My Lady Jane

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by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

4/5 stars

Poor King Edward, now under the ground.
Hacked his lungs out. They’ve yet to be found.

I have been looking forward to this books since I realized it was a thing. I love Tudor history. And I love irreverent Monty Python, Princess Bride-esque humor. I was really, really looking forward to this one.

Remember that time Jane Grey was crowned queen of England for nine days following Edward’s death before Mary’s army came in and took over? And she was married to Gifford Dudley, the younger brother of Robert (Stan?) Dudley–of Elizabeth I flirtation fame? And how Gifford was a horse from dawn to dusk? Wait, what? And Edward was actually being poisoned by Dudley in order to help transfer the crown to an unknowing Gifford? And the battle in England wasn’t between religions but between those who can turn into animals and those who could not.

Utterly absurd. Utterly delightful. This switched POVs between Edward, Jane, and Gifford (you know, the horse). And it was the most charming I have ever seen a fictional Gifford. Oddly enough. The most distracting change for me was the absence of Robert Dudley, or they changed his name to Stan. I recognize this is a peculiar distraction and I will probably be alone in this.

This is being billed as a kind of YA Princess Bride. It is humorous, though I honestly never laughed out loud. Rather, it was a kind of joyous, light tone that kept the narrative moving. It was also full of Shakespeare references, and a few Monty Python just to mix it up (including my personal favorite Holy Grail quote “your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”). I did occasionally feel the jokes about Jane’s loving books more than anything did grow a bit tiresome, because they felt a little forced. Though I thought it was a good reminder how smart Jane Grey was, often Elizabeth is given all the recognition to being the smart one and an absolute exception.

This was absolutely well worth the ride.