Published by Walker Books on 1st September 2016
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Love & Romance, Retelling, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
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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.
You may have heard of Lady Jane Gray, Britain’s Nine Day Queen. But you have never heard her story quite like this before. My Lady Jane (the not entirely true story) is a take on how the authors think Jane’s story should have gone. A few facts combined with A LOT of artistic license makes this humorous and extraordinary novel a different take on history.
I think the best way to describe this book would be to call it Tudor fanfiction. Written by three big names in YA literature, the authors give us a story about a girl obsessed with books, a terminally ill king and a young man with an equestrian situation. This is history but not as it has been told before. With King Edward VI dying, he needs to choose a successor. His sisters would be next in line but their political affiliations make him question who should be next in line for his throne. His cousin Jane Gray’s future child would make the perfect heir but there is a problem. Not only is she not pregnant but she’s not even married. The solution? Marry her off to a horse…
The characters in this book read like somewhat typical modern day teenagers. You know if today’s youth were ruling countries or turning into noble steeds in the daylight. This isn’t a book which reads like a historical novel. It’s contemporary in they language and behaviour with just the occasional nod to propriety. Jane is a modern woman of her time valuing education and equality. I enjoyed the contrast of her book smarts to her new husband’s practicality. The court scheming is fun and brings a nice touch of danger and excitement. Gifford’s father is an adviser with an agenda and Edward’s sisters have their own plans for who should sit on the throne. I believe that truth is often stranger than fiction but in the case of Lady Jane Gray, this fictitious take on one of the lesser known Tudor Queens is more bizarre than anything historians could uncover.
This book is slightly ridiculous but in a way which which makes it an entertaining read. My Lady Jane doesn’t take itself too seriously due to its very loose ties to history. In this world Henry VIII could turn into a lion who would eat messengers bearing bad news (it brings a whole new meaning to The Lion King). Rumours of Anne Boleyn having a feline disposition flew rampant through the castle hallways. And King Edward marries his dear friend and cousin Jane Gray off to Gifford Dudley, a man who spends the hours between dawn and dusk on four legs consuming a diet of apples and hay. It is absurd but honestly so. Readers are told in the prologue that this is a book which borrows the parts of history the authors liked and they made up the rest. If you are looking for a historically accurate version of events – this book is not for you.
But if you enjoy reading fantasy tales set in sixteenth century England with romance and humour – look no further than Lady Jane Gray. The combination of shape shifting royalty and political mischief comes together in a fun and exciting way.
Many thanks to Walker Books Australia for the review copy.