Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Harper Teen (June 2016)
This is the book that came with my first ever OwlCrate, and is an alternative history version of the story of Lady Jane Grey. In real history, young King Edward VI dies, Jane becomes Queen for nine days, after which she is beheaded once Queen Mary takes over the throne. In My Lady Jane, things happen quite differently.
Shape-shifting is a common thing in this version of Tudor England, with King Henry VIII having been a lion in nature as well as spirit. The young King Edward VI and his cousin (and dear friend) Jane Grey have never shown signs of shape-shifting, much to their disappointment. This shape-shifting is persecuted off and on, depending on the King, and Edward's sister Mary is intent that the persecution should begin again.
Bookworm Jane is married off to the youngest son (who becomes a horse during daylight hours) of the sickly King's adviser, and Edward is persuaded to make her his heir. Treason and treachery abound, with Jane being used as a pawn. This is a fairy tale, though, and so the reader can expect a happy ending for this Jane Grey.
This was a delightful, light, humorous, and enjoyable fantasy. The characters were mostly well-developed and quite likable. The plot was, naturally, fantastical, but also oddly believable. The ambiance of the 16th century was mostly true to history, with the big exception being the addition of tea to a country that would need to wait another 100 years before experiencing it. (Granted, this is a fantasy, and the authors can do what they want.)
The chapters rotated between the point of view of the three main characters, with each author responsible for one character. This was effective, though there wasn't a definite distinctness of character voice. Regardless, My Lady Jane was a fun read which kept me interested until the end and deserves a solid four stars.