My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Published June 7th 2016
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?
I rated My Lady Jane 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
This review like, all my reviews, is spoiler-free.
My Lady Jane is a twisted history tale about Lady Jane Grey and the fortuitous (and dangerous) circumstances that led to her ascension to the English throne. Well, it was a brief ascension (nine days to be exact) but an ascension nonetheless. While this book is based on history and its power players, the resemblance doesn’t last long. There’s magic and intrigue and dramatically ironic references that make My Lady Jane a roaring good time.
The first thing to note about My Lady Jane is its classically dry wit. The characters are subtly snarky and never miss a chance to crack an insult, which left me in stitches for the majority of the book. I’m not even joking: I physically laughed while reading this book, which made reading this book in my university’s largely silent library interesting. There are so many Easter egg modern references sprinkled throughout the book that only added to the cheeky sense of humor.
I instantly connected with protagonist Jane because she, obviously like myself, loves to read. Half of the banter between Jane and Gifford (but as the narrators like remind us, call him G) centers around the fact that Jane never leaves the house, or castle, without a nose attached to her book. Her penchant for reading was written with a fresh spin however: she wasn’t a soft reader with a hankering for romance and fluffy fiction. Instead, Jane devoured books of all subject matter purely for the acquisition of knowledge. She read like a scientist, an explorer, which is a trait of which I want to read more.
The writers handled the masculine culture of the 1500’s fantastically by weaving in subtle feminist moments when the story called for them. I particularly enjoyed Jane’s quiet defiance of the patriarchal elements of society not because she wanted to do everything that the men around her could do, but because she wanted to have the ability to choose without judgment. Jane chose dresses over britches not because she was afraid of showing some scandalous ankle, but because she preferred gowns. The understated nods to feminist ideology were perfectly integrated throughout the book.
One of my favorite elements of the story was the nuanced love triangle between three of our principal characters. The tension between the characters was understated, but added a needed edge to their respective relationships while escalating the stakes. There was just enough evidence of divided affection to make the reader relatively certain of the happily-ever-after, but also question, “what if?”
Overall, My Lady Jane is a comical tribute to the tale of Lady Jane Grey that makes the reader what would’ve happened if our real-life heroine hadn’t gotten the axe.
Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think?
Related Post: Annie’s Friends Give Book Recommendations
This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.