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Calendar Girls August 2017 Read-A-Long: My Lady Jane (Discussion 1: Chapters 1-8)

It’s finally here! Our first discussion for the My Lady Jane read-a-long! Ever since I started reading this book, I’ve been wanting to discuss it with someone who’s read it, or is reading it too. And I’m so happy that we can all do that now. I don’t know if I could have handled reading this hilarious book on my own, so I’m very very glad that so many of you could join me! And I really do hope that all of you are enjoying it at least half as much as I have been! If this is the first time you’re hearing about this read-a-long, you can read the announcement and sign-up post here! Even though we’re already discussing the book, I will accept new participants as long as you’re sure that you can catch up with us by the next discussion for chapters 9-15 on August 16th!

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– The Readalong Book –

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows!


Title: My Lady Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Imprint: HarperTeen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date published: June 7, 2016 (hardcover)
May 9, 2017 (paperback)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 494

Synopsis: 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?

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– Chapters 1-8 Discussion Questions –

Note: those of you who have not yet read My Lady Jane and still intend to read it, don’t read this post beyond this point (including the comments)! But if you like spoilers go right ahead.

To participants: It’s not mandatory that you answer these questions! This is not school, haha. These are mainly meant to generate conversations in case some of our read-a-long-ers are having a hard time picking something to talk about. Feel free to mention and discuss anything which I may not have thought of in the questions below! Please, keep in mind that we are discussing chapters 1-8 at this point only, and that if you have read ahead, you be conscious about not sharing spoilers. We want to keep this fun for everyone!

  1. What are your general impressions on the book so far? Any favourite characters or situations you’d like to talk about?
  2. If you were an Eðian, which animal would you love to change into? And which animal would you actually change into if you didn’t have a choice?
  3. Do you have any quotes which stood out to you in the book so far?
  4. What has been your favourite scene in the book so far?
  5. Would you enjoy living in the time period in which My Lady Jane is set? Why? Why not?
  6. How do you feel about modern language being used in historical novels? Do you not mind it? Or does it bother you? Or do you generally dislike it, but make exceptions for comical historical novels like My Lady Jane?
  7. Do you enjoy comical historical novels like this one and like The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, or do you prefer your historical novels to be written / portrayed in a different way?
  8. Did you have some guesses about what was happening to King Edward before it was revealed to us, or were you surprised by the news?
  9. Also, was Pet and what happened with her a surprise for you?
  10. Do you have comments, questions, or other thoughts about anything that I may not have mentioned?

Update: I realized just a day after this post went up that I should have posted my answers to these questions in this post, or as the very first comment on this post. But Flavia did a fail. So I’m adding this here now, and will figure out what to do for next week’s post ahead of time, haha.

