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The Lady Janies #1

My Lady Jane

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This comical, fantastical, romantical, New York Times bestselling, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey is “an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind YA 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 gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.

474 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 7, 2016

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About the author

Cynthia Hand

22 books9,494 followers
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, MY CALAMITY JANE, MY CONTRARY MARY, and MY IMAGINARY MARY (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, THE HOW AND THE WHY, WITH YOU ALL THE WAY, and the upcoming TIMELESS and MY SALTY MARY (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,914 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
June 28, 2016
“My lady,” he said gallantly, “I’m willing to stop whenever you are. Perhaps you’d be better off sticking to more womanly pursuits, like embroidery or music or-“
She bashed him in the ribs.

4 1/2 stars. This was so much fun. So much fun. Turns out that a good laugh at my country's expense is exactly what I needed right about now.

Before you pick up this book, make sure of two things:

1) You know what you're about to read. This is a silly, lighthearted historical comedy, full of Monty Python-style jokes, puns and mockery. I also thought the story was very well-executed, but don't be expecting a high-angst drama (beyond the comical variety).

2) Be in the mood for it. Like I said, it's a very specific type of book and it won't suit everyone. I usually prefer tension, action and "oh shit, what's going to happen next" books. But I sat down to read this wanting something funny, entertaining and undemanding. That's what I got.

If you meet those two requirements, there's really nothing to dislike. This book does exactly what it promises and it does it very well. It's the kind of laugh snort embarrassingly out loud story that will get you some strange looks from other people. I just couldn't stop giggling to myself.
“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.”

This is a Tudor retelling set during the reign of the young Edward VI. In this reimagining, instead of the infamous divide between Protestants and Catholics (fostered by Henry VIII's disregard for the Catholic church), we see a war between Verities and Eðians. The latter have the power to shapeshift into various animals, and the former hate them for it.

Mocking sexist attitudes and the ridiculous social graces of the 16th Century upper classes, the story unveils the "true story" about Lady Jane Grey - the one that history has hidden from us.
She was a woman who wore pants. She couldn’t be trusted.

I've already said that it's very funny, but for such a light, silly book, it is remarkably well-plotted. The story itself, behind the quips and hilarity, is compelling and features all kinds of royal backstabbing, secrets and craziness.

It is a warm, lovable, over-the-top rewriting of history and I enjoyed every minute of it. Unlike most funny books, the humour remains constant throughout, never running dry or feeling forced. I only hope this trio of authors continue to write comedy together. Because it dazzles.

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Profile Image for Katerina.
420 reviews16.7k followers
May 23, 2017
It was amusing. It was romantic. It was slightly based on medieval history. And it was a gem.
I'm dancing like a happy ferret!


“You may think you know the story. It goes like this: once upon a time, there was a sixteen-year old girl named Jane Grey, who was forced to marry a complete stranger (Lord Guildford or Gilford or Gifford-something-or-other), and shortly thereafter found herself ruler of a country. She was queen for nine days. Then she quite literally lost her head.”

As the authors kindly inform us, that is not the story they narrate us. The original story is flat and a little morbid (unless you're enjoying beheadings-in that case I can recommend you some great TV shows). My Lady Jane though is refreshing. It takes place in a divided England, only religion is not the cause of this division. There are shapeshifters and the ones-who-hate-shapeshifters-and-want-to-burn-them-alive-or-chop-their-heads-whatever-just-kill-them. There is a spoiled king who doesn't want to die before being kissed. There is a feisty girl who loves books better than people (no it's not me in case you're wondering) and a boy that spends his days as a horse and villains who want the throne for themselves and outlaws and everything you could ask for from a historical fiction/ fantasy/ comedic book. That's why I'm still dancing like a happy ferret.


The first thing that occured to me as I started reading My Lady Jane was that Jane's books' titles reminded me of The Sims Medieval. The second was that since Jane's mother was Frances Brandon Grey, her grandfather was the first Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon. Which means that this was her grandfather.

That lucky bitch.

After recovering from the shock that I'm reading about Henry Cavill's descendant, I recalled everything I know about british history (knowledge acquired by watching every historical television series and searching Wikipedia for hours) and I realized I didn't mind the changes! In fact, I preferred the changes! The writing trio did a marvelous job, there was not a single moment I wanted to put the book down! The sarcastic and hilarious narration, the conspiracies, the strong-minded female characters and the swoonworthy steed are My Lady Jane's trademarks, and I kept giggling and swooning and thanking the book gods for this creation! Three authors yet you could not possibly tell, their writing was flawless, fluid and utterly enjoyable! Do not expect a thought-provoking, life-altering book, but you'll love it nonetheless!
“Through books she could see the world.”

Jane, Edward and Gifford (you can call him G, I call him my lord husband). Three different but equally fascinating (and stubborn) characters that will seize your heart from the start! Jane is undoubtedly the main one (you know, My Lady Jane), and you can't help but relate to her, especially when it comes to her precious books! She's the book girl, supporter of the weak, and does not tolerate male authority. Which means she constantly fights with my her husband G, the husband she hated (and unfairly judged) at first but later she couldn't help but fall in love with, because he has that effect. My only problem with her was that she thought she could do everything alone (when she couldn't) and would never listen to the voice of reason when it came to her safety. Obviously it's a trait that every YA heroine shares, regardless the time setting and the circumstances.


In My Lady Jane, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows combine their divine writing powers (a gift from the book gods if you ask me), which result into a story full of humor, romance, magic and adventure that will make you smile and wish that school history books were written in the same fashion!
I'm off to dance like a happy ferret!
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,521 reviews33.8k followers
May 17, 2016
4.5 stars This revisionist retelling of Lady Jane Grey's brief reign and romance shouldn't work--but it does! It's deliriously dotty and clever, with affectionate nods to great absurdist historical comedies like THE PRINCESS BRIDE, Monty Python, and even, I think, Black Adder and LADYHAWKE. The ridiculously punny humor had me giggling from beginning to end.

