Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary: “Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…
Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…
Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.
The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?” (Summary found on Goodreads).
The first thing you must know about My Lady Jane is that it’s 100% not meant to be taken seriously. It twists history around into something much, much happier than what actually happened. Of course, it could logically fit into history, but there’s too much fantasy to it for that to seriously be likely.
I think that was actually my main issue with this book: The magic made absolutely no sense. My questions weren’t answered to my liking. Why could some Edians change into animals by choice automatically but others changed without choice? Why did some not change until it was convenient and would save their lives? Unfortunately, there were no answers to this and I was left disappointed.
I also didn’t love the romance. One of the main relationships felt really gradual, which I definitely liked. However, the other one was definitely insta-love. Maybe it had to do with Edward not having a single relationship and probably being starved for what he believed he could never have…but I just didn’t think it worked. I love slow-burn, not going to lie.
Aside from that, I really enjoyed the light-heartedness to this novel. My favorite character was by far Gifford, who’s too pure for this world, honestly. I loved that he spouted out well-known Shakespeare lines, alluding to the idea that Shakespeare never really wrote any of his poetry and stole it from others. This was such a cute addition that only made the book feel stronger and more rooted in alternate history. As well, I loved the cameos made by well-known historical figures, such as Mary Queen of Scots. The discussion of Henry VIII was rather interesting, considering he’s one of the best parts of English history (in my opinion).
Okay, at this point everyone should know I love history and especially European history. This really just satisfied my history geek heart, even if it strayed a tad from reality.
I also loved that the three author’s voices never felt overwhelmingly different. Each character had their own voice (and I’m assuming they were written by separate authors? But maybe not? I don’t know how this works…), but yet the style was so fluid. I think the novel itself could have used another round of edits, but the writing itself was very strong. I often worry when reading books written by multiple authors that it’ll be obvious, but in actuality you can’t tell the difference between this book and one written by only one author.
I definitely loved My Lady Jane. I can’t actually say the other two books in the series sound appealing considering they’re less based in history and more retelling stories, such as Jane Eyre. However, I at least loved this one! I recommend this if you’re looking for something cute and funny, even if you don’t like history; it doesn’t read too much like historical fiction.