Today I am reviewing a book that has made me laugh like no other before. I first heard about My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows from Regan over on her YouTube channel PeruseProject. A historical re-telling of a sort of forgotten figure in British history that’s also really funny? Sign me up! I was instantly intrigued by the premise of the story and ultimately really not disappointed. Keep reading to find out why I enjoyed it so much.
| Published: 2016 by HarperCollins | Hardcover Edition | Price: 16,99 € |
| 512 pages | ISBN: 9780062391742 |
Dearest Jane, sorry I made you marry a horse. Your father-in-law is trying to kill me. Send help.
This book is about the (not entirely true) story of Lady Jane Grey and how she became the Queen of England for nine days. Jane, who definitely likes books better than people, is the cousin and best friend of Edward Tudor, King of England, who’s very, very sick. When it becomes clear that he hasn’t got much longer to live and neither of his sisters would be suitable to inherit the throne, he arranges for Jane to marry Gifford Dudley (call him G), his advisor’s son, in order to produce an heir and secure the line of succession. Jane agrees only because she loves and wants to help her cousin, however, there’s a small, insignificant problem: Gifford is a horse.
He’s a so-called Eðian, a human able to shape-shift into an animal. In his case, the change is controlled by some mysterious curse so he is stuck in his equestrian form during the day and only becomes a man when the sun sets. As Jane has to deal with the problems of her new husband, there’s also the country on the brink of a civil war between Eðians and Verities, the non-shape-shifting people who are none too pleased with the wicked powers taking over their homeland.
I have the American hardcover copy and really, really like it but it’s also worth taking a look at the British cover. It’s very cute and matches the tone of the story really well!
“My lady, please! I am indecent.” “You are. Not to mention the fact that you are also unclothed.”
Writing, Plot & Characters
This is obviously what made the book so great. The writing is so incredibly witty and so consistently funny throughout the whole book that I had to laugh out loud many, many times. Judging from my experience, it’s very rare to find a story that is able to keep up the humor from start to finish. You definitely have to know what you’re getting into before starting to read this. You have to be in the right mood for it because it’s not supposed to be taken seriously and it makes fun of history pretty much all the time, so if you’re not someone who can enjoy something like that, you should probably skip this.
I am so impressed with what the authors made of the story. I personally had never heard of Lady Jane Grey before but I sure looked her up before starting the novel. I recommend you do the same if you consider reading it because it made me appreciate the plot and all the slightly twisted accounts of history so much more.
The story is told in third person but each chapter switches perspectives between Jane, Gifford and Edward. I love all three of them because they’re all so funny in their own unique way and because they still play well together. Although the main focus lies on the humor, there was still character development. They all had certain traits that distinguished them from others and their own smaller plot lines within the overarching plot.
Jane is pretty much me, just a lot braver. She kind of likes books a lot better than people, is sassy, snarky and totally up for a challenge. Gifford and Edward are more of the “adorable idiot” type while Jane is painted to be the strong and smart female that actually has to save them instead of playing the damsel in distress. Seeing that in this historical context made me really happy.
“I asked him to change back to talk to me, but he won’t”, Jane said. “It’s disrespectful to remain a horse in the bedchamber, I should think.”
If you’re looking for something really funny with adorable characters and an action packed story that you don’t have to take too seriously and you like historical re-tellings, this is the right book for you. I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed My Lady Jane that I was also very excited to find out that there will be two more books in the Lady Janies series, one about Jane Eyre and one about Calamity Jane! They basically already scream for me to read them.
5 out of 5 Hubbles