Blog Tour: My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

Rating: 4.5 stars
Pub Date: June 7, 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: young adult historical romance/humor/fantasy
Status: standalone (I'm pretty sure)

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.

Guest Post with the Lady Janies:
Mary here. I think My Lady Jane is a hilarious and satisfying historical redo. Poor Jane was screwed over in real life and in the history books, but the Lady Janies gave her a mostly-happily-ever-after (or do they?? This is Brodi, Cynthia, and Jodi we're talking about here!). It made me curious: what other great ladies would the LJ's give a second chance? Here's what they said:

There are a lot of historical ladies who deserve a redo.

Preferably our version of this story would not end with snakes. We’d love to see her figure out a way to keep her awesome-female power and defeat the Romans that wouldn’t totally upend history as we know it. And then we’d get to write about the Egyptians god and mummies and their total obsession with cats. (We are also obsessed with cats, so this would work really nicely.)

Anne Boleyn

She also got her head cut off, and you know we like saving ladies from beheadings. And her biggest flaw was her really terrible taste in men. (Note to self: avoid big dudes named Henry.) She’s a figure in history who really suffered just because she was a woman, and we’d love to rectify this situation somehow.

Amelia Earhart

What’s not to love about the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic? She was brave, smart, and an author. Of course we like her. She also mysteriously disappeared, and We Have Questions.

We could go on and on!

One of the challenges, though, is that so often, the stories of amazing women in history weren’t recorded or remembered, even in times of tragedy or triumph. We (the Lady Janies, that is) want to pick stories to retell that have room for comedy, but we also want to tell stories about women who history kind of screwed over or tried to silence just because they were women. We think they deserve better.

Thanks, Lady Janies! When I posed this topic to Alexa for the tour, she asked me to share my own picks for Badass Ladies of History Who Deserve Another Shot. Although I was quite the historical reader as a child (hello, Dear America, American Girl, and every book about the Titanic ever), I'm not the most prolific historical reader, but it's hard to deny that so many women throughout history have been ignored or worse for the simple fact that they were born female during a time that didn't allow them the same freedoms as men (so...basically all ladies). Here are three that I particularly admire and about whom I would love to read a fun and flirty retelling! The ladies took my third pick (Amelia!), but here are my other top draft picks for the BAMF Lady fantasy league (which I SO want to make A Thing!):

Grand Duchess Anastasia

As any self-respecting girl who grew up in the 90s would do, I have placed Anastasia at the top of my needs a redo list. The 1997 classic animated movie made me fall in love with this young Russian princess, but real life was so much less kind to her than servant boy John Cusack. I mean Dimitri. By all accounts, Anastasia was lively, mischievous, and witty as a child. She was daring and a little bit naughty, with many acquaintances describing her as quite the prankster. During World War I, she and her older sister Maria were too young to become nurses, but they would visit injured soldiers in the hospital to play games with them and lift their spirits. Anastasia and her family were held captive for about a year and a half before their murder in 2018. During that time Anastasia continued in her role as comic relief often putting on plays for her parents and siblings. What would this bold young woman have done if she had been allowed to live? Sadly, we will never know in real life, but here is hoping for an amazing YA retelling that captures Anastasia's bright spirit and grants her the happily ever after that so far only 20th Century Fox has been able to give her.

Joan of Arc

Like with Anastasia, I fell in love with Joan of Arc after seeing a movie, specifically the 1999 mini-series (lol, just realized that's Neil Patrick Harris with that horrible bowl cut in the movie!) (and yes, I consider mini-series to be movies). Joan kicked some major butt during the Hundred Years' War and won the respect of many, but  when she was captured, all those people turned on her. The charge against Joan? Aside from the English being butthurt about being bested by a lady, she was accused of wearing men's clothing and keeping her hair short. Which, DUH because she was at WAR and riding horses and, you know, fighting and stuff are hard to do when you're hampered by long skirts and long hair. When she was in prison, Joan also mostly refused to wear dresses because there were a bunch of creepy guys who attempted to rape her. Say what you want about Joan's visions, but she was an upstanding gal who did her best by her people and was treated horribly in return. There are many YA heroines who possess Joan's strength and courage (Katsa, Katniss, Tris, Rose Hathaway, and others come to mind), but I'd love to see Joan join their ranks as a hero in her own right. And since she died at age 19, a YA retelling would be perfect. If you want to read an absolutely amazing and hilarious recap of Joan's life, check out her entry on Badass of the Week.

Bessie Coleman

I admit I just discovered Bessie Coleman while reading Caroline Paul's The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, and I was intrigued by her story. Bessie was working as a manicurist in Chicago when she heard there was great need for pilots during World War I. As US flight school allowed neither blacks nor women and especially not black women, Bessie traveled to France to attend flight school where she became not just the first black and Native American woman to receive a pilot's license but she also became the first person of black and Native heritage to receive an international pilot's license. Bessie went on to become a stunt pilot, performing daring tricks during airshows. She was offered a role in a film but declined when she learned she was to appear in tattered clothes during the first few scenes. I think a teenage Bessie would be amazing to read about! Somebody make this happen!

For more amazing badass ladies, check out Mackenzi Lee's #BygoneBadassBroads on Twitter, a weekly chat during which Mackenzi discusses ladies who have been shut out of the history books. I'm also a big fan of Badass of the Week. My favorite article is about Michael the Archangel, and there's also one about Aaron Burr (sorry, no Hamilton!). 
About the Authors:
We're the authors of the upcoming young adult novel, My Lady Jane, which will be out with HarperTeen on June 7, 2016. Our group is made up of Brodi Ashton (author of the Everneath series and Diplomatic Immunity), Cynthia Hand (New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series and The Last Time We Say Goodbye), and Jodi Meadows (author of the Incarnate and the Orphan Queen series). Between the three of us we've written thirteen novels, a bunch of novellas, a handful of short stories, and a couple of really bad poems, but this is the first time we've taken a stab at writing a book together. We're friends. We're writers. We're fixing history by rewriting one sad story at a time.
Author Links:

3 lucky winners will receive a copy of My Lady Jane!
Open INT to wherever Book Depository ships!
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  1. I would change Anne Frank's story. I read about her when I was younger and it always bothered me that she died of typhus after surviving so much.

  2. Anne Boleyn totally deserves a second chance as does Cleopatra. Fix their fictional lives since we couldn't fix their real ones! Great guest post :)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

  3. I have this book on my to-read list. I'm glad i stopped by this post, even if I'm late, because I learned much about important women in history.