It's also superbly well-crafted, especially considering the three POVs were written by three different authors, and the historical details and context are inserted with just the right touch. Most notably, the strict mores and sexism of the time are observed and acknowledged before they are slyly subverted, particularly in the fantastically endearing and capable women (only one of whom wields a weapon).

It's hard to believe a tragic moment in history could be turned into such a delightful confection of joyous alternate history, but The Lady Janies have done it.

Review to come. Love it to pieces.
Profile Image for emma.
1,786 reviews43.1k followers
May 11, 2017
I finished this book last night. So I literally slept on it, and, up to when I finished this review, continued to have no idea what to rate it. (Okay, well, not NO idea. It was between one star and two.)

https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...

Here’s the thing. I’ve never had so many problems with a book while not wanting, exactly, to give it one star. Usually I love slapping one star ratings on books when I feel they deserve them. It was hard to decide whether this was that type of book.



I did something I’ve never done before with this book: I took review notes in the app on my phone. Why? Because I had so many things to say about it that I couldn’t be tied down to only writing when my notebook was nearby.



Let’s start with the characters. The main three, whose perspectives we read from: Jane, Gifford, Edward. Also significant characters: Gracie, Mary, Bess. I’ll air my qualms in the order I just listed them. First, a bit of background info: this book takes the Catholic/Anglican turmoil that exists for, like, over a century of British history and turns it into magical animal shapeshifters versus non-magical animal shapeshifters. (Am I the only one who hates that?) I want this to be spoiler-free-ish, so I’ll just say we meet a lot of these heavenly-blessed-magical-beings (called Edians with a fancy d that I refuse to Google/copy/paste).



First: Jane. Jane is naïve, stubborn, pretentious, and, often, without common sense. Her arranged-marriage-husband, Gifford (fifty percent of his personality is that he prefers the nomer G), is an Edian. One of her first interactions with him is her telling him that she knows more about Edians than he does. Cool! Later, when she sees a pack of wolves: “Why were there people with the wolves? It made no sense.” Hm, I don’t know...MAYBE BECAUSE YOU F*CKING LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MANY PEOPLE HAVE AN ANIMAL ALTER EGO?! Plus, she’s cutesy and I hate her for it. When our heroes are literally putting their lives on the line in mere moments, the darling Jane’s reaction: "She wrinkled her nose. 'Armies aren't very good about carrying libraries with them. I can't imagine why. We'd fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read." Bleh, bleh, bleh-edy-bleh. Dialogue like that can give you a cavity.



Gifford, on the other hand: no empathy, selfish, also dumb. At one point in the book, the husband-and-wife duo encounter a group of villagers whose lives are being ruined by a pack of Edians. He leaves them and forces Jane to leave them. Later, when Jane makes him go back, he just watches her tend to their wounds and pass out food. Not to learn what she’s doing or get a sense of how he can help. Of course not. No, G is watching because she looks hot. Jane is HAUNTED by their marriage, under the impression that he’s an asshole, a womanizer, etc etc. G is aware of these (false) perceptions and does NOTHING to dispel them. Ugh.



Edward just...sucks. He’s boring. At the beginning, he wants to marry Jane (his cousin), but gives her up to G because he’s dying. Later, he thinks, “Jane was like a sister to him, that kind of affection between them.” What? It’s like the first part of the book was a sitcom pilot and the rest of the season decides to go in a different direction. (Okay, yes, I’m thinking about The Mindy Project.) He’s also weak, powerless, helpless, synonyms. One point of this book is that Edward’s sexist philosophy is proven wrong...but during the 500 pages he gets help from the women around him COUNTLESS times. It’s exhausting.



Okay, smaller characters. Gracie literally APPEARS out of the f*cking English countryside to be Edward’s love interest. Since there are approx. 300 pages to kill, that takes forever for no reason. Beyond Gracie’s glossy black curls, vivid green eyes, kissable mouth and darling brogue, she’s not given many traits. Mary is just a villain, and not even a good one. Bess spends the entire book helping out her brother - WITH NO MOTIVATION TO DO SO. The whole time I was hoping she would betray them or something. She dedicates her time and risks her life for a cause she has no reason to care about. (And her only character trait is “nice.”) (So when the narrators referenced this group of crazy teens as “characters you’ve come to know and love,” I think you’ll understand why I laughed more at that than the supposed jokes.)



Now that we’ve covered characters, let’s move on to their relationships. And let’s start with the fact that 500 pages is way too long for constant miscommunications. ESPECIALLY WHEN THE CHARACTERS ARE MARRIED. By the end, I was just hoping they would break up or one of them would fall off a cliff or get mauled by a bear Edian or something. WE GET IT, AUTHORS. LOVE SPRUNG FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE. VERY ORIGINAL.



That’s what’s preventing me from giving this more than one star, I think. It’s not original at all. It’s a parade of tropes and clichés smashed into a speculative historical fiction narrative. Magic versus non-magic? Check. Shapeshifting? Check. Dethroned king? Check. Female protagonist obsessed with reading? Check. Narrator that addresses the audience? Check. Multiple perspectives? Check. Journey across medieval England? Check. Love springing where there was none? Check. King falling in love with commoner? Check-ity-check. Big moment of king convincing opposing forces to join him for the fight of the lifetime? Happens-more-than-once check. Offensive philosophy being proven wrong? Took 500 pages but check. I could go on but my wrist is hurting because I type weirdly. Suffice to say it’s nothing new.





