My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brody Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Published: June 2016
Genre: young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
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?
Edward, King of England, is sixteen, dying, and just wants to be kissed, not sign a document stating who would take over the kingdom once he’s gone. But if anyone should rule it, of course it should be his cousin Jane! Jane, though, just wants to read books, not rule the country or be married off to a strange noble, Gifford, who acts quite suspiciously. Gifford has a reason to be odd: during the day, he turns into a horse! These three unfortunate souls are roped into a conspiracy for the throne, and for the destruction of Eðians (humans who transform into animals) for pure Verity (regular human) rule.
Do you recall from your history lessons the jumbled mess that was the English monarchy after Edward, son of Henry VIII? A brief recap: Lady Jane Dudley (nee Grey) was queen for nine days, then beheaded, then Mary (daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, also known as Bloody Mary) became queen, who later died and the crown went to Elizabeth (daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn). And what was the next hot topic in that time for these half-siblings and their reign? Religion. Will England be Protestant or Catholic?
Well, turn religion into magical abilities! Will England live in a “pure” Verity state, purging all Eðians, or will it live in tolerance? While that’s the serious question at stake here, this book is chock-full of hilarity.
I cannot tell you more than this, because about halfway through the book each character’s alternate history becomes even more alternate – a true deviation – and all sorts of fun adventures ensue. We encounter a Robin Hood-like band of characters, and one particularly “foxy” lady I’m just dying to have her own book. There are all sorts of pop culture references (Game of Thrones, The Princess Bride, Monty Python, and Shakespeare come to mind immediately) that add to the hilariousness of the book as well!
But why three stars? I’m sure if I read this faster, if there were more hours in the day, if I wasn’t slammed with work, if I wasn’t bitten by summer’s tendency to lounge around, I would’ve given this a higher rating. It took me almost four weeks to read this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it every time I opened it up and read each chapter. But I personally drew out this long book, making the whole experience even longer. For that, and only that, I had to knock it down a star. A re-read (and a fast one!) is most certainly in order for this book!
Can’t wait to see what these ladies create next!