I bought this book in a $4.95 Audible sale a while back and then just sort of abandoned it, for almost a year. Why did I do that? No idea. I had this fun little book just waiting for me all this time, and I just kept going about my life.
Okay, maybe I do have some idea why.
The summary of this book both intimidated me and made me go, “Hwah?” Let me break it down for you.
Intimidation because: the line of succession in England confuses the hell out of me, and always has done. I can never keep it straight who came after who, and which Henry was which (except for VIII, of course), and who chopped whose head off. And what even is a Plantagenet? It sounds like a complicated banana. Also, I knew almost nothing about Jane Grey before reading this book. In fact, I felt it necessary to do some actual research before starting it (something which turned out to be entirely unnecessary, but still made me feel better) so I’d have a basis of knowledge.
And “Hwha?” because: have you read that summary? A guy turns into a horse at night, but also, serious English politics and war and queens and such. I mean, it all makes perfect sense to me now, having actually read the book. I can’t even comprehend my own previous mindset anymore. But I do remember feeling like, what the fuck? And I like weird books! The weirder the better. I also remember the looks on my book club friends’ faces when I read them the summary in a vain effort to convince them to read it. Just utter blankness, that’s all I got. I kind of want to show up to our next meeting and shout, I READ THE HORSE MAN BOOK AND IT WAS GREAT. They will probably not even know what I’m talking about.
I have once again managed to get most of the way through a review without actually talking about the book.
I almost don’t want to. Mostly all you need to know is this: My Lady Jane is a cheeky, alternate history re-telling of the events surrounding Lady Jane Grey’s reign as the nine-days queen in the year 1553*, and it opens with an epigraph that reads: “For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door. And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history.”
*Already mentioned this in my review of Pretty Face yesterday, but I still can’t get over reading two books in a row that feature this part of history, when I have never before encountered it in my life. TWO IN A ROW. Didn’t even do it on purpose!
Literally my only “complaint” about this book is that you feel the YA creep in slightly in the form of a faux love-quadrangle and some teenage angst. Despite our characters being important ladies and kings and such, they are not above affairs of the heart and the crippling self-doubt that comes with being a teenager new to hormones. (Poor Edward, all he wants to do is kiss a girl! But he’s got this dying of The Affliction to contend with instead . . .) I mostly enjoyed this teenaged frolicking (especially Edward’s, who is lovably pitiable in his desire to just be a normal non-dying, teenaged boy), but there was a point near the end where I got a little fed up with everyone assuming the object of their affection was obviously in love with someone else.
But seriously, that was my only complaint. I was having too much fun to have any others. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are in the mood for some fluffy brain candy to cheer you up. The audio is particularly fun. Katherine Kellgren lends an impish quality to the narration that really enhanced my reading experience.
And there’s going to be two companion sequels! In which our three authors will also “fix history” for Calamity Jane and Charlotte Brontë (along with her famous heroine, Jane).