And now…as always in books I don’t enjoy...it’s time for...GENERAL STUPIDITY! Yes, fans of the show know GENERAL STUPIDITY is the category for when authors don’t get their books proofread well enough! It’s the little easy mistakes that truly get under the ol’ skin, no? Let’s get started, and let’s do it fast! 1) In Edward’s impoverished jetset across the British countryside, he suddenly sources 10 sovereigns. 2) This magic is bonkers ill-defined. 3) The idea that France would ally with the RIGHTFUL ENGLISH MONARCH is LAUGHABLE!!! 4) When Edward and G go to fight a “Great White Bear" (already doesn’t fit thematically) it has droppings the size of a horse's, despite being the size of a tree when on all fours - plus that whole encounter was SO anticlimactic. 5) This book takes lines from classics (mostly Shakespeare, which is explained, albeit dumb-ly), steals a scene from The Princess Bride (G vs. Dudley is WAY too similar to Wesley vs. Humperdinck, down to pretend threats of strength and “Drop your sword”), and takes the frying-pan-as-cute-girl’s-weapon idea from Tangled. (If you were still convinced it was fresh and original.)



The back of the book is just so misleading. It states, “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.” That book sounds interesting. Wish I’d read whatever the synopsis writer thought they were reading. Because that covers just about none of this book. Could’ve read about something so fascinating as Jane actually ruling or being caught up in a plot or various hijinks ensuing. Too bad, I guess.



I suppose what it comes down to is: if you’re going to write a book in which you thoroughly change history, make it more interesting than the actual history. Because I found this one a total slog. I much prefer the real story that real events gave to us. History is cool, man!



Bottom line: I’m upset, because I think most of you liked this book...but I disliked the characters, found it boring, thought the historic revisions were silly, felt misled by the synopsis, was bugged by stolen ideas, counted clichés, wished death on characters just so the quasi-will-they-won’t-they would end, and wanted to read about the actual, more interesting, real-life story. For those reasons, I have to give it one star.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
525 reviews56.8k followers
February 7, 2017
If you’re looking for a fluffy YA historical fiction that also included fantasy… this is it! I ended up laughing out loud a few times and definitely recommend it.

The way the authors decide to retell - and let’s call it what it is - pretty much completely change history, was a lot of fun!

I hope they’ll come out with more!
758 reviews2,358 followers
August 17, 2018
**Some spoiler-y quotes ahead!!!**

“Very funny, my lady. And that reminds me"---he pointed a finger at her---"no horse jokes."
He was making it too easy. "Ah, my lord, why the long face?"
"That's it!”


You know..... marrying a horse doesn't sound THAT bad. As long as his name is Gifford Dudley, oh hell yeah. Who knew I would love a book about a girl getting married to a horse, living in a world where people can shape shift into animals with a 16 year old dying king who has never been kissed.

This is one of the silliest books out there, but it genuinely made me laugh and I can't deny how much I enjoyed this!!!!

“Dedication

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.”


This book is the "true story" of Lady Jane in the Tudor time period. England is divided between Verities and Eðians. Eðians can shape shift into animals, while Verities can not and there has been a lot of tension and war between these two. 16 year old King Edward is dying and gets his cousin, Lady Jane, married to a stranger to secure the throne and keep peace in England. Little do they know that there are people out there plotting against Edward and trying to steal the throne for themselves.

※CHARACTERS

Edward was a character I liked at first, but then started to really annoy me. He's only 16 years old and King of England, but told that he has 6 months, and if he's lucky a year, left to live because he has "The Affliction." Our poor boy is going to die a virgin and probably won't be able to kiss a pretty girl with tongue. Edward was really funny at first and I reallly didn't want him to die, but as I read from his POV, his sexism (he does change later on) was annoying me and I was starting to find his POV boring. I didn't really care if he did die, oops.

“Armies aren't very good about carrying libraries with them. I can't imagine why. We'd fight so much less if everyone would juste sit down and read.”


Lady Jane is pretty much all of us bookish nerds. She LOVES books and treats them like her children and would rather read a book at her own wedding. She's also a feminist queen and I would actually die for her. She's a soft little fire ball and I just.... oh my god I love her SO MUCH ajkakncjdkv.

“Your majesty, please reconsider," Lord Dudley pleaded. "Your position will be much stronger with your husband as king. The people will see it as a sign of strength - "

She took a deep breath. "They need signs of my strength, not my reliance on the men around me.”


Listen y'all, I love only one horse boy and his name is Gifford fucking Dudley and he's a soft boy who loves poetry and is always brushed off aside by his father because of his uncontrollable horse condition. He spends his nights as a man and as soon as it's daylight he transforms into a horse. I love this boy. He's one of those characters you feel the need to wrap in a warm blanket on a cold day and just give endless amounts of hugs and cookies to.

Other characters I loved were Gracie and Bess. Gracie is a badass queen who bashed Edward in the ribs after he said she should do something more womanly. Well done Queeeeeeeeen. Bess is a fucking ray of sunshine and I am 10/10 working on getting some muscles to protect her from harm.

These characters aren't really complex or anything, but I still really loved them all (minus Edward,,, kind of).

JANE X GIFFORD

“I love you more than I love books.”


Listen omg, I love these two so much I will willingly get myself cut in half or some [insert gross gory shit here] for these two. They have a super cute hate/enemies to lover trope which I am a fucking garbage for. These two were my favorite part about this book. Their bickering and very funny horse jokes and adventures were to die for.

"You nearly died, and then who would I have argued with?"
"You'd have found someone."
"No." He stepped toward her. "I only want to argue with you.”


On the night of their honeymoon G is looking forward to Jane asking him to bed, but instead she tells him they should go out and give food to the villagers and help them wounded around and akdsjkbvkfds they do it and it's super fucking cute and I just fuckING SHQLOAVE LOIVE THE KNDSA THEMM.

