk Pretty: The tale is old, but the language is fairly modern. This isn’t like reading Old English (thank goodness). For you audio book fans, My Lady Jane will be available as an audio book June 7th, the same day the hardcover is released. It will be narrated by Katherine Kellgren, the reader of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
He Said/She Said: There is plenty of witty banter between the characters in My Lady Jane. But it’s the narrator(s) quippy asides that really set the tone for this book. For instance:
“Yes, it’s a tragedy, if you consider the disengagement of one’s head from one’s body tragic. (We are merely narrators, and would hate to make assumptions as to what the reader would find tragic.)”
“But from this point on, dear reader, we are going deep, deep. abyss-to-the-inner-crust-of-the-earth deep into the stuff the historians don’t want you to know about, the stuff they will go to extreme lengths to hide. (Because can you imagine the cost and hassle of rewriting all of the history books?)”
“For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door. And for England. We’re really sorry for that we’re about to do to your history.”
Don’t Believe the Hype: A book with three authors which re-tells a historical tale could easily be more concept than substance. But not this book. My Lady Jane delivers! According to the Lady Janies website, there is already a movie in the works.
Bizarre Love Triangle: My Lady Jane is a comedy of errors. So while there are romantic mishaps, they are mostly of mistaken nature, not the Duel-to-the-death-for-the-honor-of-the-fair-maiden variety.
Open tab/Last call: Let’s make it a four-some for pints of English ale if the Lady Janies will have me!
My Lady Jane will be out June 7, 2016 by HarperCollins, 490 pages. You can pre-order here.