My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows (2016)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Historical
Reading Time: 29/05/17 – 31/05/17
I went into this book not expecting much and I came out with everything! This book was a fantastic adventure and I loved every second. The writing style meant that I was able to get totally sucked in and didn’t realise how late it had become during my evening reading sessions.
If you don’t know what this is about it is a very, very, very loose retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey, I say loose because I think about 5% of this was actually accurate. Initially I was sceptical about a retelling of a woman who met such a tragic end, especially as this was a comedy; but in actual fact I felt this gave Lady Grey the ending she deserved and empowered her even more through the storytelling. Each of the main characters had chapters from their point of view and so you got to see the story from multiple angles, which worked really well.
I would love this to be one that people study one day, but I feel like it may not quite get there. But the references and writing style are so interesting to pull apart, I kept jotting down my favourite lines, one of which being: ‘we’d fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read’. Jane’s husband G thinks of himself as a wordsmith and keeps coming out with lines that I believe have already been written by other famous figures, for me this made the comedy of this book. I loved G as a character, his chapters were my favourite because he grew as a character and become someone who I didn’t want to not read about. His poetry was hilarious and I’m pretty sure one of the lines he ‘wrote’ was a quote from Hamilton, so another point given to this fantastic book.
It is made very clear that this book is an alternative history in which the royal family and other members of society have the ability to transform into animals. At first I was questioning how this would play into the story, but by the end of the book I was wondering what animal I would be and I loved this side of the book. It was interesting that this conflict replaced the one between Catholics and Protestants. You could definitely see this storyline mirroring that of actual events, but perhaps in a more metaphorical way. I thought this made it even more clever, whilst it was a comedy, you could still see the serious issues at hand.
It is safe to say that this book is an experience and has me wanting to read more about the Tudor period, although I’m not sure if they will turn into animals in other books. I loved the characters and how personable they suddenly came to be. People you read about in history books have the disadvantage of turning into who they are in an old painting and remaining that in your head. But these characters came to life and gave value to the people I had heard so much about, even if the information wasn’t accurate, I can still pretend it was. . . right?
I have kept this spoiler free because I want people to read this review and then pick up a copy of this book. It was truly superb and I enjoyed every second of reading it, I haven’t lost myself this much in a book for a long time. The perfect mix of history and fantasy!