“What my wife desires--and what you should have guessed, had you paid attention--is bookcases. And books, of course, to fill them. Not more decorations or useless items. She wants books.”


He's also so respectful of her and genuinely cares about her. G is just,,, my man. Love him.

“No horse jokes," he said.
"My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book---unharmed!---I will give you a carrot."
He brandished the book at her. "Was that a horse joke?"
"Neigh."
"Was that a horse joke?”


Obviously, this is a really cheesy, romantic, light-hearted, silly comedy that isn't to be taken seriously. Don't expect anything else because you probably aren't going to get that. Anyways, I genuinely Laughed Out Loud reading this and my insides were just mush and gooey. This book is a treasure. It's one of those books you just want to keep holding tight against your chest and never let go of. I loved it.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,425 reviews9,022 followers
April 13, 2022
Continuous fun the entire way through!



My Lady Jane is a fantastical, YA Historical Comedy loosely based upon the life of Lady Jane Grey.

Who is Lady Jane Grey, you may ask?



To be honest, I don't really know. All I can tell you is that she was Queen of England for a shockingly short 9-days; hence her nickname, the Nine Days Queen.

As to the circumstances surrounding that, it's a complete mystery to me.



I am choosing to believe this amazingly hysterical version of events put forth within these pages is an actual accounting of her life.

We get to follow multiple perspectives in this book: Jane, her cousin King Edward, and Gifford, otherwise known as G.

There is a really fun and unique 'narrator directly addressing the reader' format to this which I found totally charming.



The fantastical elements were so far out there, but again so much fun. That's pretty much my largest take from this book, reading can be so much fun.



I was transported by this story and could see the events playing out in my mind. I loved the different perspectives and felt the characters were well-developed with their own distinct voices.

I always find collaborations like this so impressive. It is surprising to me that a group of three individuals could work so well together and create such a seamless narrative.



I am excited to see what these authors do next.

In short, if you are looking for a fast-paced, heart-warming, super fun book, you should definitely give this one a shot!
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
600 reviews714 followers
March 7, 2018
3.75⭐️

Without a doubt, the silliest book I’ve ever read and I loved every joyous moment of it.

RTC

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dedication

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.


Oh, I cannot wait for this.


Profile Image for Anne.
3,792 reviews69k followers
July 15, 2021
Definitely not my normal cuppa, but still a cute book!
I'm not a history buff, so I had no idea (or at least no recollection) of any Lady Jane or her short-lived reign as Queen of England.
Not that I'd let a thing like that stop me...

description

So it turns out that this was a fictionalized (read: alternate universe) version of that story.
But with the added bonus of shapeshifters & a happy ending!
Oh, oh! And it's funny!

description

Yeah. So if you are someone who knows about this lady, or even historical stuff in general, I'm betting you'll enjoy this even more than I did.

description
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
666 reviews1,497 followers
September 17, 2020
Honestly I-
...no that's not a good start.

IF YOU EVER READ THIS BOOK, DON'T. LISTEN TO THIS BOOK FIRST OMGSH PLEASE YES IT IS THE BEST EVER PRAISE GOES TO KATHERINE KELLGREN OMGSH YOU WERE MADE TO READ THIS BOOK TO ALL THE WORLD.

I finished two point five incredible books on the same day, so my brain is a little fried from delight. Seriously I have to keep reminding myself to come write this review and stop dancing in the kitchen with the dogs or asking the cats if they are actually from the bloodline of King Henry VIII's.

*composes self*

I was so giddy about everything in this book. Like seriously so giddy. I was always laughing out-loud which was completely awkward when you are standing in line at the check out, let me tell you.

If you are in need of a laugh and a light read, read this book I beg you.



If you are in need of a feminist-like book, read this book I beg you.



If you are in need of a history lesson, read this book I beg you.



Seriously this is about Queen Jane's reign of like, what, nine days? I am not too sure, since I am not an expert on the matter, but these author's are. They did their homework and found out the very (not so) truth of what happened in that time with Queen Jane.

Young King Edward is dying. He caught a tragic disease. He's never been kissed and all he has in the world are his two darling sisters, his beautiful cousin Jane and his dog, Pet (how original, I know). Since he doesn't have any children, his throne would go to his sister Mary, unfortunately, until one of his advisers gives him another idea...

Jane is the Belle of the story. The girl who just wants to read books (so, you know, all of us) and then read some more books and then HER MOTHER MARRIES HER OFF TO A GUY WHO TURNS INTO A HORSE (That's the beast, if you weren't catching on). She is mortified, humiliated and NOT HAPPY. HE IS A HORSE WHAT IN BLAZES IS SHE SUPPOSE TO DO WITH A HORSE.

Said horse, Gifford, can't control that by day he is a steed and by night he is a man. And why does she always have her nose in a book anyway? Is she not pleasant looking? Heaven forbids he marries someone who looks like an animal.

Gifford belongs to a group of people called Eðian (eth-y-un). They have two different forms. But they are hated by those who don't. I kind of got the whole Protestants and Catholics feel from the tension between the two groups.

And that's all I am going to say to you. You should know the gist of this story (it is history, you know) but a lot of the major details were missed in the history books. You'll have to read this book to know the (not so) truth.

So if you fit in any of the categories listed above (needs a laugh, likes equality, history buff) then you should read this book. It was really hilarious.
August 8, 2021

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When I was in high school, I would sometimes walk over to my best friend's house and we would sit down and write, and then post, fanfiction. Completely off-the-wall AU fanfiction, of the variety that's often known derisively as "crackfics." It was terrible fanfiction and, yes, it's still up - or was, last time I checked. And no, I'm not going to tell you where it was posted or under what name, because it was bad, and I was fifteen when I wrote it. We had a good time writing it, though - and I think part of the reason we (foolishly) thought it was so great was because we poured a lot of our friendship and humor into the fic, to the point that the experience of writing the fic was greater than the sum of the parts.



