Lady Jane Grey, a member of the Tudor royal family, suddenly found herself on the throne of England after the death of her best friend and cousin, King Edward, son of the infamous Henry VIII. Nine days later, she was no longer queen, but declared a traitor and send to the executioner’s block.
Before all this, Jane Grey was an innocent young girl who loved to read. Against her will, she was a political pawn used by her parents and then by members of the royal court. My Lady Jane, written by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, is a fantastical, comical retelling of Jane’s story, in which the authors turn history completely on its head to give the Nine Day Queen the happy ending she deserved.
Sixteen-year-old Jane is betrothed to Gifford (call him G) Dudley by her cousin, King Edward, who is dying from an unexpected illness. Neither Jane nor G is particularly happy about this situation; she wants to be left alone with her books and he doesn’t want people to know he spends his days as a horse. But when a conspiracy is revealed, it is up to Edward, Jane, and G to save England or die trying.
I made the book sound way darker than it actually is.
The writing of My Lady Jane was entertaining and comical. I would never have guessed three different people wrote it. The only time they acknowledged there were three is when the narrators addressed the reader, as if in a funny history book. It also made the story easy to read, despite it being over 400 pages. Although, on that note, the plot dragged at times, so maybe it could have been more condensed. Not that the page count took anything major away from the story.
As far as plot goes, it was fun and wrapped up nicely. The three POVs—Edward, Jane, and G—worked together to make the story. It was accurate to history, with a more fantastical element. Instead of Catholics vs. Protestants, you had the Edians, those like G, who could take on an animal form, and the Verities, those who could not shape-shift but feared the Edian magic. The authors changed most of English history in this novel for a more favorable outcome, but somehow they made it work.
I enjoyed every single one of the characters in My Lady Jane. Jane is smart and independent; she does not shy away from telling anyone off, including her husband G. But she is flawed. She has her moments where she is judgmental towards others, but she learns her lesson.
As for G, he comes into his own as well. He respects his wife, as well as develops the self-respect he initially lacks in the beginning of the novel. The two work exceedingly well together and they grow as a couple. Jane and G’s romance is extremely sweet.
While I love both Jane and G, of the three main characters, Edward had the best character development in my opinion. He starts out the book sexist, but the authors are fair to him because that is the world he grew up in. His father, Henry the VIII, passed over his two older children simply because they were female and left his throne to his only legitimate son. Edward also acknowledges that he was spoiled. He became King of England when he was only nine years old. For most of his rule, the members of his council controlled him without him realizing he was being manipulated. But when he meets an assortment of kick-ass females (there was plenty in this book, aside from Jane) and is confronted with the conditions of his kingdom, Edward grows into a different young man.
Overall, I give My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows 4.5 stars. It was a fun, funny, and entertaining read. I’m so glad I finally read it, just in time for the Lady Janies next book, My Plain Jane, coming out in June, that is a retelling of Jane Eyre with ghost hunting. So, as you can imagine, my expectations are high. And, of course, I recommend My Lady Jane.
Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think of it?