Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"My Lady Jane" by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I have read a lot of historical fiction novels set in the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. It's an interest that dates all the way back to middle school when I first read "Queen's Own Fool" by Jane Yolen, about Mary Queen of Scots. So it is with great confidence and familiarity that I declare "My Lady Jane" one of the freshest, most entertaining novels of Henry VIII's children.

The writers admit in their dedication and prologue that they are taking considerable liberties with historical facts to tell this tale. In real history, Lady Jane Grey took the throne upon her 15-year-old cousin King Edward VI's death. She reigned for nine days before Edward's older sister Mary I claimed the throne. There's a lot more political intrigue behind this, but those are the bare facts. What happens in "My Lady Jane" is markedly different. 

To begin with, instead of a raging social conflict between Protestants and Catholics, we have one between shapeshifters and those without such a gift. Henry VIII would turn into a lion when he was angry, scaring everyone in the court lest he eat someone. So it is not surprising that Verities without such an ability would be distrusting of those with the gift. Meanwhile, Jane is a fierce heroine, and those around her are entertaining as well. Two women met later on the adventure, without giving spoilers, are particular joys. The writing is hilarious, with witty asides and explanations littered throughout. I listened on audio, regularly laughed out loud, and some excerpts even caught Kyle's attention. 

Verdict: Affirmed. This YA take on a grim political tale subverts the true story with wit and humor, and everyone is better off for it.

"My Lady Jane" by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, published June 7, 2016 by HarperTeen. Audio narration by Katherine Kellgren, published June 7, 2016 by HarperCollins.

No comments:

Post a Comment