I feel like that's kind of what happened in MY LADY JANE. These three authors, who I imagine are probably friends, decided to sit down together and compose their own fic - only it wasn't Ranma 1/2 or Inuyasha fic that they were writing about, but history itself. They sat down and they wrote fanfiction about Lady Jane Grey, and decided that Jane shouldn't die, so they turned her tragic ending and short-lived rule into a "spirited" romance, and they decided that Edward wasn't frail and sickly, but being poisoned instead. And they decided that the war between the Catholics and the Protestants would be much better written as a war between the, well, not-shape-shifters and the shape-shifters. And they also decided that shape-shifter was too banal, so they'd call them "edians" with a weird "d." CONFUSED YET? I WAS, TOO.



This is Tudor history crackfic, only it doesn't really work for a number of reasons.



Number 1) The narrative is condescending AF. The authors have all these constant asides written in parenthesis, which are obviously supposed to come across as adorable and funny and cute, but instead come across as overly precious and hand-holdy. "DID YOU GET MY JOKE? DID YOU?" It's literally the narrative equivalent of a four-year-old child thrusting their macaroni art into your face.



Number 2) The premise is stupid. When I got to the first page, I was like, "WTF." And then I got five pages deeper, and I was like, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" And by the time I got to the end of the book I was like, "HOLY HECK, YOU WEREN'T KIDDING ME." MY LADY JANE aspires to be many things - it wants to be Monty Python (and even rips several lines from it, including "It's just a flesh wound" and "your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries"); it wants to be Ladyhawke (or East of the Sun, West of the Moon); it wants to be The Princess Bride; and I think it wants to be Blackadder as well, with all that heavy winking about history, but it fails at all of these because it isn't funny enough to be like Monty Python, it isn't tragic or well-scripted enough to be Ladyhawke, it isn't as romantic or as clever as Princess Bride, and it especially is not as historically astute as Blackadder, which had inside jokes about history down to an art form. This book's jokes about history is to mention anachronisms like Jimi Hendrix or to cheekily suggest that Edward was the inventor of the hover hand (no, I'm not kidding) or that Jane was the inspiration for using "ferret" as a verb instead of just a noun (because, you know, she can turn into a ferret). WTF, book?



Number 3) The characters have no depth and their personalities and motivations can LITERALLY be summed up in a single word. Observe. Edward: "Sex." Gifford: "G." Jane: "Books." Gracie: "Scottish." Mary: "Evil." ALL of their interactions and jokes are based around these words. Edward wants to have sex before he dies, and then when he meets a girl, obsesses over her single-mindedly. Gifford hates his name and wants to be called "G." Jane likes books in that annoying way that's typical of heroines, in that it compensates for her utter lack of personality, and panders desperately to us, the readers, who also like books (and is tantamount to a giant neon "PLEASE LIKE HER" sign). Gracie is a Scottish shape-shifter who acts like Merida, and for some reason her being Scottish is a Big Deal. Mary, who I always kind of felt sorry for, is branded as the villain. Because apparently it's not enough that she's got a drink named "Bloody Mary" named after her; she's got to be the cardboard cut-out villain in this book populated with Patricia Wrede rejects. Why not rename her Evil Evilsson?



Number 4) The humor is so dumb and lame. For example, Gracie is a fox shifter and Edward thinks she's hot, so the authors make this terrible joke: Yes, Gracie was a fox. No, really. She was. Literally. (We know. It's too good.) (47%). Bad pun, which the authors then feel the need to explain, and then feel the need to congratulate themselves for. The entire narrative is like that, and I found it really grating. Maybe some people will find it charming, but I prefer subtlety to sledgehammers. And here's an example of Jane showing us how much she likes to book her books when she books her booky books:  "Armies aren't very good about carrying libraries with them. I can't imagine why. We'd fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read" (79%). In case you didn't get it: BOOKS.



I bought this because it was on sale for $1.99 at the time and because most of my friends said that they loved it. They loved it. I don't get it (I REALLY DON'T GET IT OKAY), but whatever, I'm glad they enjoyed it (even if I'm now second-guessing all of their recommendations to me). When I wrote that crazy fic with my friends, we had a few(!) readers who would actually egg us on to write more. They even subscribed via their emails so they could get UPDATES(!!!) when we posted. Young me was shocked that we had so few readers to appreciate our brilliance. Older, wiser me is amazed that we had any at all. I'm sure these authors were really proud of their book, and they had a lot of fun writing it, and probably all patted each other on the back for a job well done. And hey, for every naysayer like me, there's like a thousand people who ate this up like it was an ice cream sundae with the works. SO CLEARLY, something here worked for some people. But if you're going into this thinking it's going to be like Monty Python or The Princess Bride like I did, it's not. At all.



P.S. F**K YOU, G. YOUR NAME'S NOT A LETTER, YOU ELITIST BUTTMUFFIN.



1 star
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Drew.
446 reviews504 followers
August 3, 2017
Oh my goodness, that was the best thing ever!

Is it possible for a book to be sweet, funny, awesome, and led by a cast of amazing narrators? Indeed it is, because that book is My Lady Jane.

When I first heard about it, I was skeptical. A comical retelling of Lady Jane Grey, written by three different authors? It sounded like a recipe for disaster. As it turned out, I've never read a better co-authored novel. The writing flowed so I couldn't tell the authors apart and the chapters transitioned smoothly.

The plot was absolutely hilarious and witty. The comparisons to The Princess Bride were spot on. I appreciated that the humor wasn't silly or crude (as I was afraid it would be), but clever and sarcastic.

