“Poor King Edward, now under the ground.
Hacked his lungs out. They’ve yet to be found.”
― Cynthia Hand,
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.
Eden: My Lady Jane is an exceptional read if you’re looking for something lighthearted (I know, a story about the nine-day queen Jane Grey doesn’t exactly inspire imaginings of lighthearted-ness, but trust me). I was looking for a book in which I didn’t have to go through a ton of world building on and I got just what I needed from My Lady Jane. Originally I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars but as of discussing, it’s moved to a 3.5 out of 5.
Caitlynn: I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m glad that we added it to our list of books up for discussion! It was funny in all the right places and did make me laugh out loud at times. I’m not big into English History but this book made me want to research and see what these people’s lives were truly like! 4/5 stars.
Jenn: This book was a super enjoyable read. It was easy, funny, and interesting. I had a couple of issues with the second half of the book. However, I really enjoyed meeting the characters and learning more about them. Historical fiction is a genre I really enjoy but that I don’t read it as often as I would like. This was a nice foray into a different style of historical fiction. Overall I gave it a 3.5/5 stars.
C: Okay, My Lady Jane go.
E: Um, I liked it. I thought it was good. My opinion of it has fallen since last night. My opinion was higher immediately after finishing it compared to retrospect.
E: I think it changed because it gave me time to think about the ending and everything that came with it. Last night i would have rated it a 4 today it’s a 3.5
C: I’m still at a 4 because as we discussed I like happy endings. What didn’t you like about the ending?
E: Jane and Edward should have died.
J: Anybody should have died.
C: That was the point of the book. To change history.
J: But that’s not real life don’t make it all end happily. It can’t have a pretty bow.
E: I think it would have been better if it had included some deaths.
C: That’s it just asking for a little death.
E: Just a little death.
J: Eden was actually rooting for them not to die initially. Because, she was like “I know how it’s going to end and I don’t want them to die.”
E: I think because the further I got into the book the less of a martyr Jane Grey becomes if she lives and I didn’t like that.
J: Well, by definition she couldn’t be a martyr
E: I liked the idea of Mary killing her.
J: And, the same events that happened in history didn’t have to happen. But, there needed to be some kind of turmoil. Politics at this time would never end neat and happy. It just felt like it cheapened the experience. I thought it was so good other than that. Realistically I could have done without a lot of the second part.
E: I agree. I think the second part didn’t give me what the first part offered. The reason I started hoping for Jane to be killed is because I could see them trying to wrap it up in a pretty bow.
J: There were no stakes in the second part. Everybody was Edian so it was an easy out.
E: And the narrators told you all of this.
J: Ugh the narrators. The narrators ruined it for me at the end. I liked them at the beginning but I hated them at the end.
E: Yeah, they told us nobody would die. I also liked them at the beginning but not at the end.
C: I feel like the second part was really forgettable for me.
J: I feel like it’s because the book was so much about the characters. The second part was more about their actions rather than their motivations so it lost some of the interest for me.
C: I was also put off by the midlogue.
E: I think my other issue with the second half of the book was I continued to go this timeline doesn’t make sense. Because, they continued to call Elizabeth Bess. I know that was purposeful but it made me too caught up in the timeline than having me as invested in the second half of the book.
C: I didn’t know what the timeline was.
E: I had forgotten by the end that Bess was Elizabeth.
J: She kept coming to me saying, “The timeline doesn’t make sense!” And I just kept saying, “Just keep reading it makes sense. It will get better at the end.” Finally, it clicked for her and it was like an epiphany.
E: It continued to frustrate me to no end.
C: I really hated that Gifford made everyone call him G.
J: I preferred it than reading Gifford over and over again.
C: Well, G just made him sound like a…
E: Like a rapper? There were times that I pictured him as a gangster rapper
C: I did like his and Jane’s interactions together.
E: They were cute together.
C: They were cute together.
J: I really liked the pop culture references in the book.
E: Was that “red wedding” a nod to Game of Thrones?
C: I think so. I just wasn’t sure if it was a reference to a real event.
E: I did like this line, “It was a sad day when he yearned for a nice, tidy beheading.”
C: I do feel like the authors tried to put in a lot of funny in this.
E: But, there was a lot of good lines in this book.
J: It is meant to be a comedy. I did not like the choices for animals in the book. I felt like the animals were just obstacles rather than purposeful. It was just frustrating because it felt like it got in the way.
C: That’s how I felt when Mary turned into a mule. Like, everybody’s a edian now.
E: I actually hated that moment. If there was ever a moment that was too much that was it.
C: When Jane found out I was super excited. But, with Mary I didn’t like it.
J: I also could do without the horse shitting. Like, it was really unnecessary and not funny.
C: And it was a person that was shitting. Like why would you do that?
J: Why did they become so okay with nudity? Like at the beginning he was turned on by her ankle which is normal for the time. But then everybody became totally okay with it.
E: I think the only person who stayed true to their character throughout was Gracie.
C: And them all stripping in front of their Grandma. That’s the last thing I’d want to do is strip in front of my Gran that I haven’t seen in 10 years.
E: Sometimes I felt like the book was a little to childish.
C: I felt like they threw all of the jokes into it so that someone would find it funny. Like, every line of dialogue had some sort of humor in it. I feel like it’s relying too much on the laugh factor rather than a real conversation.
E: The humor is meant to be like The Princess Bride.
J: But, it wasn’t like that. Because, with humor you have to have some moments of vulnerability and sincerity. If every line is humorous it loses it’s impact.
E: And, that’s what bothered me with the relationships. Because, they’re all so strained because the conversations have no substance in them. How many times did we hear them joking about being a horse or loving books?
J: I hated the book thing.
C: I did love her vow about loving him more than loving books. It was cute.
J: I hated that.
E: I loved Gifford and Jane’s relationship throughout the whole book. Their conversations got annoying after a point but their relationship wasn’t.
C: It progressed through the book so well.
E: Their actions fit for each other too. I think it was relatable to a 16 year old. Sure they’re married but they’re still insecure and nervous.
J: I thought I was going to hate Gifford. When he stopped her from helping out the villagers bothered me. Not, him stopping her but his thoughts afterward. I was really annoyed in the whole chapter after that.
C: But, he quickly redeemed himself.
J: Yeah I grew to love him.
E: At the beginning of the book I was like fuck Gifford. Jane and Edward should get together. The reason being was that they pined for each other.
C: Well they did. He was such a little bitch. He just followed Duldey’s leads.
J: I mean he’s a kid who’s just following his dad’s lead. He is just doing what he saw his father doing all his life.
J: I didn’t have any characters that I really loved. They were all okay.
E: Yeah, I just liked them okay. But, Gracie was the outlier. I liked her.
C: I didn’t really have strong feelings for her.