Title: My Lady Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Release Date: 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?
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
My Lady Jane was the book I received in my June Owl Crate box, and I am so so glad I did. Without it I don’t know if I would have picked this book up for myself and that would have been a massive mistake because My Lady Jane is an amazing story with an amazing take on the tale of Jane Grey.
I’ll admit I don’t know much about history’s Jane Grey, I learnt about her in school but only as a prequel of sorts to the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. After all, what can you say about someone who was only on the throne for a handful of days before losing her head. The authors of this story though weren’t satisfied with that ending for Jane so they gave her a new one and, in my opinion, a better one.
Jane doesn’t want to get married, she has already faced four failed attempts by her parents to wed her off and she herself is perfectly content spending her days with her books. However when her cousin Edward finds out he is dying, leaving the throne of England without a suitable heir because he knows Mary cannot be the one to succeed him, he plans to marry Jane off and name her male children as his heirs. So Jane and Gifford Dudley find themselves attending their own wedding without ever having laid eyes on each other, and without Jane learning her intended husband spends his days as a horse.
Before long though Edward takes a turn for the worse and there’s no more time for Jane to have any children to take the throne. Edward is gone, Jane is sitting on the throne, and Mary is amassing an army to march on London. And this is where the history book is thrown out the window; Edward, Jane, Gifford and a few others they trust begin to plot against Mary to take back the throne before she can launch her attack on the Eðian’s. But Mary has the Tower of London, the crown and an army, all Jane and Gifford have on their side is luck and a few Eðian’s.
One thing that I loved about this book, and from reading other reviews everyone else agrees, was the humour. The first part of the book was full of it, but in the second it seemed to fade into the background; which I understand. There was so much happening in the second part in terms of the plot and the character development but I still would have liked to see a little more of the humour that made me love this book.
Jane doesn’t want to get married, and finding out about her upcoming nuptials to Gifford are made all the worse when she discovers her cousin and best friend Edward is dying. Jane’s first love remains her books, and she is incredibly smart thanks to all the reading she does. She may not have experienced everything first hand but she knows a lot about a lot of subjects, and her knowledge comes in handy when herself and Gifford find themselves facing down bears, or ruling over the country, or trying to control the change from human to Eðian.
Gifford is a very devil-may-care character but not in a rebellious way. He spends half his life as a horse and has never really tried to live up to the expectations his father has for him (he leaves that to his older brother) or tried to control his change. Like Jane Gifford is not thrilled to hear of their approaching marriage but he doesn’t have much more choice in the matter than she does. Instead he tries to make the best of the situation.
Once they get past the awkwardness of their marriage, and how Jane discovers Gifford’s Eðian “quirk”, the two start to form a tentative friendship. But when Edward passes and Jane takes the throne there’s a divide that develops between them; how can Gifford rule by Jane’s side if he spends half his life as a horse? The two both want their marriage to work, and they both start to feel something more for the other, but there always seems to be something standing in their way.
Edward could have been a great king if he’s been allowed to grow older than sixteen. He isn’t a power hungry tyrant like Mary but he also isn’t a natural ruler like Elizabeth. Instead he is the same as a lot of other sixteen year old boys would be, too busy thinking of girls and having fun to pay attention to ruling a country. After he discovers he’s dying, and later after Mary takes his throne, he seems to grow up a lot more and starts thinking of his people.
Everyone knows how Jane Grey’s story goes in real life. She rules for a handful of days after Edward dies before Mary takes back the throne and kills her. Not really the makings for a happy story. But despite all the changes the authors made in My Lady Jane, for the most part, the history itself is still accurate, just with a little bit of magic added in. While the setting doesn’t really take precedence in this book we still see little glimpses of it, and of course the Tower of London plays a large part in Jane’s story. I do wish we’d been given more information on the E∂ian’s. While they are everyday for the characters in this book I, as a reader, would have liked to learn more about where they came from and how their magic’s worked because it’s something that seemed to affect everyone in so many different ways.
My Lady Jane is told not only from Jane’s perspective but from Gifford’s and Edward’s as well, which I think gave us a unique look at everything that unfolded to all three characters. It’s a hilarious book and although I don’t know if I would have picked it up for myself I’m glad I received it in my Owl Crate box because it’s a brilliant read and I highly recommend it.
What did you think of My Lady Jane? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.