Meet Jane. She's about to marry a total stranger since her cousin, Edward VI, is dying, and she's next in line for the throne, but all Jane wants to do is read her books. Meanwhile, Edward has problems of his own to worry about - there are plots to overthrow him, he's slowly dying of "the Affliction," and he's never even kissed a girl!

There were ties to the original Jane Grey story, but the world was changed so that the courts raging against each other were "Verities" and "Eðians." Eðians are people who possess the power to shape-shift into animals, but there are those in the court who deem them "beasts" and believe they should be burned at the stake.

So. Her husband was a horse.
And no one had told her.

I loved the slow-burn romance. Jane and Gifford, otherwise known as "G," were total strangers upon their first meeting (at their wedding) and hated each other. Of course, they gradually learned to tolerate one another, though there were too many infuriating almost-kisses in my opinion (The Lady Janies could be so cruel!).

In their bedchamber, Jane set a pillow and blanket on the floor next to the bed.
“Jane, I cannot allow you to sleep on the floor,” G said gallantly.
She smiled. “The pillow and blanket are for you, my lord.”

From a book I didn't expect much from, this turned out to be absolutely magical, adventurous, and heartwarming. I don't see how anyone could fail to fall in love with this story and its wonderful characters.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,472 reviews19.1k followers
March 16, 2019
What a DELIGHT. This book was such a treat. I already want to read it all over again. Easiest 5 stars I've given all year. Also, pro tip: if you guys want to read this you should definitely consider the audiobook! One of the best I've ever listened to. Everything about this was just SO DAMN GOOD.
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 23 books4,608 followers
Read
May 23, 2016
I have the final copy and it. is. glorious.

Deckled edges. Spot gloss on the cover and spine. It's so pretty!

And there's a ferret on the spine, just above the HarperTeen logo.
Profile Image for Ryan.
51 reviews378 followers
September 27, 2016
“Dedication:

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.”


description

Since I read this as an audiobook, I'm at a bit of a loss at to how I'm going to review it. I don't normally listen to audiobooks - they're not really "my thing." (In fact, had I read a physical copy of this, I'd probably would have given it a full five stars.) So just a word of forewarning: this'll probably be a mess. Great. Now that that's out of the way. I loved this book.
Oh, where do I even begin? A fantasy re-telling of the Tudor period with shape-shifters and magic? Hell yes. Sign me up.

description

“Dearest Jane, Sorry I made you marry a horse. Your father-in-law is trying to kill me. Send help."

If you go into this expecting some dramatic, world-changing story accurately telling the reader facts about English history, you will be sorely disappointed.

description

In order for someone to enjoy this book, do not take it seriously. This book is supposed to be cliche, and cheesy, and ridiculous.

description

This book was so damn cute, and hilarious, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I spent a good half of this book smiling into my hand, and giggling like a twelve-year-old. It was great.

description

“We’d fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read.”

description

I couldn't agree more, Jane, I couldn't agree more.

A round of applause to these three amazing ladies for writing such an adorable book (and I am so sorry this review doesn't do it justice).

description
Profile Image for Maureen.
484 reviews4,218 followers
July 15, 2016
This was so lovely and entertaining! I don't think it was quite at the level of loving and engrossing me, but I enjoyed it a lot!
I especially loved the characters and the mixing in of actual history with a fictional book. It was quite well done!
I guess this would be labeled a comedy, and it was funny, but I never laughed out loud. A lot of internal laughing happened, though.
THE REFERENCES. SO MANY REFERENCES. My life is lived in references to books and tv shows and movies so all the little Easter eggs were right up my ally.
Overall really enjoyable kind-of historical fiction with a magical twist!
Profile Image for alana ♡.
640 reviews1,236 followers
July 6, 2018
If you told me I would read a story about a girl who marries a man who turns into a horse and then becomes the Queen of England (for nine whole days, may I add) and has to attempt to save all of England I probably would have laughed at you. But then again it's 2018 so I really shouldn't be surprised that YES, I read a story like this, and YES, I loved it. I'm still trying to figure out three things though:

1) HOW IS THIS EVEN REAL?
2) WHY DID I ENJOY THIS SO MUCH?
3) WHY DOES THIS MAN WHO TURNS INTO A HORSE REMIND ME OF MY HUSBAND SO MUCH? (Seriously, they even have the same nickname)

These are the important questions, my friends. Before I get started, I just want to note, if you have not read this yet do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook. It is amazing and the narrator is a riot. She brought the story to life so well and had me howling at my desk at work while listening to this. If my coworkers didn't already think I was a lunatic they do now. MOVING ON!

Jane, our MC, who like us shares a book addiction, can't be bothered by literally anything other than her books. She especially cannot be bothered that she's next in line for the throne when her cousin Edward dies. So when her cousin, who is very much dying, marries her off to a total stranger in an attempt to save the throne she is obviously less than pleased. All goes as well as possibly expected when you're getting married to a total stranger and know that you have partake in the "the special hug" later that night. I swear to God I can't even make this stuff up. Anyway, it all goes as expected until Jane's new husband, Gifford (a.k.a) G, literally turns into a horse the morning after they are married. Yes friends, you read that right. A HORSE.

Now I don't want to give away too much about this story because you just need to experience this for yourself. And it is quite the experience. But just know that Jane, G, and Edward go an epic journey to save all of England from a certain vengeful someone who is trying to secure the throne. I'm no history guru and will admit that I did have to look up who Lady Jane Grey was before starting this but that only furthered my love for this story. The authors did a fantastic job of twisting England's history into a magical, hilarious, heart-warming love story that instantly hooks its readers (it also includes a much happier ending for Lady Jane Grey as well).

I mean seriously, JUST READ THIS!
“No horse jokes," he said.
"My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book---unharmed!---I will give you a carrot."
He brandished the book at her. "Was that a horse joke?"
"Neigh."
"Was that a horse joke?”

