Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

myladyjane

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Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

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First.. How do three authors even get together and write a book? And then make the various different perspectives seem seamless. And also make sure the humor stays on point throughout. I wasn’t quite sure how it would work out, but these ladies proved me wrong, because this book is so entertaining and laugh out loud funny.

This book maybe titled My Lady Jane, but it’s is still more about King Edward and his personal growth. He is a young man who was thrust onto the throne too early in his life and has never shown much inclination towards his responsibilities. He lets his advisers manage the ruling and is quite an entitled brat who thinks he deserves to be King because he is a man, but he is still loving and compassionate.. most of the times. Only when the betrayals are revealed does he begin to realise his faults and slowly changes into a better, responsible person. Thankfully, he also evolves into someone who believes in the wisdom and the strength of the women around him and comes to value their opinions immensely.

Jane and Gifford are the IT couple of this story – forced into an arranged marriage and unbeknownst to them, the center of the conspiracy to dethrone the rightful King. Theirs is a very slow burn relationship and I loved the evolution of it throughout the story. Despite him being a man for only half a day and Jane preferring the company of books, they come to respect each other while helping poor people in need and also their common ideas about uniting the Edians and Verities and bringing prosperity to the country. It’s a relationship built on trust and mutual respect, and they do occasionally have pillow fights, but it’s a sweet development from friendship to love.

We also have other wonderful ladies who play a major role in the plot – Mary, the eldest sister who wants the throne for herself; Bess, the second sister who wants whats best for the kingdom and people and vows to restore her brother to his rightful throne; Pet (aka Petunia) who is always right there risking her life to protect Edward; Gracie, the foxy Scot who is quick with her knives and maybe likes Edward, but is not sure of her feelings for a King. Bess was my favorite of the lot – compassionate, thoughtful, intelligent and strategic, she really has great plans for the prosperity of the people. And the ending plot twist was definitely very very unexpected and had me grinning because of the way the authors were able to connect this wierd fantasy tale towards that conclusion.

The authors really deserve all the points for writing this fantastic tale. The conflict between the Edians (shape shifters) and Verities (humans) in this fantasy is essentially an allegory for the Catholics vs Protestant conflicts of the 16th century. We are almost aware from the beginning, which parts of the tale are true and which are made up, but that never takes us away from the enjoyment of the tale itself. The authors’ snarky commentary throughout is a delight to read and definitely made it more unique. Right from a nod to Titanic in the dedication to Game of Thrones to the conspiracy theories surrounding the original author of Shakespeare’s works, there are a lot of pop culture references, but they feel very integral to the story and are on brand with the humorous take on history.

If you like your historical fiction reads to be authentic to the actual history, then this book is not for you. If you are ready to suspend your belief and have a lot of fun reading a hilarious take on Tudor history with lots of interesting female characters, then this book is perfect for you. Pick this up when you are in need of something to make you forget all your worries. This will definitely make you smile.

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