“My Lady Jane”
By Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
Published June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
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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.
The dedication for “My Lady Jane” expertly sets the tone for this book: “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”. From that page forward it’s an absolute riot.
This book takes the rather tragic real life story of Lady Jane Grey who was queen of England for only 9 days, and sort of flips it on its head. The three authors cleverly twist history and add a fantastical element where there are people who shape shift into animals (called Eðians) and a social tension between those who support them and those who don’t, which is clearly a parallel of the war between Catholics and Protestants of the period.
With three authors and three character POVs, I was a little worried about the flow of the book, but they seamlessly weave these characters and their stories together and keep the humour constant. If I didn’t know it was written by three authors, I wouldn’t have even noticed as there is no abrupt changes in the writing style at all.
It’s hard to express how humorous and clever this book is. Even though this is set in the 1500s, the authors still poke fun of the sexism and social etiquette of the time.
This is an absolute must-read… and re-read. I’ve been singing it’s praises since I finished it last week. If there’s only book you can read this year, I think this might be the one. Now go read it so we can love on it together.