Again, this is quite the experience.

All in all, if you're looking a fun, fast-paced, epic journey to go on with the most lovable characters ever then look no further than this. And if you don't like this OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!!! (just kidding 😉)

P.S- this includes the hate to love trope! (a.k.a the best trope ever)
Profile Image for Yusra  ✨.
249 reviews510 followers
August 18, 2018
okay but the title shoulda been my king Edward cause he was the highlight of this book for me. until he wasn't. but still!

buddyread with chandler 👑 and veronique 🌹

so initially I said I wanted a wild ride, I wanted to laugh a ton & I wanted to understand what was going on.
check, check & check !!
but like... it was still kinda lacking.
anyways, onward to the good! the bad! & my messy review!

Edward : a teenage king suffering from the Affliction, with only a year to live and the poor boy hasn’t even had his first kiss. it’s a sad life for Edward, who decides;

Life is short. And then you die.

not gonna lie, from the looks of things, he was a horrible king, but I STILL FELT BAD FOR MY BOY. like who to trust when everyone’s against you? so glad he pulled through. yeah yeah he was anti-feminist but that’s to be expected in that era, and he changed so it’s alllll good.

Jane : so like, I think I expected to like her a lot more than I ended up liking her. she wasn’t exactly the most... intriguing? like i was kinda done with her bullshit near the end of the book. and like, I get she wasn’t expected to be reading YA fantasy but her obsession with books about literally everything wasn’t exactly relatable. but like.
she treats her books well.
that’s always nice.

Gifford : when I say I love horses... I mean all horses except for Edians. kinda ruined the vibe for me, didn’t you G? and to think that he was actually ok with the nickname G? like noooope your Gifford Dudley in my book still, son. Needless to say; I didn’t really like him all that much.

BESS : YOU SEE THAT ALL CAPS? it’s cause I actually loved her and needed more from her! Queen ELIZABETH?? my lack of history knowledge made that a plot twist folks, and I loved it. Like I literally. Wish. There. Was. More. Bess. She just seemed so smart & fit to be queen.

Gracie : yeah, nope. I’m done with “I can’t forget you’re king therefore I shan't accept your love for me” trope because like, the boy is in front of you in peasant clothes and he could be executed any minute I do not believe this counts as being "king".

I did like the narration a lot though! I could hear the British voice going through my head as I read , and it added a load to the experience.

In the end... I was just lacking some, like, realistic aspects? and somehow things always worked out in the favor of our trio. I thought there was going to be some excitement, especially when they were fighting the mythical bear but... nope. The fantasy was just stupid to be honest.

Also... I’m no history person, I took the required credit in grade 10 and that’s about it, so I can’t say much about the accuracy. But technically speaking, it’s not supposed to be that accurate, right? so why y'all complaining?

This did make me laugh though. You really have to read it for yourself, but it’s super light and entertaining. Like don’t expect executions and gory history and crazy fantasy - read this book when you’re ready to have some fun, relax, and read about (mostly Edward) but Lady Jane :)

Now I actually have an interest in her beheading and I’m going to do some research !!
---------------------
INITIAL THOUGHTS ;
I’m diving headfirst into a book that supposedly will
- make me laugh
- give me a roller coaster ride
- I don’t understand anything in the synopsis so I better understand what’s going on
- I literally thought “Cynthia Hand” was “Claudia Gray” so yeah that’s me for you
Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews12.9k followers
Read
September 24, 2020
Another book that took me WAAY too long to finish simply because I put it down for too long and didn't pick it back up until two days ago! This was a delight—hilarious, sweet, and absolutely over-the-top in the best way. Although it was a bit long, I loved every character in this book and I especially loved the narrator. Highly recommend the audiobook because the actress did a wonderful job and her british accent really makes things better 😂
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
257 reviews4,850 followers
June 5, 2017
Well this was an absolute delight.

All the hype was true! I was a bit worried at first but even at the introduction, I got it. I have to be honest though- I think this is the type of book that will really only appeal to you if this is your type of humor (very much British humor with nods to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and even little references to "The Princess Bride" and "Tangled" - yep, the Disney movie.)

Not to mention, the story was absolutely charming. Granted, I wasn't 100% familiar with the real story- but I feel like I am now, even though this stretched the truth by miles (literally... and with humans having the magical ability to turn into animals.) The narrators frequently interject the story providing hilarious tid bits of information on actual history. Even still, it was a super light read and the perfect book if you're in the mood for comedic relief mixed in with a fantasy take on historical fiction.

Really, the dedication says it all...

“Dedication

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.”


It follows 3 characters - Jane, Gifford, and Edward - who all have their fun little personalities. I was entertained on every page. Needless to say, though this might have been a little predictable at times- I was still hyped up and rooting for all of them individually. I have to say, Gifford was probably my favorite. His personality was hysterical and he was so precious - though Edward was right behind him.
Even with all the humor, some of the legit quotes in here surprised me..

"The fool thinks he is wise," G retorted. "But the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”



Overall, this gets a standing ovation from me and a glowing recommendation- so long as you are clear on what to expect! Basically what I'm saying is this book is precious and needs to be a movie.

Lastly, if you're looking for something similar- check out "These Vicious Masks"! This really reminded me of the humor in that book - both are a fun take on historical fiction with the added bonus of magic and comedic relief.

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for The Girl Murdered by Her TBR.
388 reviews891 followers
February 28, 2018
4.75 stars!!!

Full mini review

I'm willing to MARRY a horse if it goes by the name of Gifford Dudley.

description

Now this book is about the Tudors which were quite known as England's most notorious dynasty. What I love about this book is its captivating writing style and the charming characters. It was a delightful, exciting, magical, and hilarious book.

