Narfna recommended this to me as an audiobook some time ago. I have finally picked it up, and it is a goddamn delight. Seriously. It is a rambunctious blend of alternate history, YA, and romance.
It starts with an apology to England for what the authors were about to do to history. It’s important that you don’t know too much about how the history is alternate going in. I started laughing pretty quickly, and surprise was part of the delight.
If you know anything about the history of Lady Jane Grey, laughter is not what you expect from a book about her, unless you are a psycho. I do love black coffee, dark chocolate and at least one of the alcohols that means you are a psychopath (according to internet science), but I don’t think I am actually a psychopath because I don’t like licorice or raisins. Here is a brief synopsis of the tragedy of Lady Jane Grey:
Edward VI, a boy king, named Jane as his heir to circumvent his elder sister Mary, who was devoutly Catholic. The Lord Protector, John Dudley, Duke Of Northumberland, arranged a marriage between Jane and his younger son, Guilford Dudley. On Edward’s death, the Privy Council proclaimed Jane the Queen, and she moved into the Tower of London to await the coronation. Mary, popular with the people, gathered sufficient support to assert her claim. Nine days after Edward’s death, the Privy Council switched sides to support Mary. Jane was named a usurper. She, her husband, and father in law were arrested and moved to the prison side of the Tower of London. John Dudley was quickly executed. Jane and her husband were executed later after Jane’s father rebelled against Mary’s rule.
So, not a funny story. Be assured that My Lady Jane is a very alternative alternative history. It is funny and sweet. Many of the things that happened in the official history also happen in the alternative history. It does diverge right off the bat. This alternative history focuses on the personal lives of the teenaged King and his cousin and her reluctant husband. Edward wants to kiss a girl before he dies. Jane wants to be left alone to read her books. Gifford is hiding secrets, including his secret life as a poet.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Katherine Kellgren. She was perfect. The next book in this triumvirate of author’s The Lady Janies Series comes out next month and resells the story of Jane Eyre. That should be fun. I loathed Jane Eyre. I’m interested to see what they do with her.