Review: My Lady Jane (My Lady Jane #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Sometimes what you need to banish a book hangover is historical fantasy where Lady Jane Grey is married to a man who spends his days as a horse. My Lady Jane made me howl with laughter, but it also tackles issues of privilege, sexism, classism, and persecution.
About the Book
Publisher: HarperTeen | Release Date: May 9, 2017 | Pages: 491
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
This comical, fantastical, romantical, New York Times bestselling, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey is “an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind YA 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.
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This book is hilarious and exactly what I needed. I was suffering a bit from a book hangover after Crier’s War and needed something light, fun, and romantic. I wasn’t sure that this would hit the spot, but there’s something to be said for a book calling to you on your owned TBR. I loved this book with all of my heart… I am obsessed!
Despite what you might be thinking, this book is a standalone! The books in this series each reimagines the life of a famous historical Jane; My Lady Jane retells the history of Lady Jane Grey and how she came to be Queen of England for nine days following the death of her cousin, King Edward VI in 1535.
“But what could one person do? Nothing, he thought. One person could do nothing. So there was no point in being noble about it.”
I love the way that the authors reimagined this period of history into a fantastical world full of magic. This was a tense time in history: Catholicism had taken a blow during Henry VIII’s reign given his proclivity for many wives and the ensuing Protestant Reformation. But in My Lady Jane, it’s a matter of Edians versus Verities. Magical shapeshifters versus the regular folk.
Told in the alternating perspectives of our three main characters by fourth-wall (page?) breaking narrators/historians who are setting the record straight.
👗 Lady Jane Grey is the sixteen-year-old cousin and best friend of King Edward Tudor. She’s a bookworm and can always be found with a book or ten in her possession at all times. (Sooo relatable, but also based in historical fact!)
👑 Edward Tudor is the son of King Henry VIII and the sixteen-year-old King of England. He’s dying and all he wants is to kiss a girl with tongue, but his advisors are determined to make sure that he instead alter the line of succession to protect the Edian reforms put in place.
🐎 Gifford Dudley is the son of Edward’s advisor (thankfully without his enormous nose) and married to Lady Jane in order to produce male heirs to secure the new line of succession. Oh, and he spends his days as a horse.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I definitely wasn’t expecting Lady Jane Grey being married off, at the request of her best friend, to a man who spends his days as a horse, dying King Edward. But then she becomes queen (for nine whole days) before being overthrown.
“We’d fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read.”
With a plot as ridiculous sounding as this, it would be easy to dismiss this as a frivolous and stupid comedy that could have been penned by the folks responsible for Ace Ventura Pet Detective. But this book manages to toe the line between funny and serious perfectly. My Lady Jane made me howl with laughter, but it also tackles issues of privilege, sexism, classism, and persecution. The world that the authors crafted mirrors the one we know from history, just with magic, and it’s nothing short of special.
“They need signs of my strength, not my reliance on the men around me.”
I loved this book. This cast of characters. In the feminism at its core. At how being book smart is just as useful as being a fierce fighter. The fast-pace of the narrative and snappy dialogue. The story flows almost as if it’s being told to me around a campfire; as if it’s been told orally through the ages. I recommend this one to anyone who love banter, found families, and a dose of love.