ARC Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows10:00
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Published September 1st 2016 by Walker Books
A comical, fantastical and witty re-imagining of the Tudor world, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger - and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that's the least of Jane's problems. She's about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
I'd heard so much about this book back in April/May time. The US ARC reviews were starting to come in, and every single one loved the book. When I heard that Walker would be publishing the UK edition, I immediately requested a copy, and was overjoyed when I heard I was approved. Literally, as soon as the book dropped through my letter box, I had it open, and didn't put it down until it was finished.
My Lady Jane follows the tumultuous time in which Lady Jane Grey became the nine day Queen of England. However, it's quite a fictionalised account. In reality, Edward VI died, and his chief minister, the Duke of Northumberland, organised for his daughter-in-law, Jane, to become queen, over Edward's sister Mary. Mary, not pleased with this development, organised an army, and took back the throne and Jane was executed in nine days. The true history is quite bleak; not the case in this book. While a lot of the dating, etc., is true, the main change is that there are the presence of a group of people, the Eðians, whom can shape shift into various animals. These Eðians have been persecuted in the past, but when Henry VIII reveals himself to be one, whom becomes a Lion, he breaks with the Verity Church at Rome, and England becomes a land for Eðians. Basically, the protestants of the time are now Eðians, and Catholics are Verities - that's how I looked at it. Lord Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland, orchestrated for the marriage between Jane and his youngest son, Gifford - also known as G - and then began poisoning the king to pave the way for a Dudley succession. The main issues, G was an Eðian, and spent all his time from dawn til dusk as a horse - not the best way to begin a marriage. G and Jane soon become close, even though they began their marriage hating each other, and everything seemed to be going great, until the announcement that Jane was now Queen.
First things first, can we just acknowledge the dedication:
I think I speak on behalf of England, that you are forgiven. If our history was really like this, so many more people would enjoy it. The Tudor period is my favourite era, and I loved this new look into it. BTW, history skims far too much over Jane, when really, more should be done to research her story.
Every single character we met in the book, some I know from history, and others new characters, were exactly like I'd imagine them to be.
- Edward was a bit sexist, and couldn't really do much for himself, but considering he'd been king since he was 9, and raised like a god simply because he had a XY chromosome, instead of XX.
- Mary was stuck up, and totally against the Eðians - just like the real life Mary I, known as Bloody Mary, who relished in the executions and burning of so-called Protestant heretics.
- Bess was carefree and kind, who loved her siblings, even if they didn't like her back. She was snarky, and had her own free will - exactly like she was when she was the Virgin Queen. I've just finished a module all about Elizabeth, and she's my favourite monarch we've ever had, so I'll always have a bit of a soft spot for her, but the authors did her justice, I think.
- Jane and G, I didn't know much about, but they worked, perfectly. Jane was bookish, and well learnt - she knew she would have to marry eventually, being the great granddaughter of Henry VII, and all. Her previous engagements had all fallen apart, and she expected this one to be no different. However, they still married, without ever seeing each other before. She only discovered G was a horse Eðian the day after the wedding, when he suddenly change in front of her. G never thought he'd marry, due to the whole horse thing, but his and Jane's marriage began rough, but grew better as the time past. Their romance was a gradual one, but very swoony, and even when it seemed like everything was against them, they overcame all the odds, and won.