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? (Goodreads)
Hilarious (hysterical, should I say?) historical fiction that tweaked around the history in a very VERY imaginative, creative way.
I didn’t realize this book was based on (albeit loosely) real historical events and I wished I had done some homework beforehand on Lady Jane Grey then I would have enjoyed this book even better.
Story-wise, I have nothing more to add than to say this is a pure entertainment, a crackerjack slapstick which sheds a spotlight to a forgotten British monarch who was embroiled in a political ruse and then swept into a dark corner of history. I wonder how many of the readers had actually known about Lady Jane Grey before reading this book.
The rather bold yet hysterical twist in the settings kept me engaged the entire time, and the brisk, witty, vibrant writing and the narrator of the audiobook had me laughing my head off so many times! The narrator’s skills and flare in playing each character is evident and top-notch, I could give 5 stars solely for her performance (but listeners are advised to refrain from listening to this in public; her performance is quite guffaw-inducing thus you’ll end up getting the looks).
There was a point where I wondered how the authors wrap things up (because the story is completely derailed from the actual history) but they certainly pulled it off, bringing everything back on track (except for SOME things). Hats off to the authors’ creativity.
In addition to that, women’s independence portrayed through Jane is also a point to be reckoned with. Rather than being the subject of protection (most likely by men), she wanted to make hew own decisions on her own terms, not by anyone else’s. I assume this attitude must have been quite novel, way ahead of her time thus it left a lasting impact on me.
This is a book for pure entertainment followed by a happy ending (which I’m not opposed to) and some romantic tropes. It did feel that the forward momentum of the story ran out of steam from the midpoint, and landed on a bit of ‘meh’ ending. Don’t get me wrong, I immensely enjoyed listening to it, but the ending came across a tad mediocre for my liking.
Advised not to seek any philosophical enlightenment, then you shall enjoy this book tremendously.