When I read this book, I became curious on what really happened to lady Jane Grey's reign for nine freaking days! I was also intrigued about her life and her adorable husband's life. I read the true story and I was amazed because the authors managed to recreate the history. They added humor, magic, adventure, and romance which made this book absolutely phenomenal. The authors combined their genius minds and impressive writing skills to come up with a bloody brilliant book.

Let's talk about Lady Jane. I like her character because she's headstrong, stubborn, smart, and of course, she's a bookworm. But what really made me fall in love with this book is Gifford Dudley or "G" for short. He's a gentleman. He's also smart, kind, charming, and funny.

I also liked this book because the two main characters were kind of falls to the category of "enemies to lovers". Their romantic relationship developed slowly. It was such a tease in a really good way.

All in all, this book was romantic, sweet, touching, witty, enchanting, and really incredible. I wasn't expecting to love this book. It surprised the hell out of me. I really can't wait to read the next book.
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
419 reviews1,623 followers
August 13, 2018
3 Stars

"My Lady, please! I am indecent."
"You are,"Jane agreed. "Not to mention the fact that you are also unclothed.”


I'm not sure what I expected, but it definitely wasn't an alternate version of history where Lady Jane Grey marries a were-horse.

This takes a ton of fun tropes and mixes them together-- using 16th Century England as a starting point. As such, our story beings with Jane Grey's marriage and ascension to the throne. Instead of the Catholic/Protestant debacle this focuses on magic users vs non-magic users. Only the magic is the ability to transform into a particular animal.

...which ended up being my biggest problem with the book. While fun, the whole idea was incredibly silly. And it never sits well with me when books have to invent some sort of oppression for the heroes to struggle against. Especially when there was an actual real-life struggle that took place?? They had to invent a way for the privileged royalty to experience what marginalized groups faced every day for hundreds of years.

But this just isn't something you can take seriously. There may be an entire rigged system, but this story is certainly not trying to discuss actual oppression. It's just an easy way to establish conflict so our heroes can take off on their journeys.

From there this was cute and silly. It's definitely hard not to smile at all the Monty Python, Tangled and Princess Bride references. While none of the characters have much depth, they are still easy to root for and rather cute. It's not particularly original, but the narrative feels aware of the tropes which makes it feel like the audience is included in a joke.

Overall
There's a few points that attempt to be serious, but overall this story is just for laughs.
Profile Image for Cynthia Hand.
Author 22 books9,494 followers
December 14, 2015
UPDATE 12-13-15
The ARCs are here! Please ask the publicity department at HarperTeen, as we do not have very many ourselves to give away! So pretty!

UPDATE 10-15-15
And WE HAVE A COVER, people. And it is oh-so-beautiful.

UPDATE 9-3-15

Well, the book is through copy edits, it has a cover (check back for the reveal), a jacket copy, and it is well under way to becoming a real book!

It turned out SO GREAT, you guys. It may be the best book, in some respects, that I have ever worked on.

Woohoo!
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
502 reviews359 followers
June 6, 2021
And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history.


I am completely in love with this book, the characters, the setting and the humor. One of my top 10 favorites reads of all-time and certainly one of my favorites for 2016. IN LOVE!

Can I first mention how beautiful this book is? I love the style on the front, the spine is lovely, it has that buttery texture and just to top-it-off, it has deckled pages. Am I the only one that is obsessed with deckled pages?!?!? This was the first book I owned that had them and ever since I've been all about it. The cover is stunning as well. I'm usually not a huge fan of people on covers but this is so pretty and the cover model looks exactly how I would imagine our heroin looking. Perfect! Ok, yes - this might have been a cover buy originally. Glad it ended up being so much more.

My Lady Jane is written by three women and I honestly forgot that more than one person had written this book because it flowed perfectly, there was no difference in the styles that I noticed. I am blown away at how they could meld their voices together so seamlessly. I NEED these women write another book together. In my opinion, they are total geniuses. I am madly in love with this book. I had no problem getting through this one and had a major book hangover when it was over. Not because the book was devastating or particularly intense but because I wanted more from these characters. I wasn't ready to say goodbye. The humor in My Lady Janeis on-point, I laughed out-loud more times than I can count. I can't remember the last time I read a book with this much wit and charm.

Jane was a wonderful protagonist. She was independent, strong, introverted and, be still my heart, a reader. These qualities might sound cliche but they were anything but in this instance. Jane's betrothed, Gifford (G) was fantastic. I really don't want to go into this very much because I believe that you should go into this one as blind as possible and just enjoy the ride. I can't remember hating any characters - as least not ones I wasn't supposed to hate. They were all well-written and had played their part in the story.

As I mentioned, I loved Jane and G; therefore, I shipped them pretty hard. It breaks my heart I can't read more of their story, they just made me smile the whole time. I loved that it wasn't an insta-love kind of YA romance. The authors took their time to develop these characters and the various feelings they had for each other. It was a total treat. I wish this book had more fangirls so I could buy merch. Finally I want some merch and it has to be for a book that barely has any. Figure

Obviously I recommend this book. It's silly, fun and and smart. I knew within 100 pages that they would really have to mess up for me not to give this one a five star. Bring me more books like this! It was so refreshing.
Profile Image for Feyre.
102 reviews239 followers
February 23, 2018
“Dedication
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.”
― Cynthia Hand, My Lady Jane


description
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
291 reviews351 followers
February 9, 2018
4.25

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would! It was so fun to read, and I remembered how much I used to like Tudor History, and this book brought back that interest!

Also, it turns out that I quite like alternate histories haha
I love Jane, she's just amazing, and her and Gifford are just my fave couple atm

The book flows so well, idk how 3 writers managed to write a book together that just flows as well as this one does

I've been hesitant about getting this for ages, but I'm so glad i finally did it! This book was just generally a joy to read
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