My Lady Jane retells the story of Jane Grey, who was queen of England and Ireland for nine days before being beheaded. In this version though, authors Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows give Jane a happier and funnier ending. Instead of being executed for treason she gets to fight back, fall in love with her husband and escape death riding a horse, who happens to be a cursed human.
I think the best part of this book is the twist of adding magic to history. Instead of putting Jane in the middle of a religious conflict, she’s there to defend the Edians – people with the magical ability to transform themselves into an animal.
The start of the plot goes, more or less, as history tells. King Edward VI is mortally ill and doesn’t want to leave the throne to Mary or Elizabeth, of House Tudor, but instead nominates Jane as successor in his will. And that’s basically the only resemblance to reality.
From this point we get to see how King Edward discovers someone is trying to steal his throne, how Jane gets married to a stranger before being asked to be Queen and how Lord Dudley turns into a horse everyday at dawn. The book is written from their three points of view.
I think the story works really well this way because we get to fall in love with each character, even if they are not exceptionally memorable. I found them so likable I kept reading for hours, engrossed by the danger around them, hoping all of them would get a happy ending. It did not feel like a 500 pages book at all.
It was a fast and easy read, quite silly at times. And that’s the kind of humor I like.
But I probably would have liked it better if there weren’t obvious references to other works. Though I like Monty Python, I think subtler references to their comedy would have been more enjoyable. Instead we get dialogues like “Your mother was a hamster, and your father stank of elderberries“, which is almost word by word a fragment from Monthy Python and the Holy Grail.
Another thing that got me out of the story a couple of times was the narrator’s insistence on stepping in. Even if their comments were trying to complement the narrative or give a piece of historical trivia, their interruptions felt forced and slowed the pace. It broke the immersion for me to abruptly have them addressing me as ‘the reader‘. They probably could have found a better way to give the same bits of information without making an appearance themselves.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed My Lady Jane. I got to learn a little about history and life in the XVI century –or how it would have been if there was magic-. And, after all, this is a comedy book. It made me giggle and chortle at times. I didn’t fall off my bed laughing as some early reviewers did, but its Princess Bride vibe was enough to make it noteworthy.
I didn’t know historical fiction / comedy / romance was a book genre, but I want more. I’m surprised this book was not a big deal among young adults since, I think, it has a little bit of everything. I would definitely recommend it to fans of silly comedy and monarchy books. It would work great to get someone out of a reading slump.
My Lady Jane is not to be taken seriously. Read it if you are looking for a fun and lighthearted book, with a bit of magic and a cute romance.
- image credit ladyjanies.blogspot.com
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