I decided to review the #COYER book club reads together in one post. These are our August 2021 picks – History month. I read the YA book early in the month, but as the Adult book in ONLY available on Audible for audio (Audible exclusives are SO ANNOYING), so I had to read it. And that takes me longer to both get to and then read. So I didn’t actually even start it until AFTER book club. But everyone liked it so much, so I decided I HAD to read it and I’m glad I did.My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Series: The Lady Janies #1
Published by HarperCollins on June 7, 2016
Genres: Historical, Humor, Retelling, Young Adult
Length: 13 hours 46 minutes
EDWARD 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 is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than in 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 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?
The comical, fantastical, romantical, entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey but not really. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England.
Like that could go wrong.
Listening Length: 13 hours and 48 minutes
This was not all what I was expecting but it was fun. I have always found this period of history interesting and even butchered to such an extent that it’s almost unrecognizable, it was interesting. And despite being quite inaccurate historically, if you know the history from this time period it’s actually a pretty comical way of reinterpreting events.
Adding in the Eðian conflict was probably the number one key to taking what was a pretty intense religious conflict and turning it into a ridiculous, hilarious conflict. Rather than the Catholic, Protestant, Church of England divide that occurred under King Henry Tudor and his heirs, this has shifted to an Eðian divide… about people that shapeshift into animals and those that do not. The way it’s handled and the dialogue make it so comical that you can’t help but laugh.
The authors pause at times to speak directly to you, the reader. This adds to the comedy for me, since they basically assert the truth of their tale. It matches the tone of the whole book, which is just very blatantly humorous and so many awkward encounters, so many caricatures of real actors, and such an obviously farcical reinterpretation of events, that the whole book is just so fun.
The narration did a fantastic job of matching and bringing to life the comedy of the book, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Katherine Kellgren did a great job narrating; this was my first time listening to her but I would not hesitate to listen again.
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister #1
Published by Courtney Milan on December 6, 2012
Genres: Historical, Romance
Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly--so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don't get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.
But that is precisely what she gets.
Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he's up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he's determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match...
I got a late start on this book and didn’t manage to get it read in time for August book club. (In part because it’s an Audible exclusive. I find that SO ANNOYING!). But I had started it AND the reviews from the group were really good, so I decided to read it on my own. And I’m really glad I did as this was a particularly good HR and I would like to read the rest of the series actually.
I think the characters are probably what made this book. Minnie is a fantastic character – she’s quiet/soft-spoken and tries really hard to be overlooked. Due to a mysterious past mishap that we learn about as the book progresses, she has set her life ambitions very low. To be married to basically anyone. And yet, you quickly see that she deserves so much more. She has a brilliant mind and is a good friend.
And then there’s the Duke… Robert. He is far from your typical Duke. He recognizes the privileges that he enjoys and wants to do something with that privilege. He also is running from his past – but in a very different way that Minnie. And, like Minnie, because of those past experiences he is expecting to settle for so much less than what he deserves. So CLEARLY they deserve each other.
They each have some friends/family members that we learn enough about that I really am hoping we’ll see more of them in future books – a couple I hope HAVE their own books. I have suspicions, based on the series name “Brothers Sinister” but we’ll see.
Another great thing about this book is that the HEA is not at the marriage. In fact, after their married, a god 30-40% of the book remained. There is a lot more to contend with in the town, because of the factory and Roberts attempts to correct some wrongs in that area. I really enjoyed that there was so much more to this story than the romance – even though the romance was pretty brilliant because of how great the characters were. And the ACTUAL HEA moment in the epilogue was even more great as a result. Even though I’m not a big HR reader and I HATE that I can’t listen to these books because of them being Audible Exclusives, I do plan to continue the series hopefully
Berls is reviewing August's #COYER #bookclub #reads. Have you My Lady Jane? or The Duchess War? Click To Tweet