  1. I adore the book so far! The Edward parts were a bit slow for me, but that’s because I didn’t really connect with him at first. Despite the first chapter being from his perspective (ish), I didn’t really understand why he had chapters dedicated to him. I figured that he’d have to play an important role in the plot, to receive his own chapters, and I didn’t quite see what that role would be at first. Now he’s grown on me, however, and with the introduction of Pet…let’s just say that his character and plotline are considerably more interesting to me. I really like Jane and G, and I’m sure G will grow on me quite a bit more before this book ends!
  2. As I mentioned in the comments, I would love to be able to turn into a big cat, like a panther or something, because they’re majestic, ferocious, and they also take lots of naps! Haha. Knowing my luck though, I’d probably end up turning into a chicken or chipmunk or something. Haha. Definitely not at all ferocious.
  3. I’m going to combine 3 and 4 into one answer here. Here are my favourite scenes and my fave quotes within them (ordered by page number) . I’ve also included “lol emojis,” and the number of emojis indicate how much I laughed at each part, haha:
    1- “Master Boubou.” 😂😂
    2- “…he wanted to kiss a girl”…”possibly with tongue.” 😂
    49- “Public poetry readings were known to be rough business…” 😂
    74 – “…After all, she would be expected to kiss this man by the end of the ceremony, and the last thing she needed was to lose an eye.” 😂
    76 – “…The very special hug.” 😂😂😂
    83- G drunkenly thinking of how to tell Jane about the horse curse. 😂
    120- “…no horse jokes.” 😂
  4. See #3
  5. No, I would not. Because of the dangers involving childbirth, disease, lack of hygiene, and because traveling would take forever, and I would therefore be unable to see very much of the world at all (especially before probably dying from the smallpox or something).
  6. It normally bothers me because I like my historical fiction (and high fantasy) to use the appropriate language. I get torn out of the story when I come across words like “swag” (for example) in a book that’s supposedly historical or high fantasy. Mind you, this book does not use wording that’s quite that colloquial in the present day, and the fact that this is meant to be a humorous book (possibly also a parody?) definitely helps a lot.
  7. I’ve read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and absolutely loved it. I am also loving this book so far, so I think it would be safe to say that yes, I do enjoy books like this!
  8. Yes, I did suspect that Edward was being poisoned. But I don’t think that this is due to my being super observant, but rather because of perhaps an alternate synopsis that I read somewhere which said something about a conspiracy and the throne…maybe the main synopsis? And I connected the rest of the dots? Either way, I wasn’t surprised at all!
  9. When Pet transformed, on the other hand, I was definitely 100% surprised! I did not see that coming. At all.

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– Readalong Schedule –

Date Chapter Discussions Discussion Location
August 1, 2017 Start reading! N/A
August 9, 2017 1 – 8 This post!
August 16, 2017 9 – 15 Flavia the Bibliophile
August 23, 2017 16 – 23 Flavia the Bibliophile
August 30, 2017 24 – 30 Flavia the Bibliophile

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41 thoughts on “Calendar Girls August 2017 Read-A-Long: My Lady Jane (Discussion 1: Chapters 1-8)

  1. So as a Tudor nerd I was so interested by the metaphor of the edain and verity instead of Catholics and protestants! I thought it was an interesting way to show the strife even if you don’t have the historical knowledge of the conflict! Plus, I would love to turn into a bird! (But only if I could on command… poor G!)

    1. I studied that time period a little, but never made that connection! My mind did kind of start going in that direction when Henry VIII was mentioned and how he was making his demands….but I let the thought got before it could turn into anything more concrete. Great of you to catch that! And yessss a bird would be amazing! I think that that’s what I would choose too, but more specifically a bird of prey, so that I don’t have to worry about being hunted by anything other than humans 😛 And poor G indeed!

          1. I feel like there has to be a reason…that name feels kind of modern to me but I’ve been surprised by how old certain names are before, so that doesn’t say much haha

          2. They changed a LOT of names. I think it was for two reasons. 1. To be silly. (Master Boubou, classic example.) 2. To be clear that these characters ARE fabricated and may be different than the real life versions of themselves. Robert Dudley, for example, would have not even been at home at this time. And he certainly would not have discussed his brother’s dalliances openly. I think it’s just to make this more distinctly historical FICTION.

  2. Right now, honestly, I’m still waiting for this book to really hook me. I feel like I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’m interested in the whole idea. So far it all feels a bit ridiculous to me, not really humorous, but I’m hoping the rest of the book will improve. Now, I will say the revelation about Pet was probably the most interesting part to me thus far, so since that was so close to the end of this week’s chapters, I’m hopeful that the next set of chapters will continue to get better. On the plus side, I can say that I read the chapters rather quickly so at least it is a fast read.

  3. This book is really funny so far! I am not a history buff (and I don’t remember much of what I learned in school anyway), so I’m in no danger of finding myself upset over changes. The humor is really sarcastic and fun and I am loving Jane so far!!

    I would love to change in to a cat or panther, but knowing my habits, I would probably be forced to change in to a sloth, haha!

    My favorite quote so far is when Jane is describing her love for books <3
    My favorite scene so far is when G is telling Jane not to make horse jokes!

    I think I would enjoy living in this time period if I were in a rich or royal family because of the beautiful clothes and the lazy days. I wouldn't enjoy it as a peasant, obviously.

