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?
-- Goodreads.com description --
I picked this book up in part because I love the movie with Helena Bonham Carter, Lady Jane, and because I want to know more about this historical figure. This is where it went wrong for me. I love the slowly developed hate-to-love romance in the movie but the romance in this book felt so different to me. To me it kept revolving about the same angsty feelings because the two main characters hardly talked about themselves and their feelings to each other. I believe the book would have been a lot more interesting if the characters were more open to each other earlier on. (As you can tell, I'm not a huge fan of angsty romances).
This brings us to the movie itself, there were some obvious parallels between the movie and the book. At one point, the narrator says that Jane and G had discussed what they would do if they were king and queen at length. This true for the movie as that is an entire and pivotal scene which establishes a connection between Jane and Gifford. In the novel, despite saying otherwise, the similar scene is barely a page while they mention it has been discussed at length. This did not sit right with me.
There were some random quotes from famous movies and Shakespeare thrown in that really irked me. For example, "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!" which is obviously from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Another example is "Frying pans, who knew?" which is from the Disney movie Tangled (or Rapunzel depending on where you are in the world). I simply did not feel like these quotes added anything to the story and I just wish they were left out.
My Lady Jane is divided into two parts, one part that is more or less based on historical events and the second part that moves away from history in its entirety. I liked the second part much better than the first because it's not based on history (or the movie). The magical elements like Gifford turning into a horse during the day did not bother me as much because now it became just a story. I believe I would have liked the first part better if there had been no magic.
If you are expecting a fluffy historical romance with magical elements you will probably enjoy this. My main issues are actually to be explained by my expectations, so don't expect to learn anything of value about Lady Jane and just read it like a historical fantasy not based on anything in particular. I would definitely have enjoyed it more like this. All in all, I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars but that is me being generous. It took me such a long time to get through the first part of the book but I liked the second part so much better.
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