I have always harbored a not-so-mild obsession with Tudor history, and in particular the tragic Lady Jane Grey, the sixteen-year-old known as “The Nine Days Queen.” Caught up in machinations way over her head and outside of her inclinations, Lady Jane sat on the throne after the untimely death of her cousin Edward the Sixth (also only 16) for nine days before Mary Tudor and her supporters claimed the throne and title Queen of England. Known as Bloody Mary for the sheer number of executions carried out under her reign, one of the first heads she ordered to roll was poor Lady Jane’s.
If, like me, you thought that ending to a brief life and tragic tale was totally unfair and royally sucked, you will most likely love the new novel, “My Lady Jane” which finally sets the record straight. That is to say, what her story would have been if written by three gifted, bestselling, and slightly twisted YA authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.
Their England is a magical place (of course), blessed with shapeshifters known as Edians. Of course not, everyone likes the Edians, because there have always been haters, and haters gonna hate. These unmagical haters are called Verities, and their favorite past-time is burning shapeshifters at the stake. King Henry VIII was Edian himself, a looming, roaring, red-maned lion, so under his rule, the Edians were protected (mostly). Although Edward the Sixth hadn’t demonstrated any magical abilities himself, he was content to leave the status quo and left the Edians alone.
But as in real life, Edward was sickly with “The Affliction” and was subject to gross manipulation, in particular, one Lord Dudley. Dudley knew Edward was close with his cousin Jane Grey, Dudley had a son…and well, you know the rest. What history books don’t tell you is that Dudley’s son Gifford, Guildford, or Gilford – oh, just call him “G” was an Edian, and a cursed one at that. Doomed to be a horse from sun-up to sun-down, G took pleasure in the evenings doing what a young stallion would do in his situation – sow his wild oats. Marriage was the last thing on his mind.
Jane, a red-haired, iron-willed, free thinker, and lover of books (she takes 15 books with her – at least- on a 5-day journey, for example) is a heroine after my own heart (if she already didn’t have it). Marriage is the last thing on her mind as well. But you know how those wily court manipulators are and before you can say “I do” G and Jane were wedded.
What follows is an adventure full of comedy, magic, buckles and swashes, featuring a young king trying to escape death by finding his wings, a couple with shapeshifter troubles, the likes you haven’t seen since “Ladyhawke,” an evil queen, a stinky grandmother, strong feisty women, crafty courtiers, and packs of shady shapeshifters. I know – sounds crazy, and it is, but in the best possible way.
Though written by three different authors, the book is absolutely seamless; there is no telling where one author starts and another stops. Stay away from beverages whilst reading as some of the one liners are spit-take worthy. The romance is subtle yet quite genuine, and the build up to G and Jane’s “special hug” will remind you of your own first young love. That is, if your first young love came with curses and horses.
Clocking in at 512 pages, the book was a runaway train – you can’t put it down, and those 512 pages turn out to not nearly be enough. I have already tweeted the authors, who are now collectively known as the Lady Janies, for a sequel. Please read this book so you can tweet them and beg for a sequel too.
While on YouTube, check out the Lady Janies explaining How To Win At Being A Woman in Tudor England as well.
Enjoy your journey, watch out for fan Easter eggs, and of course, as always, have fun storming the castle.