    The modern language used in this book is not really getting in the way. I don't notice it as much. I had read a book recently that used modern language and modern references when speaking about things in the 1500's (like comparing an old estate to the playboy mansion) and that irritated me, but this one, not so much.

    I am enjoying this historical fiction book so far. Just like I enjoyed Jackaby. The comedy is enjoyable. I recently read The Wild Queen and found it really boring because it did not really have any comedy or excitement.

    I had suspicions about Edward and Pet, but I think that is to be expected in a world where humans can turn to animals, and we know that Edward is dying and suddenly had a turn for the worst.

    I find myself laughing a lot while reading this, so I really feel like I'm going to love it!

          1. It really did, and it comes as a warning for anyone who might not like drastic changes to historical aspects. I’m excited to keep reading, but trying to hold back so I can read along with everyone else.

            Did anyone else see that there are two more books coming in the series? The next one is about Jane Eyre!

                1. I knew of one more book in the series, but not TWO! Yay! I’m excited for this. And Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books, haha so I’m curious and pumped to see what they’ll do with it hehehe. It’ll be fun, I think, to read one of my fave classics from a silly perspective! And I’ll just be happy to see that story resurface again in YA!

  4. I love this book so far!! I had so much trouble not reading ahead (I read like 5 chapters in one night and got through chapter 8 several days ago…) but I made myself wait and now I’m so excited to read the next eight chapters! I just want to keep reading and reading. I don’t know if I’ve ever read such a comical historical fiction book before but I absolutely love the style. And I didn’t guess either of the twists! (So either I’m really bad at picking up on hints, or they were really well-done. Either way I think it’s a good thing!)

    Also I’m just reallly waiting/hoping for Jane and G to actually fall in love. Please?? I’m kind of assuming that’s where it’s going…and I’m honestly going to be pretty disappointed if it’s not. The addition of Pet makes things look up for that situation. I can see her being a potential love interest for Edward maybe? And then he’s out of the way 😉

    Anyways, I love it so much so far and I can’t wait to read more! I’m so glad you decided to do this readalong to get me to read it. Who knows how much longer it might have been before I finally picked it up?

  5. I need to look up more on the history of this era. It’s always fascinated me, but I don’t remember much of it from school.

    G is growing on me. He is pretty funny and I want more of his poetry!

    I would like to be a ferocious cat too! Would be fun. Chipmunks are cute!!

    Those are all great scenes! When they talk about Dudley’s nose I find it so hilarious!! They were definitely stuck on looks, and those child bearing hips lol.

    Yes, the diseases and lack of hygiene are definite negatives. I don’t think I would mind the travel though.

    This book definitely makes the language work. I really love it and I am glad we are all getting much needed laughter!

  6. So far, I’m quite enjoying this book!
    I would love to be able to change into a tiger. Maybe not the most friendly animal, but it would still be really awesome! Without a choice, I would probably change into a stegosaurus, because why would I be anything normal? 😛
    I love the tension between G and Jane right now. They’ve both made assumptions about the other person and I find it hilarious (being on this side and knowing the truth)
    Would you enjoy living in the time period in which My Lady Jane is set? NO. I am worth more than childbearing, thank you very much.
    I don’t mind modern language in this novel, as they authors continually point out what is or isn’t time appropriate. It helps me learn. I think if the novel were written to be more serious, it would bother me a lot.
    I definitely guessed about those blackberries! They were too prominent in the story to not be significant.
    Oh, and Pet was definitely a surprise!

    1. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the book so far! And hahaha a stegosaurus! That’s too funny. Sounds like fate would leave both of us in probably-unfortunate forms if we didn’t have a choice 😛 haha.

      And that’s cool that you guessed about the blackberries! I figured he was being poisoned, but hadn’t guessed that it was the blackberries which they were poisoning! Glad you were surprised about Pet too hehe. Curious to see how that sub-plot develops!

      Hope you enjoy the rest of the book and thanks for joining us!

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