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?
Synopsis from Goodreads
As a history major, this book was HILARIOUS! I loved how the authors completely rewrote Tudor England, added their own brand of magic, and gave us a funny new history to enjoy. It’s written in the Princess Bride-style, where the narrators interject themselves into the story to give a little wink to the artistic changes they are making to England’s past. Most of all, it takes two people from history who definitely died too soon, and gives them wonderful new stories so that they can find their own happy endings. And I throughly enjoyed it!
Big Fan of Different POVs
I loved the different point of views that we get in this book; it definitely made it easier to enjoy the alternate history because we were quickly able to connect with each of the characters. This is definitely a book where having the different POVs of Edward, Jane, and Gillard throughout the story was a huge advantage; the characters were all coming from such different places that it was very necessary for readers to be able to read about each person individually. Jane's bravery, strength and determination were wonderful (loved her), but it was also getting to read about G's jealousy of Edward and his growing feelings for his wife, and Edward's role as king and his feelings for Gracie, that made this story so wonderful.
Suggesting that Gillard is actually the man behind Shakespeare’s play was wonderful! There are so many conspiracies and theories to who really wrote the plays, so why wouldn’t the author toss in Gillard as a contender? I loved catching all the little quotes from famous Shakespearean plays that are tossed into the book (not to the mention the authors blatantly saying that it’s clear G is the real William Shakespeare) and how they are always seamlessly integrated into the text. Plus, it’s just flat or funny to put it all in there. G telling Edward to “screw your courage to the sticking place” and Edward questioning what the heck the “sticking place” is perfectly done, and that’s only one of many great moments in this book.
A Hilarious Love Story
At the root of this book is the love story between Lady Jane and Gillard (call him G), which made me really happy because I’ve always felt that Jane Grey got a really bad role in history. I love her ending in this book much better! And as interesting as Edward and Gracie are, it’s the interactions between Jane and G that really captured my attention...and my funny bone. From the moment they meet, their conversations were brilliant and I found myself tagging many of them as some of my favourite moments in the book. A particular favourite is when Jane find out that G is a horse during the day and proceeds to break his rule of "no horse jokes":
"My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book -- unharmed! -- I will give you a carrot."
This book was incredibly well done, and honestly makes me hope that the Tudor history I studied in school was wrong and that the authors are right in stating that this is the true history that is hidden from us. I know it’s not, but who wouldn’t want these happy endings for Jane and Edward over what actually happened to them?? I’m so glad I picked this up and can’t wait to get my hands on their next novel, My Plain Jane, a retelling of Jane Eyre!
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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