“Dedication: 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.”
Hello everyone, I am back as promised with the light-hearted My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. This book was such a pleasure to read. It’s one of those novels where you just feel so good afterwards (a complete 180 to my last read which was It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover). My Lady Jane is fun, quirky, and totally quotable.
“On everyone’s lap rested a book. Any book. In case the wedding got boring.”
My Rating: A
Goodreads Synopsis: 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 is about to become the Queen of England.
Plot: This will be a spoiler free review, but this is a semi-historical novel. My Lady Jane follows the untold story of Lady Jane Grey and her nine-day rulership of England. However, it takes major liberties with the truth, adding the element of magic. Very early on, we find out that humans in this world can turn into animals. Sometimes they can control it, sometimes they can’t, but the execution of this idea is very well done throughout the novel. Our story begins with the dying King Edward, just fifteen. He engages his cousin Lady Jane Grey to his advisor’s son, Gifford Dudley, in order to shift the English line of succession away from his two half-sisters. The only problem is that Gifford, who prefers to be called G, turns into a horse every day as the sun rises and a man at night. This quickly becomes a predicament for the characters as Edward is ousted from his throne. The larger scheme of this novel is trying to reclaim the throne of England, which the authors make some changes to history in explaining how they think it happened vs. how it actually happened. Foremost, this is a love story. It is the tale of a few teenagers and those they are smitten with. It is also a coming of age as these characters try to figure out who they are outside the scope of their titles and families. I thought it was extremely well done. I particularly enjoyed their explanation for the “William Shakespeare Conspiracy” as I myself have wondered if Shakespeare really did write all of his plays.
“He pretended to stretch his arms, in order to shift even closer to her. (This isn’t in the history books, of course, but we’d like to point out that this was the first time a young man had ever tried that particular arm-stretch move on a young woman. Edward was the inventor of the arm stretch, a tactic that teenage boys have been using for centuries.)”
Characters: Lady Jane was particularly one of my favorite characters. She is a spitfire, book-loving passionate young woman. She completes a full transition as someone who is wary to trust others (particularity those she is engaged to) to be completely in love with her husband. G makes a transition from running from his problems to facing them head on. Edward contemplates whether the crown was ever something he really wanted. This is not my usual commentary on YA romance stories, but my favorite aspect of all of these characters was how they went about their romantic intentions. I know, I know, but think about it this way, if Leah-the-romantic-Grinch though this was adorable and swoon-worthy, it must be really good.
“He wanted to tell her she’d have more room if she’d just get rid of her books, but he supposed that in her case, it would be like telling a mother she’d have more room if she threw out her children.”
Overall: This was a really great read, especially since I felt pretty down after the last book I read. I plowed through it all in one day. It is just one of those reads that makes you feel good after. I am a big fan of retellings, but this is the first history retelling I have ever read. Based on My Lady Jane, I would definitely read another one. I loved the dialogue, how everyone was a little bit awkward but hilarious at the same time. The authors funny interjections, the lovable characters, the twists and turns, it was overall an amazing book.
Ending Rating: 9/10 The ending to this book was so cute and completely satisfying.
Would I recommend it? Yes, it was an overall great read.
Is this book on your to-read list? What do you think about historical twists in YA? Should history be rewritten in the form of a YA romance?