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My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand

My Plain Jane

by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Lady Janies (1), The Lady Janies (2)

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3852327,939 (4.17)18



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"'You love me?' she whispered.
'The very instant I saw you, my heart flew to your service,' he said.
'No,' he admitted. 'Not exactly. But it's a good line, am I right?'"

Royalty! Drama! Betrayal! Romance! Humour! People Morphing into Animals! My Lady Jane is your classic Girl Meets Boy, Girl Marries Boy, Girl Finds Out Said Boy is a Horse, Shenanigans Ensue kind of story.

The more I think about this book, the more I love it.

My Lady Jane is just so damn fun. It kinda reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy in the way that it doesn't take itself too seriously, but still manages to make you genuinely invested in its characters and their plot lines. It knows when to be funny, it knows when to be serious, and it never veers off too much in one direction, making the story lighthearted but still grounded. The characters are marvelously charming, and very hard not to love. We have Jane, who is smart, level-headed, and SO VERY BOOKISH; Gifford who is hilarious and so so sweet; and finally, Edward, who is sarcastic, willing to learn, and just very teenager-y (in all the good and angsty ways). The character dynamics are also a joy to read, the banter consistently and confidently hilarious. It catches you off guard in the best and most unexpected of times. And with such a peculiar twist to a historical fiction narrative—including people who can morph into all sorts of strange animals—and wonderfully self-aware narrators, the story shines even more. Having characters morph into these animals that were representative of them kinda felt like Patronuses 2.0, and also allowed for some weird, undeniably comical scenes between certain characters. Jane spending time with horse Gifford was so cute. Hehe.

All in all, My Lady Jane was the refreshing, entertaining read I was looking for, and then some. ( )
  fatmashahin | Sep 23, 2017 |
King Edward VI of England is 15 years old and he's dying. Before his death, he bypasses both his half-sisters (Mary and Elizabeth) and appoints his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, as his successor. Mary is extremely displeased, assembles an army, and deposes Jane after only 9 days on the throne. Also, Jane is married to a man who turns into a horse during the day, Jane & Edward's grandmother Elizabeth of York can turn into a skunk at will, and Edward is not actually dead. Mary despises E∂ians, people who can turn into animals, and wants to burn them all at the stake which is why Edward didn't want her on the throne.

This book is very entertaining and fun, but don't look for it to make a lot of sense. The whole "Verities vs. E∂ians" as a stand-in for Catholics vs. protestants concept does not hold water. Protestantism was a progressive movement, while E∂ian-ism is somewhere between a random occurrence and an inherited genetic trait. Plus, almost everyone in the entire book ends up being an E∂ian in the end (but they don't make a point of that). Lady Jane Grey is a great and sympathetic character, who loves books and is very capable. Lord Gifford "G" Dudley and Edward are less engaging but still interesting. The writing is nothing special except that it's funny, with frequent asides from the authors and recurring jokes. Characters frequently quote things that are not yet in existence, like Shakespeare and Austen, which was funny at first but got old. The authors did a great job of integrating their fantasy with the actual historical events; because major points of history were retained, you could almost believe that it really happened but we just don't have any evidence.

Recommended if you like goofy historical fantasy that doesn't take itself seriously, at all. ( )
  norabelle414 | Aug 18, 2017 |
That was cute!! I enjoyed the witty banter, and the recreation of a world so rich with intriguing characters & shady situations. I appreciated the nod to Monty Python via snippets of dialogue, but their imitation of breaking down the 4th wall via narration felt clunky. Loved Bess most of all. ( )
  srsharms | Jul 20, 2017 |
Oh my, what a wonderful book! This is a fantasy alternate history in a world where E∂ians (sort of were creatures in the Andre Norton tradition) and Verities (normal people) add to the politics in Tudor England. It is well-drawn with people I came to love.

It is set during Edward VI's illness and death, Lady Jane's marriage and succession to the throne, and the following chaos. Edward grows in maturity and wisdom, Jane is delightfully bookish, and Mary and Elizabeth both are in the story.

The authors had me from this sentence on: "Yes, it’s a tragedy, if you consider the disengagement of one’s head from one’s body tragic." That is the tone that is throughout the book.

I think the authors expressed the primary theme here: "Evil will exist among E∂ians, just as goodness will exist among Verities. I believe E∂ians deserve protection from persecution. The scales need to be righted in the direction of equality. And if it were the other way around, and Verities were persecuted, I would still fight for equality. Not dominance. Dominance leads to tyranny."

Secondary themes are friendship and love in various forms, responsibility, and learning to control one's special gifts.

Who should read this book? Anyone who enjoys fantasy or alternate histories. Fans of Andre Norton's Witch World series. People who enjoy well-written, witty books.

Just go ahead and read it! ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jun 18, 2017 |
What if Lady Jane Grey managed to escape the Tower of London after her nine days as queen? And what if Edward VI was not actually dead, but had also escaped when he discovered that his illness was actually a plot to poison him? And what if some people could magically turn into animals?

As you can see, these authors are not afraid to take a few liberties with British history. Readers who are sticklers for period detail may find themselves thinking things like, "But tea hadn't been introduced in England at that point," or "I don't think personalized wedding vows were a thing back then," or "That's a very feminist attitude for the sixteenth century." On the other hand, if you think of it as pure fantasy that bears a passing structural resemblance to events that once happened in our world, this makes for a cute story (though even then you may feel that the magic system could be better explained). There are references to The Princess Bride, Monty Python, and other elements of geek culture, and if you listen to the audiobook, Katherine Kellgren's narration is delightful. So, if you're the sort of reader who can separate your knowledge of history from your enjoyment of fiction, and you're looking for a light fantasy with some humor and some kissing and a little bit of sword fighting, this is the book for you. ( )
  foggidawn | May 22, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hand, Cynthiaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ashton, Brodimain authorall editionsconfirmed
Meadows, Jodimain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hadley, SamCover Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stempel, JennaBook and cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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What is history but a fable agreed upon?

-- Napoleon Bonaparte
The crown is not my right. It pleaseth me not.

-- Lady Jane Grey
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.
First words
You may think you know the story. (Prologue)
The king, it turned out, was dying.
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Book description
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind 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 [retrieved 9/27/2016]
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